BERLIN, Oct 18 (Reuters) Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher knows exactly what the pressure feels like before the deciding race of the season and is glad to be watching this year's gripping conclusion at home on television.
''The world championship finale in Brazil will be a great battle,'' Schumacher said in a statement ahead of Sunday's race where three drivers can win the championship -- Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso of McLaren or Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.
''I can well think back to the tension a weekend like this one means to the driver and to be honest, I'm quite happy to be watching the race from my sofa at home this time,'' the most successful Formula One driver said on his Web site (www.michael-schumacher.de).
''Not only as a fan but more so as a driver you dream of a big fight like this and it goes without saying, that I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Kimi and our team,'' said Schumacher, who retired after the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix but still works with Ferrari.
''I'm sure it's going to be a thrilling race -- just like the whole year has been, in my opinion, an extremely exciting championship.
''I was happy to see that no matter what happened we always remained competitive and consistent, despite all the changes within the team and the technical problems we were facing sometimes. The guys have done a great job.
''It's now been a full year since I drove my last race and, looking back on that final day in Interlagos, I've got some very good memories that have stayed with me.
''But all in all, my family and I feel wonderful with the life that we have nowadays.'' In 2003, Schumacher clinched the championship in the last race, getting the points he needed to fend off the challenge of Raikkonen, who was driving for McLaren.
However, he was also involved in two controversial season finales earlier in his career.
He won the 1994 title by a point after he collided with Briton Damon Hill and three years later at Jerez in Spain, Schumacher made a failed attempt to prevent Jacques Villeneuve taking the title by turning into him as the Canadian slipped past.
He was later stripped of his second place in the championship.
REUTERS BJR PM1630