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Schumacher ready for another title

24 January 2004

MARANELLO – World champion Michael Schumacher on Monday unveiled the 2004 model of his Ferrari Formula One car and said he was ready to bid for another title.

“I am ready. We are all ready for the new challenge in the new year,” said Schumacher, who unveiled the car with team-mate Rubens Barrichello and team officials at the Ferrari headquarters.

The new model, which is the 50th car built by Ferrari to compete in F1, has no revolutionary changes, but is rather an improved version of the 2003 car which helped Schumacher to a fourth straight and record sixth overall world title.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said he believed it won’t be easy for the team to register a sixth successive constructors’ championship.

“This year won’t be easy. We’ve got the biggest car manufacturers in the world as our competition,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ferrari technical director, Ross Brawn, admitted the Italian marque had not taken full opportunity of the Formula One rule changes in 2003 but that “we will not make the same mistake” in 2004.

“This car represents another significant step in performance and I am proud to say that this is the best Ferrari we have produced so far.”

Brawn also made special mention of tyre supplier Bridgestone, saying Ferrari’s title challenge in 2004 would “succeed or fail on the strength of our tyres”.

“We have built a strong technical and human partnership and both partners must share the responsibility of producing the most competitive tyres,” he said.

“We will succeed together and we will fail together. And if we fail, then we will need to work harder and work smarter.”

Ferrari chief designer Rory Byrne said that although the fundamental design philosophy of the new F2004 was the same as its predecessors, “every area of the car has been revised in order to make a further step forward on performance, so almost every component has been redesigned”.

In recent seasons, Ferrari have started with the previous year’s car but it is hoped the F2004 will be on the starting grid when the 2004 season starts on 7 March in Australia.

Schumacher doesn’t seem worried either way. “I think we’re well within our timeframe. I’m not worried,” said the driving legend.

Subject: German news