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Michael Schumacher exclusive 19 May 2006

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, 14 May 2006

Wins at the San Marino and European Grands Prix have put Michael Schumacher and Ferrari very much back in the 2006 title race. Where once the rumours were about retirement, now the talk is of a possible eighth title. One thing, however, is for sure - the seven-times champion enjoys his racing more than ever…

Q: It seems like this season will be a shoot-out between you and Fernando Alonso. How surprised are you that Ferrari are so competitive and to what do you attribute the team’s recent leap forward?
Michael Schumacher:
You know, I have said from the beginning that Ferrari would be in the fight. We have seen already prior to the season that we had improved in all areas. It was just that some people did not want to see that. So I am not surprised by the fact that we are competitive. I am happy about it, as I look forward to a great fight throughout the year.

Q: Your successive wins at Imola and the Nurburgring came in large part through better strategy. It seems like Ferrari are still the tactical masters, but did you expect that to have such a dramatic influence?
MS:
You cannot expect that, you only can try. But of course I was confident about our abilities in that area - I mean in the end we are still the same people who won several championships before. But then, sometimes it turns out right and sometimes wrong, you can only try.

Q: You are back on the winning road again. How big an influence will that be on whether you continue racing?
MS:
It is not about winning, it is about competing. But to be honest, I don’t really want to go into that topic again and again. Let’s wait and see.

Q: How much satisfaction do you take from your recent wins - especially after some in the paddock had suggested you were perhaps past your prime?
MS:
Again, there are a lot of people suggesting a lot of things. I am around for so long now, and I have learned to not listen too much to all the rumours and sayings around. To me, the judgment of people I trust and know well is much more important.

Q: You’ve already won seven drivers’ championships. How important to you is an eighth? Isn’t it just another trophy?
MS:
After all, this is what you aim for. It is about competing, as I said earlier, and obviously the fun about it is bigger if you manage to win the competition. And a championship is never just another trophy. It is always something different, something special, something to share with your team.

Q: Michael Schumacher is not only a driver but also a major factor in the overall economy of Formula One racing (television ratings, sponsors, etc). How do you see this responsibility?
MS:
You know, I came into that sport to race. This is my part of the game. And I think this is the part most people want me to do.

Q: Should you - in the future - decide to look for a life outside the cockpit, what might that be?
MS:
No clue. I don’t even want to think about it. Why should I? I still enjoy it so much, there is no reason for me to care about a life outside the cockpit.