Interview with Michael Schumacher
Interview with Michael Schumacher
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Saturday January 23rd, 1999

Schumacher at Madonna di CampiglioMichael Schumacher held yesterday a press conference at Madonna di Campiglio as part of the Formula One Ski Weekend, the traditional winter event put on by Marlboro. The German driver looked quite happy, very relaxed and ready to answer the questions of many journalists that were present for the 9th F1 International Press Meeting.

Q: This year Ferrari will present the new car later than usual. Will this make you be less prepared for the beginning of the World Championship?
"I don't think so. In 1998, all the cars were completely new - in order to comply to the FIA regulations and they had to go through a lot of testing before the beginning of the new season. Now it's different: things are evolving. This is the second car built completely in Maranello and things are easier. The power unit and the gear box have been constantly tried at the bench and the aerodynamics in the wind gallery. Obviously, we must be ready to use the whole month of February in order to be ready for the first race."

Q: Do you think McLaren is most likely to win the World Championship?
"I believe that McLaren and Ferrari have the same possibilities to fight for the title. Of course, there can always be a surprise because in F.1 nothing is for sure. I also think that Williams and Jordan can improve, maybe even win some races, but they won't be running for the title."

Q: After the first trials with the 4-groove tyres many drivers seemed worried. What do you think?
"Today we know that tyres have to be harder in order to resist to the high performances required, but they will also make cars slip. Overtakes will be more difficult because we will have to rely on aerodynamics. We must find new solutions. But I am sure that this problem will not cause terrible accidents. There might be more off-tracks. Drivers are not happy, we will let them know, even though there are others who do not agree."

Michael Schumacher Q: The next Championship will be the last one in the century: What are your objectives?
"Our objectives is to win the Championship. Ferrari has been waiting 20 years. It looks like a good number to win the last Championship of the century. I personally will take care of my family that will be growing."

Q: What does Ferrari need to win the Championship?
"F1 is a sport: it's unpredictable. I think that the Ferrari Marlboro Team has all it needs to be the best team. It just has to prove it."

Q: Which is your favourite soccer team?
"My favourite Italian team is Fiorentina, just because I am a friend of Battistuta. My favourite German team is Colonia even though it is now in the minor league."

Q: Why does Villeneuve always try to tease you when he's interviewed?
"This is a good question for Villeneuve. Ask him. Maybe he's envious because we have a better team than his?"

Q: What are the odds to win the next title?
"Like last year: 50%. McLaren is given as the winner, but it will have to cope with a very strong Ferrari."

Schumacher and Badoer ice-kartingQ: Do you think that you will have to drive against Hakkinen alone or also with Coulthard?
"I will have to watch out for both of them. They are very fast. It all depends on the beginning of the season and on David's will to be concentrated."

Q: Do you think that your brother Ralf could be a rival for you? "Williams is a top team. It all depends if he will be able to go further ahead. He may not have a sufficient power unit. But, besides this, Ralf is an excellent driver, he just needs a competitive car."

Q: What do you expect from Irvine?
"Just what he has always done: team work. Eddie has grown a lot in these years. If Ferrari has a fast car, he will be in the highlight."

Q: Enzo Ferrari said that a driver can loose 1 second per lap for each son/daughter.
"That means that I was very fast before the birth of Maria Gina? No joking... those are things that could have meant something in the past. Nowadays, drivers have different motivations."

Q: Niki Lauda said to a German newspaper that it is Jean Todt's fault if Ferrari is not winning.
"There are many ex-drivers that speak without knowing what happens. Mr. Lauda is wrong and he said that because he thinks that Todt does not want him in Ferrari anymore. The truth is that Niki did his own business and his support for the team was not so fundamental."

The Three Ferrari drivers: Schuey, Luca And EddieQ: Do you ever get any fines when driving in city traffic?
"Never for speeding. Maybe for parking."

Q: Many people criticise F1 saying that it's boring.
"Well let's compare it with motorcycles. The show is great because there are no problems with aerodynamics. We - F1 drivers are behind another car and we feel all the turbulences. Overtakes become difficult even when there are important speed differences. Something must change; even if today you can't imagine driving a F.1 car without a determinating aerodynamics."

Q: Do you always take care of safety problems?
"Of course. I heard that Monza is preparing a special track surface that can soak water in case of rain. We will try it and if it works we will propose it to other tracks like Spa, Budapest and Barcelona."

Q: Deep in your heart, do you still desire victories?
"In the last years I have won quite a bit but not constantly. It is a great emotion. I drive for this reason: this is my goal."

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