Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ferrari out to beat Michael Schumacher and Mercedes

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali
Domenicali (right) is using Schumacher's return as extra motivation at Ferrari

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali says Michael Schumacher's return to Formula 1 has fired up the Italian outfit and new recruit Fernando Alonso.

Schumacher, who won five world titles with Ferrari, is returning in 2010 with Mercedes, who won both titles in 2009 under their former guise, Brawn.

But Domencali insists Ferrari have him in their sights, saying: "Michael's return is inner motivation to our team.

"Fernando is the only driver to defeat Michael and he wants to win."

Schumacher's renewed rivalry with Alonso, who beat him to the 2005 and 2006 championships when driving for Renault, is one of the most anticipated match-ups of the new season, alongside 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton's first competitive meeting with Schumacher.

Relationships between the seven-time world champion and Alonso soured during their championship battle in 2006.

One flashpoint was when Schumacher deliberately crashed his car at slow speed to stop the Spaniard snatching pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Schumacher has never admitted to deliberately blocking the track but he was found guilty by race stewards and put to the back of the grid.

It was Alonso's turn to be furious at the Italian Grand Prix later that year when he was demoted five places for allegedly holding up Schumacher's team-mate Felipe Massa in qualifying.

Alonso has now arrived at Ferrari as Massa's team-mate for 2010 and he donned the famous red kit for the first time this week at the team's annual winter sport's event at Italian ski resort Madonna di Campiglio.

Domenicali is relishing the battles ahead between his new Ferrari line-up and former employee Schumacher.

"Michael's return is further stimulus within our set-up," Domenicali added. "It has also triggered new interest and that is good for racing.

"We have two Latin drivers and it's a gush of fresh air which brings a sparkling, new environment. This will stimulate team work and has a positive impact on the group."

More to follow.

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