FIA Thursday press conference - Japanhttp://www.formula1....0/10/11350.html
Q: Michael, a remarkable record here. Six wins and half of your starts from pole position as well. What are your feelings about this circuit?
Michael Schumacher: Well, from a driver’s point of view it is probably the highlight of the year. Mentioning the first sector as before that’s the one. That’s what you look forward to. From a driver’s point of view that is the ultimate challenge and I really look forward to this one. It has been through all the years very exceptional.
Q: What about your preparations for Korea? What have you been able to do?
MS: There is not much that can be done from that point of view in terms of simulator. Yes, we have a simulator but nobody has been able to drive the track so, at least for me, it is not anything that I make use of. I will go, as I did in Singapore, arrive there and see the nature of the track and get used to it as I normally do.
Q: You have been asked this many times, but we are getting towards the end of this comeback year for you. Just summarise how you have seen it so far this year.
MS: Well, it has been a much tougher year than we expected. If you think of the performance that the team was able to do last year, expectations were high. We have not been able to fulfil those expectations. At the same time it has been a long-term project and if I look back at how long it took with Benetton and with Ferrari to build up a team and then finally to take success it has never been possible to do that in the short term. The nature of the fact that the team used to be a big team, such as the top three teams, then was reduced to a much smaller team during last year due to circumstances that everybody knows, we are now a rather small team compared to the top running teams. That, in the situation that we are right now, makes it, naturally, a little bit more difficult. But then we have made decisions and steps to get back to the winning route although naturally it will take time.
MS: Principally, you always follow the same path. In Formula One, overtaking is very difficult. The nature of tracks, such as Singapore, don’t make it any easier. The straights are rather short and it needs special circumstances such as probably Robert (Kubica) had in the race, having fresher tyres, having the car with the most top speed. Only with those kind of circumstances may you get into a position to overtake. But under normal circumstances it’s tough. Probably in Brazil and on some exceptional tracks it is possible and on others it is simply impossible, so that’s the nature of our business. Naturally, if you have an opportunity you will go for it and having two cars close to each other then occasionally certain contact will happen, that’s unavoidable.
Q: (MC) But it doesn’t reflect on any particular person?
MS: No, not at all. I think that’s the general situation and I don’t think in Singapore we saw anything that changes the general trend.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) It’s a question for Michael. Before, you talked about a longer period project for Mercedes and you mentioned Benetton and Ferrari. In those days, you were in your mid-twenties and then in your mid-thirties. Now you are a little bit older. Is there any risk that time will run out before you find the target and is there any risk that you can work and somebody else can reap the fruits of your work, like Nico (Rosberg) for example?
MS: That’s why, right from the beginning, we talked about a three-year situation. I hope that within this time I can collect the fruits of it. Certainly we are on the right path. If I see modifications and mistakes and the learning curve – all what has been done to improve next year makes me very confident and comfortable and again, the target is to reduce what used to take four to five years to reduce it in time, so that I take the benefit from it.
Q: (Bob McKenzie - The Daily Express) Michael, with your experience, if you were having a bet where would your money go on the championship, among the five contenders now?
MS: If you want to lose money, you bet on one of those guys because none can be right and can be correct. If you look at this year, I think it has been a very exceptional year: for the reason to have so many drivers still in the championship and for the fact that there have been so many up and down happenings, retirements and so on, that I don’t think you could have expected, so I wouldn’t bet any money on anybody. I cross fingers for one that I’m good friends with, but that’s about it.
Q: (Bob McKenzie - The Daily Express) Who would that be?
MS: I’m good friends with Sebastian (Vettel), so my fingers are crossed for him.
Q: (Frederic Ferret - L’Equipe) Question to Michael and Lewis: what do you need to have a winning car in Suzuka, and do you think the Red Bull can be beaten this weekend?
LH: At this circuit - well, I’ve only been here once, so Michael is probably the best one to start, you’ve won here six times, so there’s no one better to answer that.
MS: In a way, it is a high challenge track, and drivers, yes indeed, can give a great input on this kind of track, especially in the first sector, but nevertheless, the car is mega-important because of this first sector. If the response from the front end in particular, with all these longish corners, is weak, you suffer quite a lot and in this respect, looking at the nature of the Red Bull car, I think it’s going to be very strong in my view, but then I know that McLaren is pushing very hard on developments, so we will see whether they can keep up or not. That’s going to be a tough one.
Q: (Yuuki Ishihara -Tokyo Sankei Sports) Michael, people say you are master of Suzuka. You won six times here in Suzuka, many times more than anybody else. I was wondering if you could share some secrets, do you have any reasons why you have been so good here in Suzuka?
MS: I don’t think it is naturally only Suzuka because if you just go for this statistic I have a couple of other tracks where I have been winning many times. It’s just that I’ve been around so long! That’s why maybe the number is so high, plus working with a very professional and fantastic team and doing my best on top of this. That’s what has given the results.
Edited by ivand911, 07 October 2010 - 13:07.