Six-time world champion Michael Schumacher has insisted that his recent knee injury will not hamper his assault on an unprecedented seventh title in 2004.
The German star hurt his knee playing football for his local team near his home in Switzerland and he had to cancel a planned training session with English soccer giants Manchester United as a result.
But Schumacher is adamant that he will be fit and ready for the new season which starts in Melbourne on March 7.
"I have been asked lots of questions about the state of my knee - about which there have been some bad rumours circulating," he said.
"In truth, it was only a minor problem, even if problem is too big a word. Obviously I'll have to be careful and rest for a while before playing football again.
"I wanted to train with the Manchester United lads but I like playing in a trouble-free state of mind and right now I have to be careful."
The Ferrari ace said that missing the training session, which had been organised by Vodaphone who sponsor the Formula One giants as well as the Old Trafford team, could have a positive side.
"I am enjoying the fact that I have free time," Schumacher told the official Ferrari website.
"It is good to recharge the batteries so that I am rested for the new Formula One season.
"So I will be doing what I have done in the past - not taking part in the winter tests. I would like to take part but I am sure that when January comes round and I get into the cockpit again, I will be raring to go."