Michael Schumacher’s family have released a series of never before heard recordings featuring the Formula 1 legend answering ten questions in an interview about the sport in 2013.
Although unconfirmed, this may well be the last interview with the sport’s most successful driver who suffered a near-death accident while skiing with his son Mick in the Alps on 29 December 2013.
Schumacher has been hospitalised, or under medical care, ever since, well hidden from the public and media with occasional blasts from the past, such as this one, released by the family.
Here is the transcript of the Q&A session with the seven times Formula 1 World Champion, aired for the first time today:
What was your most emotional world title: the first ever, 1994, or the first with Ferrari in 2000?
Michael Schumacher: The most emotional one definitely Suzuka 2000 with Ferrari, 21 no championship for Ferrari, four years for myself failing to achieve it and finally 2000 Suzuka winning the race, an exceptional race and win a great championship.
In more than 20 years in Formula 1, which opponent you respected the most?
MS: The most respected guy in all those years definitely was Mika Hakkinen, great fights but stable private relationship.
How physically demanding Formula 1 is really?
MS: Formula 1 is very tough, it used to be a lot harder with no power brakes or power steering in the past days compared to nowadays, but anyway it is one of the toughest sports that you can do so lots of preparation is needed.
Did you have a Formula 1 idol as a child?
MS: In the young days of karting I was looking around and yes I saw Ayrton Senna, I saw Vincenzo Sospiri who I admired a lot as a go-kart. But my great idol was Toni Schumacher because he was a great soccer player.
Have you always known that you would set racing records, or did you ever doubt your abilities?
MS: Records is one thing, doubts I think is very important to not be too overconfident, to be sceptical, to look for improvements, to look for the next step and uh.. I always felt I was not good enough, I had to work on myself and I guess that was one of the recipes that made me what I became.
You’ve always said that success is a team effort, but isn’t the Formula One a one-man act?
MS: Success in any situation of life or in most I know anyway is about teamwork, yourself you do what you do as a team you will be much stronger and Formula 1 is about teamwork and definitely not a one-man show.
You led the Benetton and Ferrari teams to world championship titles, and you helped shape the lead-up for Mercedes – are these periods comparable in any way?
MS: If you go back to the various teams I have been driving for, the missions with Benetton after kind of four to five years, building it up, winning the championship, the same for Ferrari, we tried the same with Mercedes in lesser time and uh… is there one thing in common? And I Have to say yes there is: Ross Brawn. Think about it…
As part of your ongoing efforts to improve, do you analyze all the other drivers or only the best ones?
MS: To develop yourself to find other steps, you not only look at the car, you look at yourself, you look at other drivers and you not only looking at your front drivers, you looking at everybody, so I did because everybody has something special that I wanted to know.
You’ve always said that kart racing is the best training ground for all subsequent classes of racing. Why is that?
MS: Karting is good preparation for future motorsports because it gives you a lot of facilities that you can develop yourself, a lot of skills that you can develop, and the fighting, the wheel-to-wheel racing that’s one of the big learning you get from karting.
Is it possible to reach the top on talent alone?
MS: Talent in motorsport, like in any sport, is important but that’s not all, you need really to develop lots of different skills that… karting is a good base to prove your talent but even to find out about the other ‘needs’ you need as a race driver.