AUGUST 21, 1995

Schumacher - Damon will be 1996 favorite

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER says he didn't sign for Ferrari just because they offered him millions more dollars than anyone else, but admits that he is not going to have an easy time in 1996.

"I am sure Damon Hill will be the favorite to win the championship next year," said Michael during last week's testing at Silverstone. "He will have the best car, but I accept that. For me, the attraction of Ferrari is as much the challenge as it is the traditions and history of the team."

Schumacher added that another team might surprise everybody but if everything remains as it currently is, Williams will be the team to beat.

"I will be trying to win some races for Ferrari in my first season," he said, "and try to get everything sorted out to be ready for the second season and to win the championship."

With Ferrari introducing a new V10 engine next year and Schumacher getting to know the team - probably without being able to test much, as Renault will probably put pressure on Benetton not to let him test until his contract actually expires - Michael is going to be fighting an uphill battle in 1996 and so has prepared a few early excuses in order to keep expectations as low as possible. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain from this course of action.