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Japanese GP: Schumacher motivated as ever and eyes ‘sporting highlight’ at Suzuka


By Berthold Bouman

Despite being ousted by his Mercedes team, Michael Schumacher is still motivated, the German said ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. “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.”

Rosberg was fifth in Singapore

The seven-times World Champion likes the 5.807km long Suzuka circuit, and also loves the very dedicated Japanese 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.”

It hasn’t been an easy season for Schumacher, he retired from seven races, but finally stood on the third step of the podium at Valencia, and the German driver still has six races to realise his dream: a win to conclude his three-year stint at Mercedes after he returned to Grand Prix racing in 2010.

“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,” said Schumacher.

Nico Rosberg, who gave Mercedes their sole victory as he won this year’s Chinese Grand Prix, is also upbeat ahead of the race. “The last race in Singapore was my best result for a little while and I hope this is the start of an upward trend for me and the team,” he said.

Mercedes have a number of car updates and Rosberg can’t wait to get back in the cockpit, “I’m looking forward to getting to Japan this week and getting on with the work to get the most out of our new aerodynamic package and upgrades. Suzuka is a very exciting track which is popular with every driver for the interesting corner combinations and unique layout.”

Team Principal Ross Brawn is still pushing to make the car faster and wants to get on with his job after last week’s events. “For the team, we are looking forward to having more time to continue the ongoing work to optimise our new developments, and will be working hard to have a good weekend,” said the Briton.

Mercedes are currently fifth in the Constructors’ Championship with 136 points, but the number six, the Swiss Sauber outfit, is only 35 points behind them and Mercedes need to raise their game to stay in fifth place. Rosberg is seventh and Schumacher is 12th in the Drivers’ Championship, Rosberg is theoretically still in the running for the 2012 title as there are still 150 points to be earned during the last six races of the season.

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