Schumacher aims to remain on top

REIGNING world champion Michael Schumacher on Monday warned title rivals Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard that they will be second best again this year.

The German driver, speaking at the launch of the Ferrari's new F2001 car in Fiorano, Italy, said he will only improve and admitted he can see nothing other than a Ferrari victory in 2001.

"My motivation couldn't possibly be higher," said Schumacher, who ended Ferrari's 21-year wait for a drivers' title last year.

"I'm more relaxed because the weight has been taken off my shoulders, but I'm constantly improving and getting better and I can't see a time when it's going to get worse."

Schumacher, who will be partnered by Brazilian Rubens Barrichello for a second season, insisted the desire to be champion is still very much with him. And the 32-year-old driver predicted that McLaren drivers Coulthard and Hakkinen face another year of misery.

"A lot of people may fear that now I have won my main goal, that maybe my motivation is less, that I'm not so concerned any more," he said.

"But really I'm just born for this. I'm natural. I want to get in the car and get to the limit. I want to do it as good as I can. It's simply a lot of joy for me, still.

"I think for the championship you will see a similar picture as last year. I don't see that changing."

Sporting director Jean Todt, who has been rumored to be ready to leave the team, added that Ferrari will not be toppled from the head of the grid.

"In 2001, we have exceptional motivation, even stronger than in the past," Todt said. "We are even more determined to keep this number one on the side of the car."

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