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Alonso motivated by Schumacher's return

ESPNF1 Staff
January 14, 2010 « Heidfeld's Mercedes chances suffer blow | »
Fernando Alonso has been at Ferrari's media event all week © Getty Images

Fernando Alonso has said the return of Michael Schumacher has given him renewed motivation ahead of his debut season with Ferrari.

While at Renault Alonso beat Schumacher and Ferrari during a close fight to the 2006 title, the last championship the German competed in. Now that his old competitor is back with Mercedes, Alonso is keen to rekindle their rivalry.

"When he wasn't here, of course there was that lack of motivation," he said at Ferrari's media event 'Wroom'. "Now there's motivation for me to win at Ferrari and feel as he did here. Michael and I were rivals over the last two years [before Schumacher retired]. There was intense rivalry going into the last race of 2006 in Brazil."

However, he admitted that he would struggle to match the records set by Schumacher at Ferrari, as F1 teams are much more closely matched now than they were in the early 2000s.

"You always want to win but it will also be almost impossible to repeat seven world championships," Alonso said. "The rules are very strict, the competition is very close so it will be difficult to repeat. In future years with Ferrari I would like as much success as possible to end my career on a high. Coming to Ferrari is the best any driver can do in their career."

Alonso will also face intense competition from his team-mate Felipe Massa next year. In 2007 the pair had a very public argument at the European Grand Prix, after they banged wheels while racing for the lead. Massa also caused controversy at last year's Brazilian Grand Prix when he told journalists that he thought Alonso knew about the Crashgate scandal in advance. However, Alonso has now said he does not hold a grudge and expects to be on an equal footing with Massa at Ferrari.

"We were competitive people in 2007 but we have a good relationship and this is the past," Alonso added. "I never ask to be the number one driver in any team but I do not want to be the number two. I'm not saying I want any preference but what I do is work 110% with the team so if the team is not working 110 %, it's not right."