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Formula 1

Secret Diary of Michael Schumacher: Part 5

September 2002

Part Funf: 'Killing insects with a very large bat...?'

A very sorry thing I am having to relate to you is that Germany lost the World Cup final. Our players are possessing the ball for a lot of the match but in the end not striking home any of our advantage. Obviously I am upset about this so it does not help when I see Rubens at Silverstone with a T-shirt that reads 2-0.

It also upset me that Ralf was not so worried by our national humiliation. "So what," he said, with the kind of shrug that makes me so many times furious, "we lost. Were you expecting us to win or something?" He has been like this ever since we were at Kerpen Juniors and the only position he could play was goalkeeper.

Juan-Pablo was also making a sly dig at me. He said, "You should have rung up the Brazilian coach and got them to move over."

I smiled back patiently because I am determined our new relationship will be good. I will not eat his bait. As I remember the last time Colombia were in the World Cup the guy who scored an own goal was shot when he got home. That would not happen in Germany.

And talking of Ralf, that woman he is married to is with him at the British Grand Prix and causing him a distraction. When you are about to start a race you need focus, you don't need a crow in a dress arguing with you. If she is like this in public what happens when someone closes the doors? I feel utterly powerless to do anything though. Saying something to Ralf will not help.

My weekend at Silverstone did not get off to the best starts when I spun the car before the Bridge corner and lost my engine. A very nice marshal lent me his chair so that I could sit by the barrier and when it began to rain he gave me his umbrella also, which was a nice gesture. Some people make out that I do not like my British tifosis but this is not the case. Now I am not fighting with DC or Damon Hill we are having a picnic together.

Before the weekend Damon is saying to newspapers that I am going to retire this year. And this is giving me much quiet laughter. Damon is as good at predicting the future as he was at racing a Formula 1 car. You know every time I see his photo I am getting confused. Just after he retired his hair was so grey. Now all of a sudden it is not quite so grey. Perhaps he is taking my advice and using L'Oreal.

After qualifying I was introduced to the cricket sport. Our sponsor Vodafone had invited along Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Flintoff who are playing the cricket for England and also Sachin Tendulkar who is a big superstar in India. When they tried to explain who he was, I was already five steps ahead of the game. We are both in the top 10 of the World's Highest Earning Sportstars of which - very I modestly I have to say - I am leading.

When I am seeing his name in the past I decided to find out what the cricket is. I have to tell you it is a bit crazy. It is a sport played with an insect like a grasshopper that produces a chirping sound by rubbing its legs together. Sachin and Marcus tried to explain the rules of cricket to me, but it sounds too complicated. I am not surprised they are taking five days to play it and there is never a result at the end.

It was good to win the race at Silverstone. Ross begged me not to jump on him after the race was won, but he should have known better. "Do any more of that and we'll have to start ice dancing together," he told me - confusingly. "Seriously, Michael, my back can't stand too much of that in the future."

I said that maybe if he could fly up to Switzerland, we could train together for a few hours every week. He said, "Yes..." but I think the way he said it that he meant no.

My target of a 70% funnier Michael Schumacher by the end of the 2002 season also took a leap forward at Silverstone. I have to confess I was given this joke by Nigel Mansell, but Nigel paid me the good compliment by explaining that it would be funnier if I said it than if he did.

I was speaking to some guests from Shell in the Ferrari motorhome when I decided to seize my right opportunity. "I have a joke for you," I said, remembering not to smile beforehand. This is not correct for effective joke delivery. I looked round at the curious faces. Clearly they were not expecting a joke from the World Champion.

"Why do F1 drivers have the biggest balls?" I asked them. It all went very quiet.

I waited to give them the killer, punching line. "Because they are selling the most tickets." And do you know what, I have never seen people drop food as a result of a joke I am telling. I will have to thank Nigel and ask him for more comedy before Magny Cours.

<< Part 4  |  Secret Diary of Michael Schumacher  |  Part 6 >>

Disclaimer: I am not the author, but have archived these entries for posterity as I felt that they were so well written by "Michael Schumacher" for Planet-F1 (who have removed almost all of the originals from their website).