Michael Schumacher's future was the subject of plenty of debate after the Turkish Grand Prix, when he admitted the "big joy" was missing after early contact left him only 12th.
But when he met the press in Spain today, the seven-time champion was quick to correct any impression that he was having second thoughts about his comeback with Mercedes. AUTOSPORT was there.
Q. What did you mean when you said you had no 'big joy'?
Michael Schumacher: If you saw the whole interview then it should have been very clear that this was meant for this race [Turkey]. Having a car that was capable of fifth and sixth, and deducting all the unnecessary bits in the first two laps, I would have been most likely sixth and not being there, that is obviously not the biggest fun.
Q. How is the mood coming into this weekend?
MS: It is no different to any other event. If you think anything has changed in myself, no. That is certainly not the case. Even doing that race, I enjoyed part of that race, with the overtaking and the action I had, but then the result I certainly did not enjoy. I had no issues and no problem with anything that is coming up ahead of me now.
Q. Are you finding the lows are harder to deal with now?
MS: In a way I should take this as a compliment because you guys reacting the way - although I haven't read [what has been written]... In those moments I just disappear and stay quiet, and take my own strategy. But understanding from people, they advise me, I should be honoured that you guys put so much interest in myself. In a way we both live from this. Sports are emotion and they go up and they go down in certain moments. I am more than certain I will have the upper hand in the end. I am not worried about that.
Q. When you came back you said it was to win...
MS: Absolutely. This is the only thing why I am coming back. So naturally, we would rather win today than tomorrow, that is for sure, but then I did not understand the whole situation as good as I do now. Our aim and our targets certainly were different when I had signed than they are now. Now, I would call it a normal build-up phase that any normal team that has finally become successful needed to become successful. We have no magic either.
Q. Jackie Stewart said he would be surprised if you were not on the podium soon...
MS: Oh yes. I am more than sure to be on the podium this year.
Q. What would bring you big joy this weekend?
MS: If I maximise the potential and this is something I can analyse afterwards if I had done this or not.
Q. Is it worse if people are not talking about you?
MS: It is not painful. In a certain sense, if you think positive, and that is what I am doing, because I have my targets and my way of approaching things, that is how I say this - naturally you prefer not to have unnecessary critics. But that is part of our life. I have been through this so often, and after every storm the sun always comes out.
Q. What do you make of Fernando Alonso's new Ferrari deal?
MS: I just heard about it right now, and didn't know. I believe in continuity, I believe that is part of the success, so I am not at all surprised. I am pretty sure that he feels very comfortable where he is and they will go that way - because otherwise they would not have done it.
Q. Would you extend your deal until 2016?
MS: To the end of 2016? I don't think that is really necessary to think about this right now and I am not sure if I would really want to do this or not. Let's do this step by step.
Q. Do you have to change something to get rid of the small slips that are proving costly?
MS: Certainly I need to change something, in a way that avoids the mistake that I did in Turn 1 in Turkey, that leads to other things you do over the edge. If you are in the flow and everything is right then you feel it, I am aware and I know that I am able to do this, but I know you have to pull it in the right moment of time and that success rate is not yet 100 per cent.
Q. Do you put too much pressure on yourself?
MS: No, I had a very good... and felt very comfortable. Had a good Saturday morning [in Turkey], had a good start in qualifying, it was a build-up and I thought I had [something in] reserve, particularly in Turn 1. I don't think it is to do with pressure, I think it is just getting it spot on and I don't forget that my team-mate is pretty good on this one to get it spot on. It is good for the team, and for me to have him as a reference in certain moments but it is also helpful for him to both have each other for references to push each other up to where we are.
Q. Is building up the team like being at the start of a career?
MS: In the end, it is basically the same principal yes. It is so many small details that in the end they are responsible for the success and we are about to build up these details in terms of structure of the team and getting everything organised. There is lots of potential, the motivation, and everything it takes - it needs the time. It is what it is.
Q. What have you learned from the last races in terms of strategic approach?
MS: It is pretty interesting to see how the approach for qualifying, compared to last year where it had a much higher value. Tyres, degradation, is so much higher this year that preserving your tyres in qualifying pays off big in the race, so the whole approach is very different, which is why in Q3 we did not do another run. We settled for one run, and if you do in that run a mistake that is double tough, but the strategic point is a lot more important and a lot more fun - these days if qualifying doesn't work out perfectly well you can still challenge, overtake and have a race. Last year, with being last I am sure I wouldn't have even finished in 12th position, so it is a lot more exciting.