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We'll be happy on Sunday, says Schumacher

Written by: Staff
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SEPANG, Malaysia, Mar 16 (Reuters) Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher says he saw enough in Bahrain last week to convince him Ferrari will leave happy after Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

The German and his team endured a nightmare 2005, their previous dominance replaced by a year with a single victory at the controversial six-car US Grand Prix.

Second place behind world champion Fernando Alonso in Bahrain left the 37-year-old convinced that the worst was behind them and he would not be repeating the seventh place he struggled to at Sepang last year.

''Last year, we came here with some disastrous performance, one of the worst races we had in the year,'' Schumacher told reporters today.

''This year, there is good reason to believe we'll be happy people leaving this place.

Schumacher, who could break Ayrton Senna's record with a 66th pole position this weekend, said he was not unduly worried that team mate Felipe Massa had been forced to change the V8 engine in his car.

''Naturally I'm a little bit concerned because it's the same engine but they've checked everything and it all looks good,'' he said.

''Tyres are obviously the big factor -- and it's a big question mark. We have been testing over the winter and it looks good. We were strong in Bahrain and we'll soon find out if we'll be strong here too.

''It was obviously great fun after the disaster of last year to be back in business.'' Schumacher, the oldest driver on the grid, also said he was prepared for the 50 degree Celsius temperatures at Sepang, where he has won three times before.

''Well I don't have any disadvantage, that is clear, but I would be surprised if any of the top drivers had any physical problems because they all know what it takes and what it means and they are well-prepared,'' he said.

As for his future, Schumacher delivered a terse response to newspaper speculation: ''There's no news to report,'' he declared.

REUTERS PDS PM1735

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