Irvine was never number two, says Schuey

Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher has claimed former team-mate Eddie Irvine was never forced to race as number two at the team

Irvine was never number two, says Schuey

Speaking at a press conference in Italy on Friday, the German said: 'It has never been written in a contract that I should have a Number two driver.

'The second driver is always the slowest one. Irvine said he was the second driver because he was not as quick as me. I am sorry, but I could not slow down to let him be Number One.'

Last year, Irvine revealed details of his Ferrari contract - which he claimed stipulated that he had to move over for Schumacher.

Despite speculation new Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello will undergo the same treatment, Schumacher insisted he could be friends with the Brazilian.

'We have more in common and can have a better social relationship.

'Ferrari has made a good choice and it will be a step forward compared with the past.

'Last year he had great results and we hope that will continue in the same way. Therefore, if I am slower than him, it will be up to me to help him and if he is slower than me then it will be the other way round.'

Schumacher also claimed he does not regret his decision to join the Italian team in 1996.

'Ferrari is a special team,' said the German. 'I cannot find any reason to regret the choice I have made.

'If I had been with another team, I might have won another title. But the number of race wins and titles is not important if you only do it because you have the best car.'

Schumacher will take to the track on Monday at Barcelona in a two-day test for for Ferrari.

It will be the first time the double world champion has driven his racecar since the Japanese Grand Prix last October.

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