Michael Schumacher is not too old, but had been without a decent rival for too long, Renault managing director Flavio Briatore told AFP on Thursday in an attempt to clarify comments in the German press. Briatore had been quoted by German magazine Bunte as saying the 36-year-old, seven-time world champion was "too old." However Briatore told AFP before free practice at the Monaco grand prix on Thursday: "I have respect for his success but he has not had a decent rival for too long. Formula One needs new blood and new stars and I'm certain he will appreciate this season more than last because Michael is a fighter and fighters love competition, which was lacking last year." Briatore was manager of the Benetton team for whom the German won his first two world titles in 1994 and 1995. Schumacher cruised to last season's title win, claiming 13 of the 18 grand prix, but this year he has only scored 10 points in five races with his best result a second spot at the San Marino grand prix behind championship leader Fernando Alonso of Spain.