Ralf Schumacher has not done his contract hopes any good over the Turkish Grand Prix weekend. After an excellent Friday which saw a competitive car and Ralf finishing third quickest, he was knocked out in the second round of qualifying, starting a surprisingly low 18th on the grid.
After qualifying, he was seen storming out of the back of the Toyota garage, ignoring all the press waiting around for him. He only returned to the garage when Toyota s media manager Fernando Villa-Boas reminded him that he had a commitment to the press.
“I had many problems and I do not know what,â€ Schumacher eventually explained. “The situation is not good.â€
Although Schumacher is confident he will be in a Formula 1 race seat in 2008, rumours are circulating to the contrary. One of his remaining options is to swap seats with Nico Rosberg of Williams. Frank Williams made a passing comment about Schumacher over the weekend which has stirred up media interest over the 2008 line-ups of the two teams. “Alex is very highly regarded in our team,â€ Frank Williams began. “As Ralf is in the other Toyota team, our short list is very short.â€
Schumacher believes that he did have a good chance of scoring some points over the weekend, however his poor qualifying show put pay to his hopes.
“I am not really happy with the result,” admitted the German. “I think we had the speed, but I couldn’t really push early in the race and the car was not ideal with the hard tyres, so I lost a bit of time. Also, because I was on a one-stop strategy my car was very heavy and that made it hard to push earlier in the race. But it was the right strategy as it was very difficult from where we were on the grid.
“As we have seen on Friday, we have decent race speed and when I was in clear air my pace was not so bad in the end. My lap times got better towards the end of the race and they were actually quite good. If our result in qualifying had been better we would have been able to score points. We can definitely expect to fight for points in the remaining races, starting at Monza in two weeks.”