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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 October 2006, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Schumacher concedes title hopes
Michael Schumacher
Schumacher could only watch on as rival Alonso sped to victory
Michael Schumacher said the title race was over after an engine failure on his Ferrari gifted rival Fernando Alonso victory in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Even if Schumacher wins the last race in Brazil, Alonso needs only a point for eighth place to retain his crown.

"The drivers' title for me is finished, but we go to Brazil to win the constructors'," said Schumacher, whose team are nine points behind Renault.

"That's F1. I'm not very disappointed. Life and racing are like this."

Schumacher had looked on track to strengthen his position at the top of the drivers' standings when he was leading the race with 17 laps to go.

But a blown engine - the first the German has suffered in a race since the 2000 French Grand Prix - handed Alonso his seventh victory of the season.

We've improved so much in the last few months - that's why there's no reason for me to cry any bitter tears

Michael Schumacher
Schumacher, who retires from the sport at the end of the season, said: "The drivers' championship is over because I don't want to go to Brazil hoping someone else retires, that's not the way I want to win a championship.

"We all know Fernando only needs one point and we all know what a good driver he is, so that should be no problem for him.

"I don't think it's a nice thing to hope for a retirement. We are going to Brazil now and we will give all we can, but more towards the constructors' championship and then we will see what comes out of this."

Schumacher saw his title hopes all but evaporate on the 37th lap.

After pulling out of the pits following a routine tyre change and refuelling stop, Schumacher was forced to pull off the track with smoke pouring from the back of his Ferrari, and Alonso roared past.

"There was no engine any more and everything was clouded in smoke," said Schumacher of the moment his championship hopes all but disappeared.

Schumacher fans react to Schumacher's engine failure
German fans watched in horror as their idol slipped out of contention
"You know it's a retirement, you lose 10 points and you know exactly what has happened.

"For me, it was clear from the very first moment that the championship was decided by this."

Schumacher said his disappointment was tempered by the way Ferrari had fought back from a 25-point deficit to Alonso after June's Canadian Grand Prix.

"Just because it didn't work out here doesn't mean it is the end of the world," Schumacher said.

"We brought back to life a championship that had already seemed to be decided - we've improved so much in the last few months.

"That's why there's no reason for me to cry any bitter tears. Rather, I feel only joy because until the engine went we were clearly in front.

It can still be done in Brazil - it's a long shot, but it can still be done

Ross Brawn
Ferrari technical director
"That's why I'm very content. That's life. It has its ups and downs. That's what makes life so interesting."

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn said the team were not certain what caused the engine failure and claimed it was not the only mishap to befall the team.

"Obviously, we're very disappointed," he said. "It was a much tougher race than perhaps we expected but Michael still had the situation under control.

"We had to anticipate Felipe Massa's [first] pit stop because of a puncture, so his race got compromised, so things didn't quite work out."

On Schumacher's title hopes, Brawn remained upbeat, saying: "It can still be done in Brazil - it's a long shot, but it can still be done."



SEE ALSO
Alonso relishes long-awaited win
08 Oct 06 |  Formula One
Win puts Alonso on brink of title
08 Oct 06 |  Formula One
Japanese GP as it happened
08 Oct 06 |  Formula One
Ferrari duo leave Alonso trailing
07 Oct 06 |  Formula One
Japanese Grand Prix photos
07 Oct 06 |  Photo Galleries
Alonso hopeful of Renault revival
07 Oct 06 |  Formula One


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