Thursday June 28th, 2001
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher would be the last Formula One driver to claim he always dreamed of breaking Alain Prost's all-time record of 51 Grand Prix wins. The German three-time world champion said on Thursday ahead of Sunday's French Grand Prix, in which he will be chasing his 50th career victory, that as a youth he had no idea who four-time champion Prost was.
"When I was a young chap I didn't know Alain was driving races, honestly," he told a news conference when asked about his boyhood memories of the Frenchman, who now runs a team of his own with Ferrari engines. "Many people know that my career didn't start with the focus on formula one, so I wasn't aware until quite late that Formula One existed.
"I just drove go-karts and that was my world. I didn't have this daddy taking me along and making me aware of all motorsport activities," Schumacher said.
The German entered Formula One in 1991, the same year Prost was at Ferrari before taking year out. The Frenchman retired in 1993 after winning his final title with Williams and being beaten into second place by Schumacher in that season's Portuguese Grand Prix.
Schumacher, the most successful current driver, is fast closing on Prost's two outright records - wins and total number of points scored - in a season that should also see him equal the Frenchman's four world titles. Prost scored 798.5 points, while Schumacher now has 736.
"Something I always keep saying about statistics is that it will be nice when I retire but we have another focus in front of us and that's the main target," Schumacher said.
Schumacher, who has won five of this season's nine races, leads McLaren's David Coulthard by 24 points in the championship standings with eight Grands Prix remaining.
Published at 18:33:52 GMT