Alonso: don’t write off Schumi

Fernando Alonso says it would be foolish to discount Michael Schumacher from winning the world championship, despite the German’s disastrous start to the 2010 F1 campaign.

Some 28 points separate the two drivers after three races, as Schumi struggles to re-acclimatise to life in the top flight with Mercedes after three years of retirement. The seven-time champion has a best finish of sixth from Bahrain, but managed only tenth after a first corner incident in Australia and then retired early on in Malaysia, leaving him only tenth overall.

However, Alonso is reading little into Schumacher’s woes and suggests that it’s too early to be writing him off. “He is still the Michael Schumacher that we know,” said the Spaniard. “I respect him in the same way I did three years ago and am sure that he will show his true qualities when the car is better. I really believe Michael will be a serious competitor for the title this year.”

While Alonso insists that Schumi remains a threat, potential title rival Mark Webber says the championship race will not feature a Mercedes driver.

“I think Ferrari and McLaren are very strong – clearly it’s three teams already,” said Webber. “Mercedes are doing OK, but it’s Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull who are the most consistent at the moment in terms of pace.”

Alonso, meanwhile, reckons Schumacher will remain as the sport’s most decorated driver.

“Because the rules are now so tight, there will be no one who is far superior to the others, as Ferrari was in the past,” said the Spaniard. “If you ask me, Michael’s records are safe.”

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