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Schumacher raring to go racing
March 09, 2006 17:47 IST
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher feels far more confident about the new Formula One season than he did last year and can hardly wait for Sunday's opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
"At last it's time, finally the season is getting underway," the seven times world champion said on his website.
"I've hardly ever been raring to go into a season like I am this time.
"We feel that we are well prepared and want to make a good impression in the first race. We know the circuit well after having tested there extensively in February," added the German.
"To be honest, I felt much less confident last year before the race at Bahrain than I'm feeling this year, even though it was the third race then and this time it's the first."
The 37-year-old had a nightmare last year, even though he finished the season third overall, when Renault's Fernando Alonso ended his five-year reign as champion.
Schumacher, winner of 13 races in 2004, won only once in 2005 and that was a US race with just six cars after all the Michelin-equipped teams pulled out for tyre safety reasons.
He failed to finish in Bahrain, retiring with hydraulic problems after Ferrari rushed their new car into service two races ahead of schedule after realising they were uncompetitive.
"Last year, we didn't know for a long time if we would manage to get the new car ready in time," Schumacher recalled.
"I think we will be more competitive this year. The only long-term question is how much progress we will be able to make over the course of the season, this is a very important factor.
"But Ferrari has always been very strong with regard to that, and we have a good idea of what to expect this time...we are looking forward to a tough challenge."
Formula One: The Complete Coverage