The Circuit de Catalunya is a familiar place for all the F1 drivers, because of its use for winter testing, but as Rubens Barrichello explained when he met the media this afternoon in the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Media Bus, there will still be ...
The Circuit de Catalunya is a familiar place for all the F1 drivers, because of its use for winter testing, but as Rubens Barrichello explained when he met the media this afternoon in the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Media Bus, there will still be plenty of work to do in tomorrow's free practice.
"This is a track that changes a lot depending on the conditions," explained the Brazilian. "Rain the previous day, or strong cross winds means you cannot rely on previous test data, but I am sure, whatever the conditions, we will be competitive this weekend."
The F2005 was originally expected to make its debut at this race, but the Scuderia brought it out ahead of schedule in Bahrain. "That was definitely the right move," commented Rubens. "Because today, the car is much better, in terms of engine, aerodynamics and tyres, than it would have been if we had only used it for the first time here. I think we will have a good weekend and I plan to fight for the win."
It was announced this afternoon that the International Court of Appeal has ruled that Jenson Button's BAR-Honda was illegal at post-race scrutineering at the San Marino GP. The team has been given a two race ban (Spain and Monaco) and a six month ban, suspended for one year.
"I don't want to get involved with the politics of the decision, but I do think it is a shame that two competitive cars will not be on the grid here," was Barrichello's verdict. On the subject of Ferrari's testing programme, the Brazilian said: "I don't like the fact that we are one team against the rest, but I work for Ferrari, I love Ferrari and I agree with everything the team does."
Michael Schumacher followed his team-mate into the media hot-seat and his first question centred on comments from series leader, Fernando Alonso, that Ferrari's testing programme was unfair, although the Spaniard was insistent on pointing out that he did not feel the Scuderia was doing anything illegal.
"Formula 1 is extremely competitive," began Schumacher. "And to be competitive you must test. But I think it is wrong to look at the number of days testing. Instead you should look at the kilometres of testing. If you compare the amount of kilometres covered in testing by the three Bridgestone teams and the seven teams contracted to the other tyre supplier, you will find that Bridgestone does much less."
"If the other teams want to have a testing agreement, that is their choice. Ferrari came up with a testing proposal, but the other teams would not agree. We are happy with our arrangement with Bridgestone and it has been successful and the rules allow us to do what we are doing."
The world champion admitted that even he had been surprised at his race pace in Imola a fortnight ago. "But the reason for it is simply down to all the hard work from everyone at Ferrari and our partners, Bridgestone and Shell," said Michael. "But what we still are not sure about is how much of our performance at Imola was down to circumstances at the track that day."
"I doubt we will keep that pace or that performance advantage for the rest of the season, but we will still be very competitive. As for the opposition, I think McLaren-Mercedes will be very strong this weekend." Like Barrichello, Schumacher did not want to be drawn into the politics of the BAR-Honda situation.
On the technical front this weekend, Ferrari has made further progress on the engine front, with an engine that is now capable of running for a greater number of kilometres. Technical partner Shell has produced a new engine lubricant which has the same protective properties as before, while being thinner, thus allowing the engine to develop slightly more power.