Seven-times world Formula One champion Michael Schumacher has risked upsetting fans in his native Germany by insisting “Switzerland is the only home I have”.
The 42-year-old has lived in across the border from his birthplace in the Alpine country for the last 15 years and has settled with wife Corinna and his two children on the shores of Lake Geneva.
“The fact that Switzerland is clearly the only home I have is probably because I left home when I was very young and have spent a lot of my life abroad,” Schumacher told Swiss newspaper the Neue Zuercher Zeitung.
“Home is where we feel happy – and that’s just on Lake Geneva.”
Schumacher’s comments did not go down well in Germany with daily newspaper Bild asking a direct question in the headline: “Schumi, what should we take this to mean?”
Germany’s current world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull also lives in Switzerland and he partied in his home town of Heppenheim, near Frankfurt, last month after winning the 2011 Formula One title.
Schumacher, who won the last of his seven world titles in 2004, spends around 20 days a year in Germany, according to his manager, and owns a go-kart centre in Kerpen, while co-owning another in Mannheim.
But Schumacher insisted he is a proud German when Bild asked if has any plans to change his citizenship in the future.
“Rubbish! Of course I’m German, I have a German passport, and I look forward to it every time I come to Germany,” he said.
Schumacher is currently eighth in the drivers’ table with 70 points, 304 behind Vettel, who has 11 victories from 17 races so far this season with the Abu Dhabi and Brazilian Grand Prix races to take place later this month.