Tuesday August 28th, 2001
Michael Schumacher believes the pressure on him to succeed has not eased even though he has already secured his fourth Formula One Championship title.
Asked if he would need to concentrate more after his victory at the Hungaroring on Aug. 19 which guaranteed the title, Schumacher gave a firm "no."
"It would be hard for me to concentrate more... but you could say that by winning the world championship I've actually put more pressure on my shoulders," the 32-year-old German told a news conference in Berlin Tuesday.
Schumacher, in town to promote a charity for which he has become a patron, said that despite the pressure he continued to enjoy his racing. Retirement is not part of his thinking.
"I have a contract until the end of 2004. Then we'd have to see, but as long as I am still enjoying it I'll continue," he said.
Schumacher heads for the Belgian circuit Spa this week for a Grand Prix where his Formula One career began. His win at the Hungaroring equalled the 51 victories of Frenchman Alain Prost but Schumacher was reluctant to say if and when he would push ahead of Prost to claim the record outright.
His thoughts now are on making it a perfect season for his Ferrari team by helping teammate Rubens Barrichello to second place in the Championship. Ferrari have already won the Constructors' title.
"I admit I'll certainly do everything to help Barrichello come second. He showed his loyalty to me in Austria by helping me get two points," Schumacher said.
Schumacher was controversially handed second place at the end of the Austrian Grand Prix in May when Barrichello obeyed orders from sporting director Jean Todt and pulled over on the final corner to let the German through. Of course, the Brazilian needs to get in a position where Schumacher can help him.
Schumacher also hinted that he might be prepared to offer a favour to his brother Ralf who drives for Williams.
"Our main aim is to get Barrichello into second place," he said. "Naturally I'm also rooting for my brother, no doubt about it."
The fight for second place is a close-run contest this year, with four races still to come. McLaren's David Coulthard has 51 points, Barrichello 46 and Ralf Schumacher 44.
Published at 17:35:23 GMT