Schumacher Wants to Keep On Racing

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher assured cheering US Grand Prix fans on Thursday that he was not about to turn his back on Formula One just yet

Schumacher Wants to Keep On Racing

Asked to confirm his plans, particularly after younger brother Ralf told a German newspaper he felt the seven-times World Champion might retire soon, Schumacher replied: "That's very easy. To keep on racing.

"As long as I am competitive and you are happy to see me I will keep on," he told the crowd in an open air question session at Indianapolis.

Ralf had told Germany's Sport Bild newspaper on Wednesday that, with Ferrari no longer winning, Schumacher was not enjoying the sport as much as he had in the past and did not believe he would continue for much longer.

"I'm very anxious to see what will happen if it stays like that until the end of the season," added the Toyota driver.

Schumacher, 36, the oldest racer on the starting grid, has been in Formula One since 1991 and holds most of the sport's records including 83 wins.

However, once-dominant Ferrari have not won yet in eight races this season and Schumacher's last victory was eight months ago in Japan.

Asked whether he had set himself a target of 10 world titles, a feat that would have to involve racing long after his contract with Ferrari expires at the end of 2006, Schumacher smiled.

"Rumours, that's what the press lives from," he said.

No Target

"There is no such target for me. I just want to enjoy as long as I can enjoy, and I only enjoy it if I am competitive. And I feel competitive still," said Schumacher.

"As long as this is the case, I keep on.

"The main target arrived in 2000, the first Championship achieved together with Ferrari. That was so outstanding for all of us that ever since, anything that arrived after that was just a present," added the German.

"I'm not targeting anything in particular except running, enjoying and getting such support as I'm getting here today."

There was no doubt whose side the crowd was on, with Schumacher and Bridgestone tyre motorsport head Hiroshi Yasukawa getting roars of approval.

"If I listen to the support we should do it, there shouldn't be any question of that," he said when asked whether he could win at Indianapolis on Sunday for the third year in a row.

"As you have seen lately, we are sort of struggling a little bit. We are pushing very hard to get the car back to the competitiveness we had in the past and last year but competition is tough.

"Those other guys and teams are doing a great job and it's difficult to beat them at the moment," said Schumacher.

"It's just a different challenge...we have the speed. We are there in terms of speed, we just don't get it there all the time and particularly in qualifying.

"We have been winning for the last five or six years and at some stage you have to accept that maybe somebody else can do a better job.

"It's our motivation and challenge to show again that we can come back and I am so confident about that, I have no doubts about it. It just may take a little bit longer."

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