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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 16:20 GMT
Schumacher tips Ferrari to shine
By Matt Roberts
BBC MotoGP reporter

Ferrari duo Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen
Schumacher is upbeat over his old team's chances
Seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher says Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa will be hot favourites to win the 2008 world championship.

When asked if McLaren's Lewis Hamilton would be champion Raikkonen's biggest rival, he said the main battle was likely to be between the Ferrari duo.

"I think Kimi and Felipe start in the strongest position," he told BBC Sport.

"If you look at last year's results Felipe was very strong but he was just really unlucky."

Raikkonen edged Hamilton for the 2007 title on the final day of the most dramatic and close-run championship race in years.

The spying row and internal squabbles between Hamilton and team-mate Fernando Alonso ensured that matters off the track made as many headlines as on the track.

Since then, two-time world champion Alonso has returned to Renault, in a straight swap with Heikki Kovalainen.


And Schumacher said he thought this year's title race would be more wide open.

"I think the championship will again be a battle between Ferrari and McLaren but BMW and Renault will be much closer than last season and can also get involved in the fight for the title," he said.

Despite having retired from racing in 2006, Schumacher has been involved in testing Ferrari's new F2008 car.

He said he was impressed by what he had seen so far, and may get in the cockpit again before the new season starts.

"It is important that the car is reliable, everything seems very good," he said.

"It is a new car but there were no issues with it, which there usually are. The weather wasn't good at Maranello so I can't judge its performance - we will see more at next week's Jerez test.

"I'm pretty sure that at some stage I will test the car again but there are no definite plans yet. If the team wants me to drive then I will be happy to do so. Obviously, it would make sense to do this before the start of the season."

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