Fernando Alonso insists that Michael Schumacher has 'nothing more to prove' in F1 despite the tough run of form the German has endured since coming out of retirement.
Schumacher has yet to finish on the podium since making a comeback at the start of the 2010 championship season and has been unable to show the kind of form that saw him take seven titles with Benetton and Ferrari.
Despite that, Alonso said it was the Mercedes driver who he would choose to compete against if he had to race against any driver, arguing that the 42-year-old had nothing left to prove given his success in the sport.
"I would choose Michael Schumacher, who will always be a champion for all of us, because we respect a driver who has won seven world championships,” he told TotalRace.com
. "He is a driver who has nothing more to prove and was always very fast."
Schumacher and team-mate Nico Rosberg will go into the 2012 season hoping that Mercedes can make a step forwards and challenge for victories, with Alonso admitting that the likes of Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren couldn't afford to rule out the Brackley-based outfit.
"We know that in Formula 1, the car is the most important part and we know that Mercedes did not have a very good year," he said. "But I believe that if they have a competitive car, capable of winning races, both Rosberg and Michael can be favourites. We have to respect them."