F1: Schumacher insists he still has the drive despite doubts over future
MICHAEL Schumacher insists his "motivation is completely intact" ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix despite the prospect of being without a drive next season.
It was announced last week that the 43-year-old will be replaced at Mercedes by Lewis Hamilton for 2013 after the Briton opted to end his 14-year association with McLaren.
For Schumacher, six years after retiring first time around, the exit is looming again, although there are rumours he could yet replace Sergio Perez at Sauber after the Mexican's switch to McLaren, while an 'upstairs' role at Mercedes is also a possibility.
Despite all the uncertainty, Schumacher insists his immediate focus is on the race at Suzuka.
He said: "My motivation is completely intact after the news last week, especially because Suzuka is one of the season's highlights for me.
"I enjoy the circuit - it has sections that challenge you as a driver like almost nowhere else.
"Then there are the fans: they love motor racing and it is fun to feel their passion.
"Logically, it would also be nice to achieve a sporting highlight this weekend, although my chances are of course very limited because of my grid penalty. But I've always approached these things as a challenge."