Following the sensational announcement that Michael Schumacher will race for Mercedes F1 next season, he took time to explain his decision to end his three-year retirement.
Here's the interview in full:
What has motivated you to come back?
The motivation I think is pretty straightforward - the call I got from Ross [Brawn] at the end of November concerning the chance in my hand to go racing. Having this phone call from him, and the circumstances of Mercedes-Benz being involved as the owner, I felt great.
I never left the race track. I was tired of F1 by the end of 2006...but after three years of absence I have been getting back all the energy that I am feeling right now. I played around with motorbikes, and I feel ready for some serious stuff now.
What is the situation with your neck?
It is obviously a topic where I understand the question, and I want to understand myself. Before I gave the final okay, I made sure that I worked it out myself to be sure myself. And I can say 100 percent that the neck is no further an issue.
Unfortunately it was too close to the accident in the summer when I tried for Ferrari, but time now is enough for it have healed completely. And everything I've done, I can do. I have used machines that I used to use with no problem.
Do you feel that you have the same speed as before, and that single-minded purpose to race wheel-to-wheel with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
I am absolutely confident on this one...when I got into a kart for the first time after my [motorcycle] crash I was straight away on the pace. I have to prove it in real terms, but going wheel-to-wheel with these guys will be thrilling and exciting. It is something I look for - and the great thing is to get support from the outside. They have no doubt about my ability.