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Schumacher Q&A: disappointed, but confident about Badoer 12 Aug 2009

(L to R): Luca Badoer (ITA) Ferrari Test Driver with Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 29 March 2009 Michael Schumacher (GER) tests a Ferrari F2007 at Mugello, Italy. July 31, 2009. © Ferrari Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 28 March 2009 (L to R): Luca Badoer (ITA) Ferrari Test Driver with Nicolas Todt (FRA) Driver Manager.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 9 May 2009 (L to R): Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Ferrari General Director with Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 27 March 2009

Michael Schumacher’s announcement that he was to stand in for injured team mate Felipe Massa at the European Grand Prix, and his subsequent decision to call off his planned Formula One return on health grounds, has been the story of the summer. On Wednesday the German held a press conference in the Swiss city of Geneva to discuss his decision and give his thoughts on new substitute driver Luca Badoer…

Q: How are you feeling?
Michael Schumacher:
Obviously I’m very frustrated and disappointed about what has happened. We were preparing in a very tough way and we’ve done everything possible, but from the start Ferrari and I have always said that I would have raced for Felipe if I had been ready. It’s a pity that we didn’t reach this goal. I’m not interested in getting back in Formula One as a full-time job, but I wanted to help Ferrari and my friends under these special circumstances. When I went to Maranello Wednesday after Felipe’s accident I knew what were going to talk about with Stefano (Domenicali) and chairman Montezemolo. In the beginning I was more tending towards a ‘no’, but you all know Montezemolo and how good he is in convincing people. He’s a great friend of mine and we really agree on most things: so he managed to convince me. Furthermore my wife Corinna said that I should do what I think is the right thing to do.

Q: So why weren’t any exams carried out before Monday night?
There’s only one way to see if your body is able to cope with the forces generated by a Formula One car: try it out. I did some simulations and I used many test cars, but none of them was able to reproduce the stress and the forces you have to deal with on board of a single-seater. So we had to drive one to understand what was going on. My doctor had told me that we could do this test and then, after a short break, add some more stress to see how the situation developed. In the end we’ve done everything we could do, but it didn’t go as we wanted.

Q: Would it have been possible to prepare any better?
First of all nobody could expect that Felipe would have been victim of such a terrible accident. So obviously we couldn’t plan anything. And then I think that we couldn’t have done things in a different way.

Q: There are rumours that they want you on the track at Monza or even next year…
Speculations are part of the world of motorsport. Many people have their ideas as far as this topic is concerned, but the truth is, that I am very unhappy that I can’t do what I wanted to do, which is helping Ferrari in this difficult moment. This is what I can tell you right now and I have to live with it.

Q: What do you think about Luca Badoer?
First of all I have to say that Luca is a great friend of mine. Over all these years he has always prepared himself in the best possible way to be ready to race; this is his work: being ready for the tests and in case something happens. He’s not someone just sitting there and waiting for something to happen. He’s always ready and has obviously worked very hard after Felipe’s accident. We’ve always said that I first need the confirmation that I’m physically ready, so it’s normal that he is ready now. Knowing him and the team, I think that he is the right choice, the best choice Ferrari could make. It’s true that he hasn’t raced for a while, but a driver never looses his competitive spirit. I wish him well for this difficult task.

Q: Have you spoken to Felipe recently?
Yes, I’m always in contact with him, because we’re great friends, which is one of the reasons I accepted to try to get back on the track. I’m glad that he is recovering so well: he’s extremely motivated, although he can’t prepare in such an intense way as he wants, because the doctors still don’t allow it.