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Schumacher's two-year plan

ESPNF1 Staff
January 28, 2011 « Ecclestone rises to Melbourne Grand Prix challenge | »
'When does it ever happen that you come back straightaway from this level to win in just one year?' © Sutton Images

Michael Schumacher has denied 2011 is a make-or-break season and indicated he will be back in 2012 if he doesn't land the title.

"Look, we have a three-year project," he told F1 Racing magazine. "Very clearly right now, we are not where we want to be. We've put a lot of effort into coming back and are optimistic we have a chance, but in the history of Formula One, when does it ever happen that you come back straightaway from this level to win in just one year? Very rarely.

"I'm sure we can fight for wins this year and we might be able to fight for the championship. I hope so. I'm here on a mission and I want to succeed. I want to perform and I'm going to put 100% into it, and if that's not the case in 2011, then we will have to do it in the final year."

Some have questioned whether Schumacher will ever be fully competitive after taking a three-year sabbatical, but others remain convinced his old skills are still there. "The new Pirelli tyres will suit Michael much more, particularly in the slow corners," Adrian Sutil told Express, while Schumacher's former championship nemesis Mika Hakkinen agreed: "Michael is definitely still one of the strongest in the field."

And former team-mate Jos Verstappen said: "A racing driver of Schumacher's calibre doesn't lose his talent. If he can get a car that suits his style of driving, he can go for the championship again, for sure. He may be 42 but he is still sharp."

Schumacher will be testing Mercedes' new car, the W02, at Valencia next week.