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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report


I won't miss Schumacher, says Alonso

Alan Baldwin | March 15, 2007 13:06 IST

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Michael Schumacher will be absent from Formula One's season-opening race for the first time since 1991 on Sunday but double world champion Fernando Alonso could not care less.

"I will not miss him," the McLaren driver told a news conference at the Australian Grand Prix on Thursday when asked about Ferrari's now retired seven times world champion, his great rival last year.

He had nothing more to add.

Schumacher will not be travelling to Australia, the news confirmed to reporters by his younger brother Ralf who spoke to him on Wednesday night.

Winner of the title for the past two seasons with Renault, and now the only active champion, Alonso has a new challenge with a team that last year failed to win a race for the first time in a decade.

"I think I am in a better position than the Renault team and I'm happy," he had told reporters at an earlier McLaren media event.

"It is a little bit easier to be honest, to approach the races winning (the title) two times," added the 25-year-old.

"I know how to approach races, how to prepare mentally and physically.

"I think a completely new challenge brings new motivation with a new team so we will to try and repeat the success."

Alonso won in Melbourne last year, when the race was the third round of the championship, and has always gone well at the circuit. But he still remained wary of talking up his prospects.

FERRARI QUICK

Even if McLaren have been impressive in pre-season testing, Ferrari have also looked extremely quick over the long distances.

"You never know what is going to happen in the first race. The first race is quite different, quite surprising for everybody," Alonso said. "So to see the real potential of the car we need to wait maybe three or four races.

"Winter testing is difficult to read. We have to be honest and realistic and see that the Ferrari has been really strong. So we'll see," he added.

"We are very confident and we improved the car from the last test before Melbourne. So we should be very competitive as well."

Alonso's British team mate Lewis Hamilton, 22, makes his Formula One debut in Melbourne and the Spaniard recalled his own initiation to the sport at the same circuit as a teenager with tail-enders Minardi in 2001.

"I remember that was the first time I sat in the car. With the Minardi that year we had no winter testing because the car was not made," he said.

"So the first time I sat in the car was here in Melbourne and I remember the pit lane, I didn't know all the buttons and the switches on the steering wheel and it was a little bit of a mess."

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