Schumacher now expects to fight for the title

Michael Schumacher believes that he will be able to fight for this year’s world championship, after declaring himself happy with the progress that Mercedes has made with the new W01.

However, the seven-times champion does admit that it is impossible to compare the competitiveness with the new Mercedes with last season’s all-conquering Brawn GP 001.

“I am fully convinced that we have a car that is able to fight for the championship,” Schumacher told the official Formula 1 website.

“Where we are exactly is hard to say. This is especially true for me as I don’t have the data from last year’s car.”

Schumacher says he is motivated as ever, ahead of his first season since his retirement, three years ago.

“To drive a car like this again, it was just that great old feeling I know so well,” he said. “Nothing comes close. I love that sensation, I always did. It was just that my batteries were empty at the end of 2006 that I retired.

“I would not have wanted to go on. Now my batteries are fully loaded again!”

Additionally, the 41-year-old expects no problems in the relationship with his team-mate, Nico Rosberg.

“Unfortunately I cannot look into the future. But I do not expect anything else but for it to be fine. At the moment it is very constructive and I don’t expect that to change.

“For once it is quite a good feeling to be able to communicate in my mother tongue, and at the moment we are ‘neighbours’ as our motor homes are right beside each other here in the paddock.”