Germany’s Michael Schumacher got in the mood for Magny Cours at the weekend by watching his countrymen triumph in the ‘bronze medal’ World Cup football game in Stuttgart.
A day later, the sport’s 75-year-old supremo Bernie Ecclestone was then among the thousands in Berlin who watched Italy triumph over France in the dramatic final.
”It was an unbelievable atmosphere,” said the Ferrari driver, who originally had tickets for the final but eventually watched Italy defeat France at home on TV.
But of Sunday evening’s match in Berlin, he added: ”I am happy for the (Italian) squad, but even happier for our (Ferrari) team.”
In France this weekend, the Italy-France battle will resume; and Schumacher is still hoping that Italy (Ferrari) triumphs despite Renault’s celebration of 100-years of grand prix racing.
Last Friday, Schumacher ended the Jerez test with an unofficial lap record.
”We are going to try everything to close this gap,” said the German, who is 19 points behind Fernando Alonso after winning at Indy.
”Indianapolis was extremely encouraging,” he admitted, ”but we shouldn’t overestimate it either — I don’t think it properly represents the balance of power.
”I am sure that things will not always run so smoothly, but I am convinced that we still have a chance to win the world championship.
”We will fight right until the finish and never give up.”
Renault’s Alonso, meanwhile, has reason to be confident heading to the rural setting of Magny Cours — he won last year.
”You have to look at the big picture for the championship,” said the Spaniard, who was trounced at Indy a week ago.
But he explained: ”I was first or second at nine of the ten races (so far) -– and in the next eight races, I think we will be able to keep on winning and increase the lead even more.”