Q and A with Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher joined the Mercedes Grand Prix team on December 22nd 2009, his official return to Formula 1. The seven-time Formula 1 world champion was unable to finish on the podium in 2010 but is very motivated to continue his Formula 1 career with Mercedes in 2011.

Michael, today one year ago you signed the contract with Mercedes GP Petronas. What can you tell us about the preparations for next year?
It's going very well and everybody is working very hard on our preparations for the 2011 season. The whole team is motivated and we are confident that next year will take us a good step forward. The guys at Mercedes GP in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart are really powering a lot.

What would be your resume of the year and your comeback?
The year has been a big challenge, and in this respect my expectations have been fulfilled. In terms of results, we clearly did not meet our expectations. But then, you have to fight for the things you want to achieve, which has always been my credo. Mercedes, the whole team, me – we are working together to build something great. Not being an easy process makes the challenge more exciting. None of us is the type of guy to just give up when faced with setbacks. It is the opposite, this makes us even more determined. I think I have proved over many years that I love challenges and that I am able to handle them. I have not regretted my decision to come back at all.

But you had to take a lot of criticism for it…
That is okay for me, and I haven't looked good all the time either. I can live with criticism very well, you just have to differentiate it and it can bring you forward as well. What is much more important is that I deeply enjoy building what we are building here at this team and that is always the best base for success because you do not need to question the motivation. And please don't get me wrong here; you don't question the seriousness either. I can't wait already to get the new season started.

Aren't you tired and looking forward to some nice days of rest?
Yes, I look forward to some quiet days with my family over Christmas but I also notice that I am going all tingly already thinking about next year. We ended the season with a positive feeling and things were starting to come together with a tendency that was clearly positive. And from a physical point of view, the year wasn't very demanding for me. So, knowing our developments for the new year makes me confident that we can fight for some race victories from our own power. This is a prospect which makes me look forward to competing again.

Does that mean you have corrected your goals to a lower level for 2011? Going into that 2010 season, you had spoken about the world championship title to be the goal.
Fighting for the world championship is still our goal, it can only be like this. Hey, we are Mercedes! But this is a three-year project, and even if obviously it would be nicer if it worked out sooner, we are talking about competing at the absolute peak of motorsport. You cannot just come along, put a new team together and beat everybody. But you can be sure that we are working very hard with all our combined power to achieve our aims.

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