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GP Week : Issue 145
GPWEEK: There are six champions on the grid this year. How do you sum up the other five? MICHAEL SCHUMACHER: The McLaren drivers are probably nearest to challenge the front-runners. They look to be very well sorted out. Er... who are the others? We have Sebastian [Vettel]. Oh, Fernando [Alonso]. He is probably in a little bit of trouble right now, but the hype whenever Ferrari is not immediately at the top is big. Their recovery possibility is very strong. I would not discount them at any time, and certainly not Fernando. It’s exciting for all of us. You seemed to struggle during your first year back in F1. Do you expect Kimi Raikkonen to have similar problems? We’ll find out, honestly. It depends on what reference he has. In Nico I’ve had a tough reference, and we’ll see what reference he has to face. The car that he has in his hands looks a very promising one. He looked strong together with his team-mate in the preparation. I don’t see any reason why he will struggle and I wish him well. Sebastian could be the third driver to win three titles in succession, joining you and Juan Manuel Fangio in the history books. Is this something you would welcome, or would you prefer to keep this record exclusive to you and Fangio? Honestly, I’m very excited to see what Sebastian has achieved and will achieve. He’s a good friend of mine, I have known him for so long and supported him in the early days. Actually I would be very proud. You have always been Seb’s hero. Who was yours? I only really had two, back in the karting days. One was Ayrton Senna and the other was Vincenzo Sospiri. They were so special in their way, dominating the karting world. It was just fascinating to watch them. Have you watched the Senna film? Indeed. It’s a very special film and has a lot of inside view. It was interesting to watch this. Knowing him, racing him at his final moment, and maybe being a small part of this movie made it extra special. You mentioned Sospiri. Is it a pity not to have any Italians on the grid this year? There were days that we didn’t have a German driver and now we don’t have an Italian driver and, yes, it’s a pity. Sometimes these things happen in waves. For a while there were lots of Italian drivers, I’m pretty sure that again in the future we will have some good kids coming from Italy. How important is this season to you and at what stage will you decide whether you continue into 2013? It’s as important as all the other years. You work very strongly in the winter to meet your goals and move for ward. We see at the first race what this work is worth. You come extremely excited to prove your point. It’s like this every year and it’s certainly no different when I raise my future. There’s no fixed time when I make that decision. What lies at the heart of your decision when you consider your future? Is it age, happiness, fitness, or a combination? It is something that at the time I might tell you. How does Mercedes right now compare to the how it was at Ferrari in the 1990s, when you were pushing to move up the grid? You can’t compare because they were very different teams, and times develop, situations develop. The point is we have our target and that is to make Mercedes champions in the future. 5 MINUTES WITH MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Schumi tells GPWEEK about his fellow world champions on the grid, the targets for Mercedes, and how he had a picture of Vincenzo Sospiri on his bedroom wall 5 MINUTES 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: