Ferrari star Michael Schumacher has admitted that he doesn't want a repeat of 2003 next season, and that if he struggles retirement at the end of 2004 could well be a possibility.

Although Schumacher won in 2003, taking a record sixth drivers' title, the German was made to wait until the final round, as Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya pushed him to the limit.

Speaking to British newspaper, The Sunday Mirror Schumacher said: "I can still keep up and I have a lot of good years in front of me. I feel younger than my years.

"But if someone in the team comes to me and tells me I am not fast enough any more then that is the time to quit.

"The risk would not be reasonable any more."

He added: "It was very hard for all of us at Ferrari at the start [of 2003] and I would not like to be in that situation again. I much prefer to be winning.

"But of course we cannot guarantee that. It was tough to win the championship last season and I think it will be even tougher next season.

"It is going to be a big fight and very tight again with our main rivals, but I am optimistic our new car will give us another step forward.

"As usual, the championship is our target and everyone in the team will be working hard to achieve that. I think we can be confident for the new season."

Schumacher will be gunning for his seventh title in 2004.



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