Schumacher is ready to race in US

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The Independent Online

Michael Schumacher insisted yesterday that he never planned on pulling out of this weekend's United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis because of safety fears following the US terrorist atrocities.

Schumacher might have risked losing his world title if he had withdrawn and attempted to organise a boycott by his fellow drivers having been given the option not to race by his Ferrari team. But the German arrived here yesterday promising to give his "moral support" to the American people in the wake of the attacks on New York and Washington.

"I never had any doubt about driving in the US and starting in Indianapolis," said Schumacher, who never publicly said he did not want to race on Sunday, though sources close to the four-time champion confirmed he did have serious misgivings. "But of course, like anybody else, I wanted to wait and see if something might happen following the attacks in the US. But, as I said, in principle, I always wanted to go there and race.

"I think I may speak on behalf of all the drivers when I say that we all are extremely shocked by the terror. And we all want to give our sincerest and deepest sympathy to all the families of the victims."

Organisers for Sunday's race have promised heightened security to ensure the safety of the drivers and spectators. All coolers, backpacks and handbags will be subject to inspection at the entrance gates while extra uniformed officers have also been brought in.