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I could still be racing at 40: Schumacher
Nick Mulvenney | February 26, 2005 22:45 IST
Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher thinks he could still be racing in Formula One in four years time at the age of 40.
Despite having broken almost every record in Formula One and being the oldest driver in the sport, the 36-year-old German said he does not feel his age and has no plans for retirement.
"I don't think about the fact that I'm fighting younger guys because I play soccer with most of the guys and I don't feel older than them when I'm on the pitch," Schumacher said at Friday's launch of the Ferrari car for the 2005 season at Maranello.
"It's all so natural, what I'm doing, it's still fun. That's the key to what's happening. It's not about reaching the top of something, it's about doing something which you enjoy doing and in which you are competitive.
"As long as that is the case, you keep on enjoying it. If it's not the case then you might not enjoy it and you change your perspective.
Asked whether it was conceivable that he might still be racing in Formula One at 40, Schumacher said: "Quite possible, yes."
Ferrari team principal Jean Todt is convinced Schumacher does not know when he will retire and, in the Frenchman's opinion, it certainly will not be soon.
"I think it's linked to what is inside your brain," said Todt. "I mean he loves racing, he loves the feeling of driving a competitive racing car. He loves being at Ferrari, just as we love having him here.
"One day it will stop, but at the moment he is fresh in his mind, says he has the same tension, the same pressure and the same expectation as if he had never won a grand prix."
Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn, whose cars won 15 of the 18 races last year, said he thought that when the end came for Schumacher's career, it would come suddenly.
"I do wonder at the end of each year, I mean we're all exhausted at the end of the season," said Brawn.
"So you finish the season, even a season as great as we had last year, and you need to go away and recuperate a bit. You wonder what enthusiasm people are going to have when it comes round again.
"With Michael you start getting the phone calls in November, December, asking 'How's it going?', 'Have you got my test programme planned?' and we probably got the phone calls earlier than normal this year.
"He'll do it at a certain level and then he'll know one morning, he'll wake up and he won't want to do it anymore and that hasn't happened yet. He's not a person who'll do a 50 percent job.
"He is exceptional."
The season begins in Melbourne on March 6.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage