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Schumacher - don't write off Renault 26 Sep 2006

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari 248 F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, 9 September 2006 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R25 in Parc Ferme. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd19,  Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, 16 October 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2005 
Formula One World Championship, Rd19,  Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, 16 October 2005 Race winner Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari F2004 ahead of Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-19B.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai, China, 26 September 2004 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R24 finished in 4th place.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, 26 September 2004

Michael Schumacher believes Ferrari still have their work cut out if they are to beat Renault to this year’s constructors’ title. With just three 2006 rounds remaining, the Italian team head to this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix with a narrow advantage over their rivals.

Ferrari have won five of the last six races and seized a three-point lead in the standings at the last round in Monza. However, with Renault having withstood a similar, late-season surge by McLaren last year, Schumacher knows the champions could still have plenty in reserve.

“We should not underestimate Renault and will be focusing solely on our strengths,” said Schumacher ahead of Shanghai. “We will be going all out in the final races and we will see what the season has in store for us.

“We have every chance of taking the title though, in my opinion, it will be tough.
Having said this, I have to repeat that the squad and I think we have a good chance, above all in the constructors' championship where we are in a good position. Felipe's (Massa’s) input has proved decisive here, especially in the last three races."

Schumacher has never scored in China - he finished 12th in the inaugural race and then spun out in the early stages last season. Despite this, he is keen to stress that Shanghai is not his ‘bogey circuit’, as some would like to believe, and instead points to Ferrari’s 2004 victory as proof of the team’s potential.

"It is true that this race has never gone particularly well,” said the German. “However, Rubens (Barrichello) won the first ever race and this means that our car should do well. I am sure things will go well this time.”

With Schumacher’s retirement announcement now safely out of the way, the seven-time champion is free to concentrate on achieving a record-extending eighth drivers’ title. And with some fruitful testing for Ferrari since Monza, he is in optimistic mood.

“As I have already said, it will not be easy but it will be exciting and unpredictable until the end,” he added. “I am pleased that we have it all to play for in the last few races. I feel that I can make up the two-point gap."