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Schumacher believes he is a genuine challenger

ESPNF1 Staff
January 31, 2011 « Grosjean completes Renault line-up | »
Michael Schumacher speaks with Mercedes' board member Thomas Weber at the recent unveiling of the team's new sports car © Getty Images

Michael Schumacher said he thought it was "logical" for Fernando Alonso to recently nominate him as the major challenger for the 2011 title.

Many have dismissed Alonso's remarks as being little more than early-season mind games, and that by singling out Schumacher as his most serious rival he was in effect looking to marginalise the threat posed by Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and others.

But Schumacher told Bild newspaper that Alonso's prediction was not empty flattery.

"Fernando knows how to count and that things are going better and better, with the curve clearly on the up at the end of last season. He also knows that we have been working on our new car for a long time, so I think it's realistic for him to put Mercedes on the bill."

Schumacher was also asked about the latest rumours surrounding Sebastian Vettel, including claims he is eyeing a future tie-up with either Ferrari or Mercedes. "Purely hypothetically," he replied , "it would be unreasonable if Mercedes didn't try to figure out if Sebastian wants to be with us in the future."

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