Michael Schumacher: optimistic. omnisport
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Schumacher expecting tighter F1 battle

Seven-time world champion believes this campaign will be much closer than last year’s.

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER EXPECTS the 2012 Formula One season to be closer than last year’s championship.

Red Bull star Sebastian Vettel romped to a 122-point win in last season’s drivers’ championship, after collecting 11 victories in 19 Grands Prix.

But Mercedes’ Schumacher, a seven-time world champion, believes this year’s campaign, which begins in Melbourne on March 18, will be much closer.

“The car felt good from the very beginning (of pre-season testing), and we have managed to improve it over the test days, so I think we can say that we are very well prepared,” he said.

“Again, what this means compared to our competitors is something I want only to go into after some races, as we all know that testing does not show everything.

“What we can say though is that the field is tighter than it has been, so we are looking forward to an exciting season.”

The final day of pre-season testing finished in Barcelona on Sunday as teams continued their preparations ahead of the start of the campaign. Mercedes boss Ross Brawn said he would wait before judging how competitive his team would be this season.

“As usual, it would be unwise to make any judgement on our competitiveness at this stage, and I will certainly refrain from doing so,” he said.  “It is going to be fascinating to see how it all turns out and I’m sure that this is going to be a very exciting season for the teams and fans.

“We are all looking forward to the action getting underway in Australia in a fortnight.”

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