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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December, 2003, 10:27 GMT
Ralf eyes Williams title charge
Ralf Schumacher in testing in Valencia
Ralf Schumacher believes next season's Williams car will enable him to mount a strong Formula One title challenge.

Schumacher came up short in 2003 as his brother Michael took a record sixth drivers' crown - his fourth in a row.

But he is confident Williams will be able to improve on their haul of four Grand Prix victories last season.

"I can say that we'll come up with a car that will be competitive from the very first race of the new season," said Ralf Schumacher.

"My impressions of the first test drives are very positive."

I think 2004 will be far more difficult because the top-class cars will be even more evenly matched
Ralf Schumacher

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari have dominated the past four seasons, taking the drivers' and constructors' honours.

But Williams and McLaren both gave the Italian team a run for its money in 2003, with Schumacher taking the title in the final race in Japan to finish ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya.

And Ralf Schumacher believes the competition between the top three teams, and an improved Renault, will be even more intense next season.

"I think that 2004 will be far more difficult because the top-class cars will be even more evenly matched than before," he said.

New rules next season mean the 10 teams will have to make their engines last an entire race weekend.

But Schumacher is confident that Williams' engine supplier BMW, which is believed to have the most powerful engine on the grid, will rise to the challenge.

"BMW has been doing a fantastic job over the last few years.

"I don't know why different regulations should change that," he said.

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