Q & A with Ralf Schumacher
|By Mark Glendenning
||Tuesday, October 9th 2007, 13:04 GMT
Ralf Schumacher has already confirmed that he will be leaving Toyota at the end of the season, but that does not mean he has completely given up on Formula One.
Although there appear to be few options on the grid for him, Schumacher has told autosport.com that he is still eyeing a future in Grand Prix racing.
Q. Why have you chosen not to stay at Toyota?
Ralf Schumacher: The decision was taken a while ago; I just wanted to wait until after Fuji as this was such an important race for us. It is simply that we didn't achieve what we wanted or what we set ourselves as a target at the start of the relationship. I just decided that is was better for me to do something else.
Q. Have you any firm plans for next year?
RS: It is too early to say. We're still in talks, but my confidence about being in Formula One next year still hasn't changed. It's terrible for the English guys, but...
Q. When will you make an announcement about your future plans?
RS: That might take a while. I don't know yet.
Q. How is your relationship with Toyota?
RS: Very good and I enjoyed my time here. The working relationship with the team, mechanics and engineers was really great and I learned a lot. I met some good and honest people.
Q. Why can't they make the step forward that they need?
RS: That's not my job anymore and I don't want to say anymore.
Q. Do you have any regrets?
RS: No, it was a decision that I strongly believed in - sometimes things in life don't work out the way you expected them too. And that's just it - I think we both would have loved a better time, which we didn't achieve.
Q. Do you think you could have done more?
RS: You always ask yourself that. You couldn't say you're the perfect man and yes there were times when I made mistakes – crashes in Monaco and Indianapolis for example. It's always difficult – both sides worked very hard to improve the situation and it didn't work out.
Q. Would you want to drive an uncompetitive car in F1?
RS: The situation will depend on what's possible with whatever car you're given. I'm really interested to start something new, something where you can improve with a decent situation. And in F1, everything can be possible if you work your way through and you're able to build the team around you and build a proper car.
Q. What would say was your highlight with Toyota?
RS: Clearly, 2005 was our best season – it worked unexpectedly well for us, we just didn't manage to continue along that line of development.
Q. Is the Toyota approach to F1 the right way?
RS: Only time will tell – it clearly works in the normal car business. F1 is very different and you could question it so far, but they certainly have the resources. It's something to question in the next 10 years. I don't know.
Q. Can you see signs that things are turning around?
RS: Personally I decided it's better to move elsewhere so yes, for me, I can't see the signs but I might be wrong. In F1 everything is possible and I think that for both sides it's better to just go in different ways.
Q. Was it harder to get the car to your liking?
RS: Not really, from America onwards it went quite okay really. If anything, the problems on the car – it could have been better in qualifying but it's right that in qualifying I never really got the front-end to my happiness. It's something I struggled with.