Schumacher confident ahead of new season

Michael Schumacher insists Ferrari are better placed to win back their world championships than they were to defend them 12 months ago.

The German has been testing in Bahrain since last week and despite reliability problems on the new Ferrari, he left Sakhir in positive mood.

Ferrari have worked hard over the winter to avenge their embarrassment of last season, when a five-year run of world title doubles was surrendered meekly.

Schumacher is confident of an improvement, telling his personal website, www.michael-schumacher.de: "Our lap-times were really encouraging, especially yesterday and the day before. And we’ll have time at Mugello to take care of the rest.

“When we come back here for the race in just about two weeks, we should know all the basics there are to know about choice of tyres, set-up and about the new engine.

“That’s not bad, although it shouldn’t be over-rated, either. It looks as though we’ve got a better package this year than we did last year and we’re all ready to compete.”

The 37-year-old also took Ferrari’s reliability troubles in his stride, claiming some problems were expected with the new car.

He added: “Our extensive testing here at the track of Bahrain will surely not be a disadvantage.

“Of course the tests did not run 100% smoothly, but that’s what most teams are dealing with, and that’s to be expected at this time of year.

“The important thing was that we always knew why we had to interrupt testing.”

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