Thursday March 1st, 2001
A relaxed Michael Schumacher predicted on Thursday his Ferrari team would retain their Formula One world title and could dominate the sport for the next decade.
"I think that's something we would like to achieve, to dominate Formula One, to make Ferrari successful for a decade if possible," Schumacher told a news conference on the eve of the first practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, the opening round of the championship.
"But it's going to be a very difficult because our competitors, in particular McLaren, are still very strong.
"That's what makes it so interesting."
Schumacher, who won nine races last year including the Australian Grand Prix, delivered Ferrari's first drivers' title for 21 years and led them to victory in the constructors' championship.
The 32-year-old German, who has now won the drivers' title three times, is brimming with confidence ahead of this year's championship.
"I am as motivated as ever," he said, adding that he felt his car was handling well.
"As in every year, you come to the first race and you feel like you would rather have another one or two weeks of testing to sort out every question mark.
"But the feedback I get from the car is very positive. How much that's worth, we'll find out this weekend."
Schumacher has enjoyed a relaxed build-up to Sunday's race, sightseeing with his wife and playing soccer with a local professional team.