IQ: Michael, if I can come to you first, we all know you had a big crash here
last week in testing. Can you tell us what the cause of it was and what the
Michael Schumacher: The cause was leaking air from the tyre and the
consequence was that the tyre blew up and the crash was a result of this.
Q: And I think we are all interested in the consequences as far as you're
concerned. I know you spoke to the German press on Sunday. Would you like to
repeat what you told them?
Michael Schumacher: There is no consequence. I felt a bit stiff the next day but nothing of
a drama. Actually it was quite alright because we have invested a lot of
time in the seat, in the headrest area, in all the surroundings in the
cockpit area in terms of safety and it paid out, so I felt pretty good
Q: Of all the crashes you have had -- and there have not been a huge number
of them - how would you place it in terms of seriousness?
Michael Schumacher: I don't think it is important. Any crash is too much and you don't want
it but it's part of the game.
Q: This leads us onto a bigger question of the tyres, because we saw several
instances, particularly in Spa and again in the testing here last week, as a
member of the GPDA you are presumably quite concerned about this. Is it a
matter for worry, is some action required?
Michael Schumacher: I am not worried for what happened here at Monza but naturally I am
worried about what happened in Spa. I believe, from a GPDA point of view, it
is pretty clear what we would like to ask but it is nothing we would want to
discuss publicly, but in the end it is up to the FIA to sort of take
consequences and we will find out what they think about this.
Q: Maybe I can nudge you along a bit in this direction because we have seen
a lot of tyre incidents this year that have followed crashes that have left
carbon fibre debris on the circuit. Do you feel that maybe the time has come
to reconsider the question of the safety car and perhaps re-introduce the
stopping of races so tracks can be cleaned up?
Michael Schumacher: The problem is if you take one decision in that direction it might have
other consequences and we have learned very often to make quick change and
immediate change is not wise unless you have studied correctly so I would
never want to enter into suggestions which are not carefully thought
Q: So, presumably you are continuing dialogue with the FIA on this?
Michael Schumacher: Certainly. We have regular meetings happening after the drivers'
briefing where we drivers discuss what we think are the topics and the
issues and we have a very good dialogue with the FIA in that sense because
we have a lot of trust and belief in each other and that is what moves
things forward, not what you try to distribute around with maybe unnecessary
Q: If we can move forward to the four races left to go this season. You have
got the championship safely under your belt. I think you went into the Spa
race fairly conservative. You didn't look as unhappy about finishing second
after that race as you have done on previous occasions. Was your objective
there just to protect your championship from Rubens and what will the policy
be at Ferrari for the remaining four races as far as Rubens is concerned?
Michael Schumacher: I think in a small degree it is true that there was some attention to
what Rubens was doing because he was the person who may cause me problems
for the championship, although the problems weren't very big in a way, but I
was looking for what he was doing. But nevertheless, in particular after
what happened straight at the beginning, I was much less concentrated on
what he was doing, I was trying to drive my race. I was in the position not
to be able to be very aggressive, due to various circumstances such as
safety cars and the way we worked with our whole environment of car, tyres
and so on. It may appear to be conservative but I think I just did what I
could do and did nothing wrong, in a way, that I can say in the end I should
have done something different. There were limits to myself and I prefer to
drive within my limits.
Q: So you were obviously very satisfied with your Spa race?
Michael Schumacher: I was satisfied but I wasn't particularly satisfied with the result
because I would have rather won the race together with the championship but
sometimes you can't have everything and then you have to think back and it
took a little moment and that's why there wasn't an instantaneous happiness
there because I wasn't sure what I should think about that race. It took a
while to analyse everything and see whether there were things that I should
have done different and better or not but in the end the conclusion was I
had very low possibilities to do something different or better.
Q: Giancarlo, Sauber is looking quite strong towards the end of the season.
What are your hopes for these last four races and particularly this weekend?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Honestly, the team, Sauber, did a fantastic job in the
last few months, especially with the new wind tunnel. They are working well
and from Silverstone, with the new bodywork, we made a big step forward, so
we can easily score points everywhere. Now I am very concentrated for the
rest of the season to do my best to keep the sixth place in the championship
for Sauber and we are quite optimistic to do well on Sunday.
Q: Can I talk to you about the performance of the tyres, because your tyres
are basically the tyres that are developed by Michael. Do they suit your car
reasonably well? Are you happy you have had good performance from your tyres
Giancarlo Fisichella: I am really happy about the Bridgestone tyres, especially in the race
distance. They are very consistent from the first lap to the end, which is
very important. The balance of the car stays very similar and so I am quite
confident, even for Sunday. We are still struggling a bit on the first lap,
we are not competitive enough so the qualifying session is a bit tough for
us, but the race, our pace, is quite consistent and that's very important to
go through to the end and score some points.
Q: Next year you are going to Renault and they qualified first and third in
Spa. Did that give you good feelings for next year?
Giancarlo Fisichella: It was a good feeling but it was a different qualifying session. It was
wet and they were the only two drivers who went out with the intermediate
tyres and maybe it was the best moment if you talk about the circuit
performance. But I can see Renault is doing very well, they are on a
programme, they have very good potential and I am confident for the future.
