|Defending Team Champions Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher represent Germany|
Michael Schumacher may have just two grands prix remaining in Formula 1 ahead of his retirement, but his career at the Race Of Champions is far from over. Not only will the German compete at ROC 2012 in Bangkok on December 14-16 but he is vowing to be back for more in the future.
Schumacher has partnered fellow multiple world F1 champion Sebastian Vettel to the ROC Nations Cup title for a record five consecutive years. But even if the pair extend their winning run to six in Bangkok, it will not sate 43-year-old Schumacher’s appetite for glory – and good fortune…
“The Race Of Champions is always a very special event," Schumacher told ROC’s official preview podcast. “And this time it’s in Bangkok close to Christmas so I’m very much looking forward to racing with my old mate Seb for another repeat of our title.
“But my lucky number is actually number 7. So we’ve got to do this and then the one after. That would be the ultimate. Obviously this means I’m not retiring from the Race Of Champions yet. I could have retired from it by the end of this year, but I don’t want to. It’s too much fun. And as long as I’m still a bit competitive in it, why not?"
Vettel heads into Formula 1’s final double-header of 2012 with a 10-point lead over his only remaining challenger, Fernando Alonso. Now he is intent on converting that into his third successive F1 crown so Team Germany can head to Bangkok with an almighty haul of 10 world titles between them.
“It’s still too far away but that’s the target we’ve been fighting for the whole year," said Vettel. “Obviously it would be fantastic but whatever happens I’m looking forward to the Race Of Champions. It’s always fun to enjoy time away from the track with the other drivers – not just from F1 but rallying, touring cars and all sorts of motor sports round the globe.
“We obviously want to win our sixth ROC Nations Cup but I think Michael will stick with me in the future because we’ve got to get at least seven. It’s a lucky number for him, so that’s the big number we have to achieve."
The field for ROC 2012 includes multiple MotoGP world champions in Mick Doohan and Jorge Lorenzo, plus the reigning title-holders from IndyCar (Ryan Hunter-Reay) and V8 Supercars (Jamie Whincup). But if anyone thinks the German pair might take their eye off the ball when it comes to number six, Schumacher is happy to put them straight, adding: “I want to take them all down, very clear. Watch out…"
Click here to hear the full interviews with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel in ROC's official preview podcast
The Race Of Champions, which is being staged for the 25th consecutive year in 2012, brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans, MotoGP, IndyCar and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
ROC 2012 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 15 December, ahead of the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday 16 December.
Tickets are now on sale. For access to further information, hi-res imagery and details about media accreditation please visit www.raceofchampions.com. Sign up for all the latest updates at www.raceofchampions.com, @raceofchampions on Twitter or Race Of Champions on Facebook.
Drivers confirmed for the 2012 Race Of Champions so far:
- Michael SCHUMACHER, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion
- Sebastian VETTEL, Formula 1 World Champion 2011, 2010
- Ryan HUNTER-REAY, IndyCar Series Champion 2012
- Jamie WHINCUP, V8 Supercar Champion 2011, 2009, 2008
- Mick DOOHAN, five-time 500cc MotoGP World Champion
- David COULTHARD, 13-time Formula 1 grand prix winner
- Jorge LORENZO, MotoGP World Champion 2012, 2010