Michael Schumacher

EVO'S HARRY METCALFE TALKS TO THE SEVEN-TIMES CHAMP ABOUT Tl IC20I0 SEASON, PRE-RACE NAPS, AND BRACKLCY

Montana Something similar doesn't seem to exist in Brackley! Luckily, winning is not about having a good restaurant, it's other subjects that make the difference.

How often do you visit the team in Brackley?

I regularly visit the team in Brackley, especially now in the closed season. I need to help with all the fine informations, to keep in touch with the engineers' needs during the development process. That, n the end. is what makes the difference.

Are you finding racing in F1 as exciting as when you first started?

I think so. For example, my heartbeat is the same now as it was before. I always had a low heartbeat number. My Brazilian teammate before Felipe [Rubens Barrichello - Felipe Massa's predecessor as Ferrari's number two driver] used to average I86 per minute throughout the race, with peaks of 200. In the same race I had an average of 138 and peaks of 150. In similar tests in Brazil this year, my heartbeat was the same. Part of this is training, part is emotions and the rest, I think, is character.

Can you beat Vettel next year?

I will certainly try, as that's what I'n here for. He certainly knows this too!

What are your views on bringing back KERS to Fl?

I dont care if its KERS or not KERS in F1 - it's the rules and it's the same for everyone, so you just have to deal with it. I feel if you make changes, although you try to save costs by introducing these changes, any changes of rules create costs anyway. This is the contradiction.

What do you do to keep focused before a race?

Everyone is different. For example, my teammate [Nico Rosberg] likes to play soccer before a race, as he likes to be active. Myself, I like to have a Itole sleep and relax to calm down and then be full of fire for the race.

What car do you drive to work?

Naturally it's a Mercedes and, er, it's a nee toy, the C63. It's good fun!

Do you own any classic cars? I'm not really an 'old-timer' fan and I've sold many of my older cars, including my Bugatti EBII OSS. I prefer cars with all the latest technology fitted; they are more 'me' than older cars, although I still have my little Fiat 500.

You used to help Ferrari during development of its road cars; will you do the same for Mercedes?

I have a long partnership beyond racing with Mercedes and helping out with developing future road cars is what is perceived for the future.

Did you ever think during the 2010 season, 'this isn't for me'?

I have a three-year contract with Mercedes so why would I? My aim is to

022 Pictures: Jérôme Gertsch

A postcard from...

tne Portuguese Spa

EVO'S ROGER GREEN CO-DRIVES TO A GT4 CLASS WIN AT THE STUNNING AUTÓDROMO DO ALGARVE RACETRACK

W ho designed this circuit?' I need to know P BIT because after a morning testing a GT4-spec BMW M3 at the Autódromo do W Algarve in southern Portugal, I've come to the conclusion that this track is up there with the best, comparable with the likes of Spa, Brands CP and even the Nordschleife.4Me,' comes the somewhat surprising reply from my new team-mate. The whole thing was my idea; it took me eight years to secure che funding and then just another eight months to build it.'

I've been invited to share the M3 in a pair of hour-long Portuguese GT races, and although I was aware that Paulo Pinheiro had played a major part in turning this racetrack project into an FIA-spec reality, I had no idea it was the fulfilment of his dream. Unsurprisingly, he has driven many laps around the undulating twists and cresting turns since it opened almost two years ago, but this will be his first ever race. Let's hope it goes well then.

It doesn't begin auspiciously - we fail to get to the grid on time so Paulo has tc begin his first race on his own track from the pit lane. He drives well, climbing to ninth before handing over. The M3 is hugely enjoyable: the balance is just about pcrfcct, although as the front-left tyre begins to go off, understeer builds through the dramatic final Parabólica comer - taken flat in ffth gear, with just a lift at the apex where the road drops away beneath you.

There are no regulation turns here, nothing fits with normal textbook techniques. You have to drive it, experiment and discover what works for you and your car. The tyres and brakes may begin to wilt by the end but they remain consistent enough for us to finish fourth overall ar,d second in class.

I'm relieved, Paulo is overjoyed - it's a result way above his hopes and expectations. It gets even better on the second day, where we again finish just off the overall podium but this time win the class, meaning Paulo gets to spray the fizzy stuff off the top step.

We will return, but for now all you reed to know is that the Algarve is no longer the preserve of the sun-loving golfer, it's a track driver's paradise, too.

evo's Harry Metcalfe (right) caught up with Schimey at an event for watchmaker Audemars Piguet where it was announced that the F1 racer has become an ambassador for the firm win the championship again, absolutely But I knew in the winter, stepping into the car for the first time, this was not the car to win the championship with, so straight away you focus on how you can do this - that is what all the work I have been putting in recently has been. I would be pretty dumb not to now take the fruits of what is coming up in the future.

No regrets, then?

No. no. It was a well-thought-out decision to return to F1 and I enjoyed myself. Well, partly, not all of the time!

Like when you were suddenly facing the wrong way on the opening lap at Abu Dhabi and the Force India car of Liuzzi hit you head-on?

That's all part of this business. I've faced much worse situations! But which job in the world is full of enjoyment, one hundred per cent? I expect to have a much better time in 2011, though. I can't wait!

JMaas

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