Q: You were at Renault for four years before. What is different about
Renault, what attracted you back to Renault this time around?
Giancarlo Fisichella: It was Benetton and then just one year with Renault. But, yeah, I am
really, really happy. I think they are pushing very hard to be competitive,
to win. Most of the engineers and mechanics are still the same as a few
years ago so it is very important to move to a new team and find the same
people because it is very important to be more comfortable at the beginning,
to know how they work, so it is going to be easier for me.
Q: Your career has not always taken you into the right team at the right
time. Is there a reason for this -- is it management or is it just bad luck?
Giancarlo Fisichella: I don't know but now I am sure I am in the right moment in the right
Q: Has it been a help to have (manager) Mr (Enrico) Zanarini on your side?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Of course, yes. He did very well. Now I am just concentrating on my
work, I just prepare myself, do lots of training and I think just about my
job. Zanarini is doing very well and it is even because he did a good job
that I am now in Renault next year.
Q: I think many of us are interested to know just how close you came to
being with Williams for next year.
Giancarlo Fisichella: I was very, very close, honestly, yes. But I hope I made the right
choice, first of all because at the moment Renault are quicker than Williams
and they are second in the championship and then, as I told you, because
most of the people are still the same as a few years ago and it's very
important to go there and feel comfortable straight away.
Q: Michael, how important is it for Ferrari
to establish Rubens in second place in the championship?
Michael Schumacher: We have had a pretty much perfect year so far and to really make it
perfect would be to have Rubens in the second position in the drivers'
championship as well because that's the thing left to achieve. If you look
at the points situation in the championship it's probably fair to say that
there is a fair chance this will happen, so we will try.
Q: And you will help him?
Michael Schumacher: I don't know if I can help him, I mean, first of all he is responsible
for himself. But if there was a moment I could do, certainly I would.
Q: Michael, you said the tyre failure was
down to a loss of air. What does that mean exactly? Do you get that from
tyre pressure sensors or did Bridgestone establish that was the cause. And
if that was the cause, do you know where the air leak was? Through the valve
or seal or what?
Michael Schumacher: As far as I know we had a puncture somewhere, we didn't know exactly
where but it wasn't something that had been indicated for a long time so it
must have been a rather quick puncture which then resulted in exploding
Q: Giancarlo, correct me if I am wrong, but at Indy this
year you had a sudden deflation but that did show up on the tyre pressure
sensor and I think they managed to get a radio message to you just before
the tyre went down. Is that correct?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Yeah, yeah. Maybe we did too many laps, in fact it was just my last lap
before the pit stop but unfortunately I had a puncture. I lost pressure, I
don't know why.
Q: Giancarlo, the tyres here in
Monza, you had a problem in June, I think, so coming here to this fast track
are there worries not only for the tyres but also other parts like wings and
Giancarlo Fisichella: I had a problem in June but it was a different tyre specification. Here
we have a completely different tyre specification than we had in June so we
are quite optimistic for the weekend and I believe in the Bridgestone
choice. Last week we did lots of laps, even long runs with tyres, and the
performance was okay.
Q: Andrea also talked about car parts, as well. Are there
any worries about car parts?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Well, honestly, no. In the last few months we did a good job in the
factory after the suspension failure in the middle of the season, in Canada
and Monza in testing, they did a very good job and now the suspension is
much, much stronger and in the last few races and testing we have done lots
of miles without problems.
Q: Michael, a two-part question.
First of all, the competition is getting closer to you so how do you think,
from a performance point of view, it will go for you and Ferrari this
weekend? Secondly, can you just give us a bit of your feelings and emotions
that you will be racing in front of the tifosi having brought them yet
another drivers' and constructors' championship this year?
Michael Schumacher: I mean, starting with the second one, it is obviously great to have
achieved what we have achieved and to be able to celebrate that with the big
supporters that we have, who have been there in the difficult years and now
live with us in the good years. The competition, we know, is going to be
tough here -- (McLaren) Mercedes and Renault looked very strong at the test
here and you can never discount Williams and BAR because we know they are
strong -- so we are in a position where we know we have the possibility to
fight for the win but we are going to face tough opposition.
Q: Bernie said in an interview, Michael, that you are
not the new world champion until the season is over. Do you feel like the
new world champion?
Michael Schumacher: I don't know what he has or has not said, but I do know that in the
past, some years ago, there was something like this was said and maybe one
clever or not clever journalist took that statement and refreshed that
statement, rather than to speak about this. And, no, considering the points
and what the media has written I think I can feel like the champion.
Q: Michael, this time last year you arrived here
with, I think, five races without a win and the Italian press was saying
that Ferrari were in crisis, questioning you and the team. Now I think you
have won 14 of the last 17 races. Can you just say how much that criticism
stunned you and also how much satisfaction it gives you to have the run of
success you have had?
Michael Schumacher: You are never satisfied not to be competitive, that is pretty clear.
