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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 March, 2004, 05:06 GMT
Ecclestone defends change
World champion Michael Schumacher in action
Ecclestone has urged Michael Schumacher to continue racing
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has strongly defended the introduction of new rules ahead of the new season.

Ecclestone believes the changes will result in more competitive racing, starting in Australia at the weekend.

"We're always changing, trying to improve all the time and we hope when we make mistakes we're man enough to admit it and change," Ecclestone said.

"Maybe the driver who wins the world championship won't have won all the races, so it will be interesting."

Ecclestone has also urged six-time world champion Michael Schumacher to continue racing as long as possible.

He described the German as "good for the sport" despite calls from some quarters that the Ferrari driver should should quit at the top instead of potentially tarnishing his reputation.

"Michael will always be competitve whatever happens and from that point of view he should keep going as long as he wants to," Ecclestone said.

"He enjoys his racing and we need him."

Schumacher has not lost his crown since 1999, last year having brought him a sixth title to beat the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio's record.

Ferrari's sporting director Jean Todt has said he believes his number one driver will be as motivated as ever in 2004.

"The Michael Schumacher we will see will be the best Michael Schumacher ever," Todt said.

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