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Schumacher: Fangio was a hero!

NEWS STORY
05/03/2003

As he prepares to begin the campaign that could see him claim a historic sixth World Championship title, Michael Schumacher says that no matter how many more records he sets he will never better the achievements of Juan Manuel Fangio.

"There's no way you can compare me with him," he told British tabloid The Sun. "What he achieved at the wheel of a fairly basic car in just shirt sleeves and with no helmet hardly bears thinking about.

"It wasn't the same sport," adds the German. "No, I could never do what he did. That man was a hero."

Looking ahead to the new season and the 'new look' F1, does Schumacher envisage another 2002-type Ferrari walkover?: "I am certain our rivals will close the gap," he said, "and that this season's championship will be tighter. The way we dominated last season was an abnormal state of affairs and I can't see that happening again.

"I have the feeling our biggest rival will be McLaren," he continues, echoing sentiments he expressed several weeks ago. "My team-mate Rubens Barrichello is also not to be dismissed because he's a very fast driver."

Clearly, Michael is surprised and somewhat disappointed at those people who blame his success for the sport's downturn in popularity last year: "It's a strange feeling having to defend yourself for doing a good job," he says. "If people want to see a new champion then it is up to other teams to do a better job."

There has been much speculation as to when the five-time champion will decide to hang up his helmet. However Schumacher is adamant that it's not something that he even thinks about: "I know one day a new boy will be quicker than me," he says." That's life and I'm prepared for that and I won't do a single race too many.

"So far I haven't spotted that person," he adds, "so retirement isn't on the cards.. yet."

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