Mon 14 September 2009
Seven times F1 World Champion gives his thoughts ahead of The Race Of Champions this weekend
Formula 1 World Championship legend, Michael Schumacher, will be among the hot favourites to emerge as the ‘Champion of Champions’ when he takes part in The Race of Champions this Sunday (Dec 14) at Wembley Stadium.
Ahead of the end-of-season motorsport spectacular, seven times F1 World Champion Schumacher gives his thoughts on The Race of Champions, Formula 1 and his rivals this weekend.
You've obviously driven at some of the greatest tracks in the world but what's it like competing in the Race of Champions at Wembley, a stadium steeped in sporting tradition.
MS: It is first of all big fun! It is just weird driving in such a stadium as everything is extremely narrow, but at the same time you look at it and wonder how they managed to build a track with enough space for everything. It is spectacular to drive and to watch, and this is why it works so well since so many years.
Ferrari were desperately unlucky not to win the title with Felipe Massa on the final day of the season at the Brazilian Grand Prix. How do you think they will respond to that defeat?
“The way Ferrari always responds: work even harder, concentrate even harder, compete even harder. This is the basis of our incredible winning streak - don't lose yourself in discussions about the past, join forces for the next steps.”
Who do you think will be the main contenders for the F1 title next year?
“Obviously Ferrari, having won the constructors championship and nearly the drivers too. Both Felipe and Kimi will be hot. I think in the end the top teams will stay on top, as they have maybe a bigger potential for developments but then one of them might find an advantage you cannot foresee now. This is a question which at the moment probably nobody can answer, given all the changes to come.”
You obviously enjoy the Race of Champions after competing in the event last year? What sets it apart from other motorsports events?
“The nice thing about it is that you meet all the guys from the other motorsport areas and can spend some time with them. Usually this is quite impossible, as everybody is either busy or in the middle of a race weekend. The atmosphere is very relaxed, you can hang around with them, and this is just great.”
Back to the Race of Champions and which of the great competitors who will be on the starting line do you admire the most?
“Well, admire is probably the wrong word but I have a massive respect for all of the guys competing. Everybody is a master of his own, and everybody has a huge passion for our sport. That's what all this is about.”
This year’s Race of Champions will feature a host of demonstration runs and exhibitions but none as exciting as the unique Man vs Machine challenge that will see newly-crowned F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton go head to head with Beijing Olympic cycling hero, Chris Hoy.
Hoy will be on his racing bike, while Hamilton will be at the wheel of a 670bhp McLaren Mercedes SLR in the ultimate test of man and machine.
Tickets for The Race of Champions are on sale now by calling 0844 412 1743, or online at www.raceofchampions.com. Adult prices start at £18 and child tickets at £9. Tickets will also be available on the gate at Wembley Stadium.