Schumacher Relieved Season is Over

Michael Schumacher is relieved the 2005 season is finally over after an embarrassing end to a difficult year in China

Schumacher Relieved Season is Over

The season ended in embarrassment for the Ferrari driver after he collided on the installation lap before skidding out of the Chinese Grand Prix behind the safety car.

The seven-times World Champion began the race from the pitlane in a spare car after crashing with Minardi's Christijan Albers on his way to the starting grid.

"I wanted to warm my tyres up and usually you do that by driving in a zig-zag, especially if you want to go slow in order to save fuel," explained Schumacher. "I do not know if it was obvious for him what I was trying to do and that is why I don't want to blame anyone because I do not know if he could see what I was doing."

Schumacher was in 10th place when the safety car came out on lap 19 and spun into the gravel four laps later to continue his Shanghai jinx after finishing out of the points last year.

Schumacher banged wheels with Red Bull's Christian Klien and also suffered a puncture on his way to a 12th-place finish in last year's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix.

"With the spin, there was no profile on my tyres any more and because of the safety car they were very cold as well," he added. "Suddenly Felipe [Massa] had to break in front of me, I had to do the same and that was already enough to initiate the spin, it was like driving on ice."

The German is now looking forward to return to winning ways in 2006.

"I will now go home and I am really looking forward to that now. At the moment I am happy about the fact that the season is over now," he said. "I don't feel having had criticism that was not fair this season, for me it is also important to have the self-understanding that we can get criticised for what we have shown this year.

"Next year there can only be one target for us and that is to come back and fight for the title. I am already thinking ahead to next season so we should write this one off now, end it now, and just go forward in thinking to the next season."

Teammate Rubens Barrichello, in his final race for the team, also endured a disappointing day, finishing down in 12th position.

"It was a hard race, during which everything was working okay up to the first pitstop," Barrichello said. "The team did a good job in terms of strategy, calling me at the right time, which allowed me to make up a couple of places.

"But from that point on, I felt I was losing performance and was having some problems  with  my  front  tyres.  Basically,  from  the  second  Safety  Car  period  onwards,  my  tyres  were gone. The only enjoyable part of the race was my duel with Mark, but really I was in trouble because I had no grip at the front.

"So, a sad race, but I want to thank everyone in the team, both here and those back in Maranello. We have had a fantastic years. I learnt a lot and it is Ferrari that has given me the chance to build something for the future. I am grateful for that and I am sure we will be friends for ever."

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