Michael Schumacher has said that Mercedes will be able to 'fight at the top' this season and that he is ready to battle for the drivers' title in F1 2010.
Schumacher's return to action will be one of the main focuses this weekend in Bahrain - and in 2010 too for that matter - and everyone will be keen to see if the record-breaking multiple F1 world champion still has what it takes.
Speaking ahead of first practice on Friday, Schumacher told his personal website that while he would have liked more time to test, all the drivers' probably feel the same.
"I think none of us drivers will feel our preparation was enough, but that is just normal: give us 40 days, we want 80," Schumacher stated. "You always have the feeling you could do more, and a lot of the test days have been strongly handicapped by the weather. It is valuable time you are losing, which would be very important for the development of the car.
"But all in all I am very happy with our preparation, as our focus was on reliability and internal processes. We worked very efficiently. I am looking very much forward to the start of the season now."
Asked about the new rules for F1 2010, Schumacher added that the most significant change in his view is the fact drivers' will have less tyres available this season - the number has been reduced from 7 of each compound to 6 of the 'prime' compound and 5 of the 'option'.
"Saving tyres will be an important factor. You will have less sets of tyres available than last year, which makes it harder to do what you need to do for setting up the car perfectly," he explained. "But driving is always about adapting to new circumstances, and this is one of my strong points. I would say the biggest difference is the tyres. You will have to develop a good feeling for them."
Pressed on if he can fight for the title again Schumacher was adamant that will be the case: "Absolutely, yes. This is what I am here for. I strongly believe we can fight at the top," he summed-up.