Schumacher: Title Triumph a long-term ambition

Michael Schumacher has conceded that he will remain committed to Formula One even if he does not win the world championship in 2010.

Schumacher makes his much-publicised return to Formula One this year after signing a three year deal with Mercedes Grand Prix and although the German says that he wants to win his eighth world championship, he concedes that it might take time.

“In our long-term targets with Mercedes, we have a clear objective,” Schumacher told German newspaper Bild. “I want to become world champion again. Perhaps that will not happen in my first season back, but it is realistic over the three seasons.”

Last week Schumacher returned to the cockpit for the first time since his ill-fated comeback attempt for Ferrari, testing the development car for the GP2 series. Although the three day event was hampered by the weather, the 41-year-old still set very competitive times and was said to be pleased with the progress made.

Schumacher also hopes that the successful test will finally allay any fears surrounding the condition of his neck and his overall fitness.

“Apparently I have succeeded in pushing back the effects of ageing,” he quipped. “I must have good genes! I could really drive a lot on the last day of testing, and it worked out perfectly. I am very happy with the way testing went; we worked well, the lap times and consistency were good [and] we could do everything we had scheduled to do. I feel fit and I felt immediately comfortable back in the car hey, let’s go for it!”

Schumacher’s comments come a day after motor sport legend, Sir Stirling Moss, ruled out the German’s championship chances for next season.

“I think he is very brave to come back, I think it is very good for the sport,” he said during an interview at the Autosport International show. “He has gone to the best team I think, but that doesn’t mean he is going to win. To beat people like Vettel, and Alonso – who is a very dark horse at the moment – I think he has his work cut out, actually.

“One problem with Michael, from my point of view, is that he has never really had a really fast number two. Usually the best way you can tell how fast a driver is, is to look at the number two and see where he is in relation to him. He’s had Rubens, who is a terrific man and a very quick driver, but one doesn’t look at him as being one of the very fastest – and yet sometimes he was quicker.

“I don’t personally think he will win it. It’s too early to say, but I think it will go to Vettel or Alonso. I think it is good for the sport, but I don’t think he was very well advised to take it.”