Tony Purnell, head of Red Bull Racing, has said that he believes Michael Schumacher will once again dominate F1 racing in 2005, despite tougher rules and determined competition.

Tony Purnell, head of Red Bull Racing, has said that he believes Michael Schumacher will once again dominate F1 racing in 2005, despite tougher rules and determined competition.

Purnell said that he believed the Ferrari would again dominate the field even though teams had been working hard at improving their performances from last year. Several rule changes, including the use of one engine for two race weekends, will not even help to make winning harder for him.

"I think it will be much the same as last year," he told the agency. “Reliability will be crucial, with changes meaning that engines have to last for two race weekends, and Ferrari's is second to none.

"Make no mistake,” he continued. “McLaren are working at that, as are Williams and BAR, but it's just that Ferrari are so strong."

Schumacher, who celebrated his 36th birthday on Monday recently said on his personal website that he felt good about his sporting future since he was still mentally and physically able to compete with the younger drivers.

"Of course I have the odd small ache or pain every now and then but they are only small ones," he said.

"All in all, I feel very, very fit and to be perfectly honest, much younger than almost 36. I play soccer with my colleagues quite often, with people like Fernando Alonso who is 10 years younger than I am and I don't see much of a difference.”

And Schumacher is geared up for this season, which starts March 6 in Australia, after recording his seventh championship title last season.

"I'm starting off the new season just like all the others before," said the German, "with a hunger, fully motivated and looking forward to the fights that lie ahead. In sport, you can't rest on your past victories. You have to take the challenge again and again."