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Fittipaldi backs Schumacher to shine in 2011

ESPNF1 Staff
November 23, 2010 « France lacks will to stage grand prix - Prost | »
Emerson Fittipaldi: 'Schumacher will be a huge contender for the world championship' © Sutton Images

Former world champion Emerson Fittipaldi said he believes Michael Schumacher will be a force to be reckoned with in 2011.

"I had lunch with Ross Brawn [the Mercedes team boss] recently and I think the new car will be much more suited to Michael's driving, oversteering into corners," he told the Times. "The new tyres mean Michael can also develop them to his style and, with a better-balanced car and his incredible belief, he will be a huge contender for the world championship. He can do it.

"He has all of his old ability. In his last race he was there. Every mile you drive in a racing car you learn. Next year he will deliver. When I saw Brawn, his mind was already on 2011. If you're fit physically, you can race on, because you don't lose anything mentally."

And Fittpaldi had a warning for Sebastian Vettel - retaining his F1 crown would be even harder than winning it this season. "The pressure to repeat is huge and, if he takes that pressure and lets it become a negative, it will be very destructive. The first time I realised I was champion was when I read it in a newspaper. It's probably the same for Vettel.

"The problem for him is nothing beats the first time. That and I think [Fernando] Alonso is the most complete driver."