Belfast Telegraph

Formula One: I’ll fight for title, says Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher has no doubts his second season with Mercedes will be a success, even if it fails to yield the eighth Formula One world title he desperately craves.

After a bitterly disappointing comeback year spent fighting for scraps last season, there is a buoyancy in Schumacher's tone ahead of the new campaign that begins in Australia on Sunday that suggests something different is on the cards for 2011.

A radical upgrade of the car on the penultimate day of testing in Barcelona a fortnight ago has dramatically altered the perspective of the 42-year-old.

Schumacher is still keen to temper talk of victories, but there is no doubt the seven-times champion believes Mercedes are far closer to their rivals than was previously the case.

For the first time since his first full season in F1 in 1992, Schumacher failed to stand on the podium last year, a statistic he is convinced will not be repeated this term. “I expressed myself last year very clearly and it hasn't changed,” said Schumacher.

“The most important thing is to fight for the championship at the time we are ready for it.

“To be on the podium would be great, but does it really change anything? No. What does change is if we can achieve our target of winning a championship. That is what I am here for and what we are fighting really hard for.

“Are we ready right now? No. Can we win a race? Maybe. Would it satisfy me? Absolutely, I would be thrilled about this, no doubt, because it is all about winning at the end of the day.”

Schumacher believes champions Red Bull Racing are again the frontrunners.

“Red Bull Racing are most likely the team to beat.” he said.

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