Schumacher plays down Monaco start fears

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher has played down fears of launch control-inspired chaos at the start of this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix as he bids to open the points gap between himself and McLaren's David Coulthard

Schumacher plays down Monaco start fears

Schumacher is just four points ahead of Coulthard after the Scot's recent victory in Austria. The reigning world champion is going for his fifth win in Monte Carlo - that would equal Graham Hill's tally of victories which is second only to Ayrton Senna's six wins.

"Traditionally, I have always gone well in Monte Carlo," said Schumacher. "On top of that, we have a great car this year and so I think we will be very competitive in our fight with McLaren for pole position and the win."

The German has talked down worries of a repetition of the stalling problems many suffered in the Austrian Grand Prix start due to malfunctioning, or misuse of, launch control systems.

"I don't think it will be any riskier than in the past," he said. "The grip level in Austria was very high and nobody was prepared for this. In the future, be sure, everybody will be and it will prove that these systems are a step forward in terms of safety. Also, after what happened at the A1-Ring, many of the drivers will pay more attention to the way they tackle the start procedure.

"It's always dangerous if a car stalls on the grid. Sure it looked a bit strange in Austria, because four cars stopped at the same time, but I think all four had the same problem."

Although a similar occurrence would have more severe consequences on the narrow grid at Monaco, Schumacher said stalling cars would be no more dangerous than before.

"It's not worse than in the previous years as anyone could have a problem as well in these days without launch control," he added. "Look what happened to Mika [Hakkinen] in Brazil. I believe after what happened in Austria a lot of people will be a lot more careful. I think in general, when the systems are working, you will have less problems percentage-wise with the electronics."

Schumacher has also shrugged off Ferrari's own launch control troubles that caused him to make a slow getaway in Austria.

"We know and understand very well what the problem was for us in Austria," he said. "So, for sure, we will do everything to avoid this in the future."

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