SHANGHAI, April 15 – 'Comeback kid' Michael Schumacher arrived in Shanghai Thursday full of confidence he can win this year's drivers' world title even after making little impact in the first three races.The seven-times champion, now 41, is still hunting his first win this season and the 92nd of his career after returning to Formula One with the new Mercedes team.
Schumacher hopes his luck will change in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, but knows that so far his Mercedes car has not been a match for the speed of the Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren teams.
But if it does not, he expects the Mercedes outfit run by his long-time technical boss Ross Brawn to deliver the development required to put him back in the running.
"We have a lot of new things for the car for the next race, in Barcelona, and I believe that can help keep us there."
He said also that he agreed with two-times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso’s assessment that it was far too early to write off the German as a title contender.
"If you take the points system, you see that Fernando, he had a retirement in Malaysia and for whatever reason it can happen to all of us. I had mine in Malaysia, too, and at one point of the season it will hit the guys fighting for the championship.
"So if we have a quick enough development speed, there is no reason why we cannot fight for the championship too. It is such a long season ahead of us, it is so early, and we know how quick the rate of development is.
"There is good potential to develop this car and so no reason to think this season is over for Nico [Rosberg] or myself."
He said he was not disappointed by his results, despite failing to match the high expectations placed on him pre-season. So far, in three outings, his best result has been sixth in Bahrain.
"In terms of results, they were not as great as some people expected and even myself I would have loved to have better results, but the competition is high," he said.
"It is natural to not have the same positive feedback in the media, but I know what I have been doing, I know what has been going on and I have no reason to be disappointed."
Earlier, Alonso had said he retained the same respect for Schumacher that he had always felt.
"He is still the Michael Schumacher that we know. I respect him in the same way I did three years ago and am sure that he will show his true qualities when the car is better." the Spaniard said.
"I really believe Michael will be a serious competitor for the title this year."
Alonso was less impressed with the weather in Shanghai. "It certainly doesn’t feel like spring," he said as temperatures hovered around nine or ten degrees Celsius. "The weather should be better for the race weekend but we’ll need to be ready for anything."