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I am not considering quitting: Schumi
May 31, 2005 19:23 IST
Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher is having a great time racing despite not winning a Grand Prix this season.
Brushing off questions about whether it was time to quit now that a pack of younger Formula One drivers have beaten him in all seven races this year, Schumacher told Tuesday's Bild newspaper that he was not thinking about retiring.
"Let me say this more clearly so you can write it down: I'm not thinking about quitting," said the 36-year-old, who is having his worst start to a championship.
"I've always said that I'd retire if I couldn't keep up with the younger drivers," Schumacher said when asked about past interviews in which he indicated he would quit if drivers came along who were better than him.
"That's different than what's happening now. I'm very much able to keep up with them. In all honesty, with all the duels going on right now, racing is a lot more fun for me than a lot of people would imagine."
Schumacher, the oldest man on the Formula One circuit, is the most successful driver in the history of the sport.
But his chances of taking an eighth drivers' title faded further on Sunday when he finished fifth, nearly a minute off the pace at the European Grand Prix. He is 43 points behind Spain's championship leader Fernando Alonso.
"I'm a realist and can evaluate my chances better than anyone on the outside," he said when asked why he looked so relaxed on Sunday despite the defeat.
"Naturally I'm always trying to do the best I can but sometimes the best isn't enough. I can accept that."
Schumacher was almost invincible last season, winning 13 of 18 races, but has managed a second place only once this year, behind Alonso in San Marino.
The German, whose contract expires at the end of next season, said he did not think this was the toughest time in his Ferrari career.
"The beginning at Ferrari was much harder because we weren't really competitive. In my eyes we definitely are (competitive) now even if that doesn't seem to be the case on the outside.
"It was harder back then because the pressure after so many unsuccessful years was so much greater than it is now.
"I'm not even close to giving up the title," he said.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage