| Schumacher believes he’s still competitive
Suzuka: With another world Formula One driving title, Michael Schumacher went home to Switzerland Monday and discouraged those who think that six is enough.
Schumacher feels he has a unique weapon to get psyched up for another run at the title in 2004 — the Ferrari Team.
“It’s very easily down to the motivation and the class of all the people that work for Ferrari. That is unique and the number of victories speak for themselves. Everybody does a super job,” Schumacher said.
Others, such as three-time world champion Alain Prost, said that Schumacher’s motivation may be lacking. “With six titles he stands alone, to get a seventh will take a lot of motivation,” Prost said. “Motivation is not something you can decide from one day to another.”
“Just understand I love this sport, I really love it. There’s no reason for me to quit, especially as I’m still competitive. Why can’t I have fun'” Schumacher said.
He pointed to what happened at the Japanese Grand Prix Sunday when he was far behind and needed to get a point to clinch the title.
“It showed that this team is so great. Look at what happened, I lose my nose due to my stupidity, I come into the pits suddenly and the guys are ready. That is so extremely professional. They send me out again and they change the strategy and they make the strategy right so I can get back into the picture. That’s just class.”
This was not an easy race for Schumacher. He had to overcome two bumpings, a brief drop to 20th and a minor collision with brother Ralf before seeing teammate Rubens Barrichello win a race Schumacher has won five times.
For Kimi Raikkonen to capture the title, the McLaren driver would have had to win the race while Schumacher went without a point. But Schumacher scored a point for eighth place, leaving the German with 93 points for the season and Raikkonen with 91.
This was Schumacher’s fourth consecutive title with Ferrari, to go with the championships he won with Benetton in 1994 and 1995. It was Ferrari’s fifth Constructors Championship and 13th overall.
“This is completely different, I said before that none of them can be compared and this is true, but I am honestly proud of what we did,” Schumacher said. “Every title is important. Considering how this year went, what happened in the year and to get the fifth constructors’ title in a row is unbelievable.”
By wining his sixth title, Schumacher broke the record he shared with Juan Manuel Fangio. The Argentine’s championships were between 1951 and 1957.
“I’m not trying to compare myself with Fangio,” Schumacher said. “This man is greater than I see myself.”
Fangio was a five-time world champion between 1951 and 1957. He had 28 pole positions and 24 victories in 51 races.
“You can’t take a personality like Fangio and compare him with what has happened today,” said Schumacher. “There is not even the slightest comparison. What he did stands for itself and what we do today is unique in another way.
“I have a lot of respect for what Fangio has achieved but I don’t even want to compare myself. For me, it’s the team that’s important. What we achieved today together with the team has never happened before.”
It was difficult at first.
He trailed Raikkonen 24-8 after three races.
“There are stages when it is like this. I know that and I know this is part of motor sport but I never lost faith in the team. I know they are great, I am working in that team so I know that very well.”
He had a midyear slump where others began seeing the end of the Ferrari era. “How many times people wrote us off,” Schumacher said. “And here we are. We’re back. We never give up. We always fight. That is one of the big strengths of the Ferrari team.”
“It’s just one big family. We are all proud of being a part of it,” Schumacher said.