I am committed to Formula 1, says Michael Schumacher

By Lee McKenzie & Andrew BensonBBC Sport at the Circuit de Catalunya

Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher has moved to end speculation about his future by insisting he is committed to his comeback in Formula 1.

His comment that he was getting "no big joy" after a disappointing Turkish Grand Prix led to reports he could quit at the end of the year.

But the German told BBC Sport: "I am not concerned. I am pretty relaxed.

"I know the headlines and stories that have been made up. I'm just focused on getting closer to where we want to be."

Although his initial remark was made in response to a general question about his feelings about his performances, he insisted at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend that he was referring specifically to his display in Istanbul.

"It was definitely meant to be [about] the part that that I could have been fifth to sixth [in the race] but I was 12th, so I was disappointed," he said.

"That was the bit I didn't enjoy. All the rest, it was a good weekend, apart from final qualifying."

Schumacher, who was 42 in January, returned to F1 at the start of last season with the Mercedes team, after the German car giant took over the Brawn outfit that won the drivers' and constructors' championships in 2009.

But his return has been a disappointment. He has consistently been outpaced by team-mate Nico Rosberg and this season has scored only six points compared to his compatriot's 20. Rosberg has out-qualified Schumacher at every race so far in 2011.

In Turkey, Rosberg was more than second faster in qualifying after Schumacher made a mistake in the first corner of his qualifying lap and never recovered.

Asked why Rosberg had an edge, Schumacher replied: "I don't think he has."

Pressed on the issue, he added: "It was only [in] Turkey the car was working normally, the other three we had other issues [with the car] that didn't show up what could have been possible."

Schumacher said he "didn't read" the media reports about his future.

He said that was "not to disrespect anybody but I just go my own way and path and part of that is not looking into it too much and just focusing on the reality and the reality is we are developing with the car and we are getting closer to where we want to be, and I'm sure soon we will be on the podium".

He added: "I see it partly as a compliment that people pay so much interest in how my performances are going and I have no doubt things will come to a normal stage.

"I have made a lot of media quite happy with my return, and I make a lot of media happy if I do a race like in Istanbul. I want to be where I am [in F1]."

Schumacher did admit, however, that he was no longer as fast as he was in his first career, when he won a record seven world titles and 91 grands prix.

"I am pretty sure I explore my absolute max potential, maybe even better because I have more experience," he said.

"Am I as good as was at 25? I don't think so. I cannot be as good. But I can be maybe better in other areas and is the compromise as good as what I used to be, who knows? We'll find out, I'll tell you later."