Ralf reassures fans he will be back in 2008 19 Jul 2007
Despite enduring a poor start to the season, Toyotas Ralf Schumacher has dismissed speculation he plans to call time on his 11-year Formula One career. Schumacher, whose contract with the Japanese team expires at the end of 2007, is confident he will still be on the grid in 2008.
I am certainly not going to permit myself to be irritated by media rumours, Schumacher told fans on his official website. I promise you: In 2008 I will definitely be racing in Formula One. When the time is ripe we will make an announcement regarding which team I will be driving for. Nothing has been decided at present.
Schumacher has scored just two points in nine races and has only finished three events in the top ten. The German has also been noticeably slower than team mate Jarno Trulli in qualifying, only getting into Q3 on three occasions. He believes his lack of pace has stemmed from the handling characteristics of the Toyota TF107, which were not initially to his liking.
During the early races its characteristics just did not suit my style, he explained. In the meantime the team has made slight changes, and I have tried to adapt to the challenges brought about by the rule changes, which was certainly not easy. Despite what the armchair experts say, it is simply not possible to change ones driving style, one which, after all, functioned extremely well for many years, overnight.
But after clinching a sixth-place grid slot at the last race in Britain, Schumacher believes things may be looking up.
Admittedly, the season has not gone the way we had imagined it would, he added. It would appear, though, that we are on the right track after a faltering start to the season, as my sixth place at the Silverstone grid indicates. That is not where I would like to be in the medium-term, but it is a start.
At 32 years old, Schumacher is six years younger than his brother Michael, who retired from Formula One racing at the end of 2006.