BMW-Williams team-mates Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya head to Japan for next weekend's penultimate round of the 2004 season at Suzuka, one of the most technically demanding circuits on the calendar.
Both drivers are eager to take on both the challenging circuit and their rivals to score some vital championship points as the team bids to keep fifth-placed McLaren behind it.
"Apart from the unfortunate technical failure I had last year," Montoya said, "I have always done reasonably well at Suzuka. I like the circuit a lot and driving there is good fun. The track should suit our package, which makes me fairly confident for a good result. It was good to collect some points in China and I am aiming to score some more in Japan, as we really need to strengthen our position in the constructors' championship."
Schumacher, who has missed six races this season because of injury, is particularly familiar with the Japanese circuit and the country having lived there in 1996 when he was competing in the F3000 championship.
"I think Suzuka is one of the most interesting tracks on the Formula 1 calendar, so I am very much looking forward to racing there," he said. "Of course it won't be easy though, you need a perfect car to perform well in the fast sectors of the circuit, so we will have to find a good set-up but, in my opinion, we have a good chance of doing that."
Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline
Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…
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