Schumacher expects better car but plays down title bid

Record world champion Michael Schumacher expects to have a much better Mercedes for this year’s Formula One season but doesn’t see himself as a title contender.

“I don’t think we are there yet,” Schumacher told Monday’s edition of German paper Bild.

“At Mercedes we know quite well where we stand. However, we don’t know where the others stand.” Schumacher, 42, and fellow-German team-mate Nico Rosberg will start pre-season testing in Valencia, Spain, on Tuesday after the new car’s presentation earlier in the day.

“I have a very good feeling. In 2010 I realized pretty soon after winter testing that I won’t be able to challenge many drivers. Now I hope to have a car to drive at the top,” he said.

Schumacher, who came out of retirement last year but failed to finish high up in the rankings, said he was not fully surprised that Ferrari star Fernando Alonso has named him a serious title rival.

“Fernando will be well aware that things are getting better with us. It is quite realistic that he added Mercedes to the list (of title contenders),” said Schumacher.

Mercedes said that Rosberg will get the first laps in the new MP2 W02 car but Schumacher can also hardly wait to get going.

“I am getting more and more restless. I feel like a child before opening the Christmas presents,” Schumacher told Bild.

Schumacher has a contract at Mercedes 2012 and suggested that the team should make an attempt to hire the reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, also of Germany, as his successor.

“It is no secret that Sebastian comes to see us quite regularly.

We party together, have dinner. There is a long-standing friendship between him, me, us, Norbert (Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug).

“In theory it would be absolutely unwise if Mercedes wouldn’t attempt to find out whether Sebastian wants to drive for us. My future is quite predictable. However, this is purely theoretical,” said Schumacher. Vettel became the youngest world champion in the sport at age 23 last year when he won the title for Red Bull. Vettel has named Mercedes and Ferrari “a myth” and said that every driver wants to be at such a team. However, he also said he was happy at Red Bull because they provide him with the fastest car.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 3:31:16 PM |

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