Michael Schumacher says his motivation remains 'completely intact' heading into the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, despite the announcement last week that he is to leave Mercedes at the end of the year.
The seven-time champion is to be replaced by Lewis Hamilton for 2013, leading to questions about his future as he contemplates whether to retire for a second time or try and secure a deal elsewhere.
Despite the speculation however, Schumacher insisted he was still as motivated as ever to try and get a result on track, even if his chances at Suzuka have already been hit by the ten-place grid penalty he picked up for his clash with Jean-Eric Vergne in Singapore.
“My motivation is completely intact after the news last week, especially because Suzuka is one of the season's highlights for me. I enjoy the circuit - it has sections that challenge you as a driver like almost nowhere else. Then there are the fans: they love motor racing and it is fun to feel their passion. I'm also a big fan of Japanese food, so I'm always happy to travel to this race.
“Logically, it would also be nice to achieve a sporting highlight this weekend, although my chances are of course very limited because of my grid penalty. But I've always approached these things as a challenge.”
Should Schumacher elect to remain in F1 next season, his best option would appear to be with Sauber, who have expressed an interest even if a deal wouldn't be easy to put together.
"Of course it's nice to think of such a possibility, that we can ask ourselves if we can get a seven-time World Champion when he is on the market," chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn told Bild
"Michael has until now been with just big stables which we can't compare ourselves to."