Questions from the floor
Q: (Frédéric Ferret - L'Equipe)
Michael and Sebastian, you are two World Champions, can you rate one another's seasons and both of you, do you think that Sebastian could become the next Michael Schumacher?
I can rate many seasons by Michael, he did a lot of seasons and he obviously won the Championship seven times. Obviously he's sitting next to me, so whatever I say, he can hear as well but I don't think we have to go through all this again. You have been there for most of the time as well so I think you remember. He had very good seasons, but he also had seasons where he was in a bit of trouble and came out of it, made huge progress with the team and himself, even though he didn't win the championship.
And on the second question – yeah, I'm not his brother, he has one already. Surely, for all of us, except Michael, we will always be compared to him and left with his big footsteps or footprints, but it will be very, very difficult to catch up. Everything he achieved is quite phenomenal, so the question is not only if there will ever be a German achieving that again, the question is if there will ever again be a driver in Formula One achieving what he has done.
Well, as he talked about footsteps, I think we both have similar sized shoes so it should be good.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo)
To all drivers, six drivers means 25 per cent of the grid; why do you have so many German drivers in Formula One?
Why? At the moment, I think the general reason is that we have a huge German industry for cars that is interested in Formula One and that in the past – not only Mercedes but other manufacturers – have invested in Formula One and have invested in young driver programmes and still do. So motor sport in general is of a much higher importance than it used to be and there are lots of schools and talent scouts to find the drivers of the future. Luckily, because of this possibility there is a big mass of drivers anyway who do go-karts, do many, many kinds of categories, so we were lucky to establish the final six ones that you see at the moment here. This is part of the reason that finances and support have been given to us and the opportunities have been given. But then, why did we have, at certain moments, so many Brazilian drivers, so many Italian drivers? I think it's a sort of phase of life that you go through. Why were there more than 10 Italian drivers – I think even 12 or 14 Italian drivers when I started Formula One? Why we have almost none at the moment, apart from Jarno (and Vitantonio Liuzzi)? I don't know, whether it's just because of the financial side or whether there are other reasons or it's just coincidence.
I agree with what Michael says. In a way, it's also as he said, sometimes you have more Italian drivers, there are a lot of French drivers. At the moment we have one Italian (two), no French drivers. I think it changes naturally, but surely, I think for the future, it will be even more important, very difficult. I still believe we have great categories in Germany, giving chances to young drivers, but overall, I think motorsport becomes very expensive from an early age, so you need strong people behind you to support you so unfortunately it's no longer as open as maybe it used to be, just because you need so much money right from the start to go karting. I hope that in the future, there will be manufacturers like Michael said, or individual companies supporting young kids and giving them the chance to, one, have fun, and secondly, maybe live their dream and end up in Formula One or DTM or whatever.
Surely, Michael himself is also responsible for there being so many good Germans in racing, because he's the one who gave the sport such a boom in Germany, and then there's a knock-on effect from there, that more kids want to start racing, there's more money to support them and everything.
Q: (Gary Chappell – The Daily Express)
Sebastian, you probably won many fans with your impressions of other drivers on Top Gear (UK TV show) recently. How determined are you to do an impression of, say, Mark Webber and win at the Nurburgring here and claim your first home win?
I think the impression I did was about what happened in the past, so it's a bit more difficult to predict what is going to happen in the future. I really enjoyed the show, it was great fun, not just the lap I did in the Reasonably Priced Car but also afterwards. Obviously I've now had two full years with Mark and am now in the third year alongside him and I still sometimes struggle to understand everything he says, whereas I get quite familiar with all the accents we have in the garage, with people from the UK, even from Ireland and I get along quite well; with Mark's accent here and there I still struggle, so it's not an easy one to copy either.
Q: (Marc Ellerich – Sport1)
Mr Schumacher, there are reports that maybe it's the last time that the Grand Prix will take place at the Nurburgring. What is your comment on that?
It would be a shame.
Q: (Adam Hay-Nicholls – Metro)
Adrian, I heard you went to the Nordschleife yesterday and had a small accident with a rather expensive car. Is that true?
It was on Tuesday, yes.
Q: (Adam Hay-Nicholls – Metro)
Can you tell us what happened?