Michael Schumacher is excited ahead of the 2012 Formula One season
The seven-time world champion was speaking as Mercedes unveiled their new car
The German claims he is still hungry for on-track success despite being 43 years old
The 2012 season starts with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 18
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is a veteran of nearly 300 Formula One races, but he still felt a rush of excitement on Tuesday as Mercedes unveiled their car for the 2012 season.
The motorsport legend was joined by fellow German Nico Rosberg and team principal Ross Brawn as Mercedes showed off the new F1 W03 at a preseason test event in Barcelona, Spain.
The 43-year-old, who has won more drivers’ titles than anyone else in history, is enjoying a second spell in the sport after initially retiring in 2006 – only to return again in 2010.
Despite being unable to replicate the form he showed prior to his first retirement, Schumacher said he is still hungry for success as he prepares for a 19th season in the elite division of motorsport.
“I have done quite a few roll-outs and launches of new cars, but even after all these years I must say it still feels special,” Schumacher, who won two championships with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 and five with Ferrari between 2000 and 2004, told the sport’s official website.
“Days like this are precious moments, as they are always filled with hope and anticipation.”
Schumacher, who has started 287 grands prix since making his debut in 1991, has failed to finish on the podium since returning to the grid and only registered one top-four finish last year, at June’s rain-affected Canadian Grand Prix.
Despite disappointing results, he vowed to fight for the hardworking staff at the team’s British factories.
“I can say already that the guys and girls back in the factories at Brackley and Brixworth were brilliant in putting in so much effort, and we can only say a big thank you them,” he said.
“I know which reward they would like, and we will definitely try to deliver it. For my part, I am eager to fight again, looking forward to the new season, and I can’t wait for it to begin.”
Rosberg was the first driver to get behind the wheel of the F1 W03 at Silverstone last week. The former Williams pilot was looking forward to learning more about the new car ahead of the season getting under way in Australia next month.
“We have had a good start to our 2012 testing program, and it was a great feeling to drive the first laps in the new F1 W03,” the 26-year-old said. “The car looks good, and is very nicely packaged under the bodywork.
“All the parts are in harmony, which reflects how well the different departments of our team are working together. From the beginning of our running, we have been able to focus on understanding the car and making good progress with our test program.
“It will be very interesting to learn more about where we stand in the next few weeks.”