Schumi: Ferrari are ready
Michael Schumacher believes Ferrari are ready to challenge when the new season gets under way in Melbourne in just under three weeks' time.
After finishing third behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Kimi Raikonnen in Monday's tests at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, the seven-time World Champion said: "We are ready and prepared to fight for the victory."
Conditions were far from ideal following overnight rain and morning fog in the small town just outside Barcelona, but Schumi believes the fact his team were able to test in two different types of weather proved useful.
"We had a good day of work considering the conditions," the German said.
"We were able to work in two conditions so in that respect it was quite fruitful.
"The morning was tricky, the rubber was laid down last week by the test, so naturally it's very greasy and very slippery, but probably an hour after driving on the track it was okay."
Schumacher claims the Italian team are making progress in all areas.
"The progress is very clear, in lap time, in all areas, it never changes so why should it change now... it's never just one thing that goes quicker, it is everywhere," he said.
Nevertheless, the Ferrari legend has predicted a close race between his team and McLaren when the Championship gets under way in Australia.
"It will be very interesting," he continued. "You have the two contenders, like last year. Then you have some question marks over what some (of the other teams) can do and what they can't, so it should be exciting."
And Schumacher claims Monday's test results prove Ferrari and McLaren lead the way.
He said: "Maybe today with the conditions and the programme you have to see, but at the end of the day it is very clear that Ferrari and McLaren are up front.
"Who is quicker or not quicker on one lap, who is quicker on consistent laps; that is something you need to analyse over the next days.
"Today (Monday) the conditions probably weren't equal enough to give an idea."
The German thinks racing without traction control, which has now been outlawed in the sport, is "different", but believes the drivers will adapt without too many problems.
"You would be surprised actually, when you have to work without all these systems, how it works in the end," he said.
"I think it will be the same (for most drivers), but maybe different for people arriving in Formula One.
"You have to be very careful, especially in the morning when it was very slippery, you cannot just put the power on and let the electronics work for you, it's all within your feet and arms and brain."
Despite all that, Schumacher claims he still enjoys the sport, although maintains he is happy not to be racing full-time anymore.
"If you don't do it too often, it's still fun," he added.