Although we were able to explain the situation to ourselves, we knew what
were our strong and weak points, and this is the point of Ferrari. We don't
get nervous too much and we don't start to criticise each other. We analyse
each other and we try to look at the weak spots and improve them and we have
done that quite efficiently and that has brought us back to the championship
Q: Michael, you said your tyre deflated because
it lost air. What exactly caused it to lose air -- was it a valve or a tear?
Michael Schumacher: You know, I was not in a position to be next to the tyre when it
happened and it was far too destroyed to analyse that afterwards.
Q: So you cannot say with any confidence whether that could
happen again or whether it was a freak occurrence?
Michael Schumacher: I am pretty sure we can exclude that to the minimum of what you can ever
exclude in Formula One, because there is always this minimum risk that
anything can happen any time and it is the same in other life stories -- it
is this typical part of fate.
Q: Bearing in mind that is the situation, you race like that
as a racing driver, you have a seventh world championship, 82 wins, why do
you carry on doing it?
Michael Schumacher: (Mimics a yawn)
Q: Because you're bored?
Michael Schumacher: You understood the answer. At least, your colleagues did! (Laughter)
Q: No, it's a serious question. That could have cost you your
life, what happened last week. You know that.
Michael Schumacher: First of all, I don't think it could have cost me my life. And second, I
still love what I am doing, and I keep repeating it and it is difficult for
you to understand. For me it is very easy to understand.
Q: Michael, we saw during other Grands Prix some very
dangerous situations like the rear wing of Kimi Raikkonen in Hockenheim.
Speaking as a GPDA member, are you a bit worried for this Grand Prix on such
a circuit like this?
Michael Schumacher: The only percentage worry you have to have extra is because it is high
speed compared to other circuits but therefore you have lower corner speeds.
So, in a way, no I am not more concerned than any other Grands Prix.
Q: Michael, some sources
mentioned it was your 15th serious accident during your career, some said it
was your 13th. Do you count your accidents?
Michael Schumacher: No, I leave it up to those guys who do that.
Q: How do you overcome such an incident? You were quoted as
saying 'I slept a little bit longer and that was all, no consequence at
all.' Maybe you can tell us some of your feelings. Did you really sleep
well, did you dream of the incident? Or are you so tough?
Michael Schumacher: No, it's not about being tough or not. First of all it is about doing
everything possible to make your survival cell in a way as safe and as
comfortable as possible and I spend a lot of effort doing this, together
with the team. We have tried to analyse the accident in terms of what was
the impact. It was a little bit difficult with the information we had
available but I think at some time we can be a bit more precise. It wasn't
un-heavy but the consequences the next day were rather small. I had not too
much to worry about because I felt pretty good. It happened here on
Thursday, I had Friday off and, as you quite rightly said, I slept a little
bit longer on Friday and I was only concerned that I couldn't do the soccer
match on Saturday. And that actually happened without problems.
Q: Kimi did well at Spa. Who would you
regard is your biggest rival for next year - would it be Kimi or not?
Michael Schumacher: I think it depends very much who is in what competitive car. We have
seen several drivers being very good -- several young drivers and several
experienced drivers. This year nobody would have thought that McLaren would
be able to turn around that much but they have. In a natural way you should
never discount them, which I never did, and I believe they are going to be
strong next year. So will Williams, so will Giancarlo with Renault next year
and -- I don't want to forget somebody -- no, Williams, McLaren and Renault. I
think these are the teams you have to worry about. BAR is strong too but
there's a little bit of a question over who is going to drive that car next
year. It is difficult to pick one driver because all of them have very high
potential and it is just who can make the best out of his car with his team.
He can be the one.
Q: Michael, you spent a lot of time in
Belgium, basically on the rear wing of Kimi for the whole race. Did you find
it a refreshing change, to be involved in a chase, to be finding yourself
in a chase, to be finding yourself actually have to push and look for
opportunities and gaps? Back at the start of your career everyone said that
you were a real driver who liked to chase and hunt down your opponents. Did
you find that you had perhaps missed that for the past year and it was a new
thrill in Spa?
Michael Schumacher: First of all, I was obliged to be hunting because I didn't have a car
that allowed me to be in front and be hunted. Every area of my racing career
has had a thrill and was exciting, whether it was leading a race, winning a
race without direct competition or whether it was hunting down somebody. But
when you sit in Spa, behind somebody knowing that you actually don't have a
chance to overtake him because you can't really compete because of certain
circumstances which were available, that my tyres didn't get up to
temperature quick enough and so on, then I don't think that is great fun.
Great fun is if you really go wheel-to-wheel and chase somebody and can be
in the position to try that move.
Q: What would you say to people who say you've had one guy
that's won all but two races, this is the most boring year in the sport's
Michael Schumacher: You know there are people who prefer to see things negative and there
are people who prefer to see things positive. I have had a lot of people
coming to me and saying we love what you have been doing. It depends on who
you ask. I certainly can't say I found it boring. We had a great race in
Hockenheim, we have had a great race in Spa. We've had less interesting
races such as in Hungary but Formula One has always been like this.
Continued in Part 2
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