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JUNE 25, 2001

Schumacher says McLaren are still a threat

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER has refused to dismiss the threat of the McLaren team despite strengthening his stranglehold on the championship at last weekend's European Grand Prix.

As Schumacher secured his fifth win of the season in his Ferrari, and opened up a 24-point gap over McLaren's David Coulthard in the title race, the McLarens struggled to challenge for the lead.

Coulthard eventually finished third at the Nurburgring while team-mate Mika Hakkinen struggled to finish sixth. But Schumacher said the McLaren team are still a threat.

"It is absolutely positive to have this lead but I am not anyone to write anyone off," said Schumacher. "It is too early and there are still eight races to go. Definitely David is very strong and he is always very strong.

"I don't write anybody off and I have a lot of experience of having a lead or being behind with a similar gap. I am absolutely not the one to say."

Ross Brawn, technical director for Ferrari, echoed Schumacher's comments on the title race and also the determination of the McLaren team.

"Certainly they were not the quickest competitor this weekend but as far as the championship it is far too early to make that comment," said Brawn.

"McLaren had a difficult weekend but they are very competitive, so I can't imagine it is going to last much longer."