2005 can hardly be said to have been a successful year for Ferrari but Michael Schumacher is optimistic that the team will be back in the title fight in 2006. After the difficulties experienced through 2005, Schumacher felt that the recent...
2005 can hardly be said to have been a successful year for Ferrari but Michael Schumacher is optimistic that the team will be back in the title fight in 2006. After the difficulties experienced through 2005, Schumacher felt that the recent winter tests were the most rewarding track time he'd had for a while.
"The best moments on the Formula One track for me in a long time were the tests at Jerez just before Christmas -- at last I was able to feel content when I got out of the car afterwards," he told his website. "During the past season, and especially the last few races, that wasn't the case, as everyone knows."
Ferrari tested with the new V8 engine in an F2004M chassis and also carried out tyre work in the F2005, running the restricted V10. "It's not looking too bad, to phrase it carefully," said Schumacher. "Or, to phrase it a little less careful: there are many things pointing in a good direction."
"I was quite satisfied during testing at Jerez, even though it is of course way too soon to predict anything, because the configuration of the cars was not comparable. But the two most important new rules for next season shouldn't put us at a disadvantage. As I said, the transition to the V8 engine seems to have worked well for us, the last tests were looking good."
The other new rule Schumacher refers to is the re-introduction of tyre changes. Ferrari suffered from a lack of grip in 2005 and the former champion acknowledged that bringing back tyre changes will make life easier. However, Schumacher does not think the rule will be a huge advantage to Ferrari.
"Tyre-changes being allowed during races once again may be helpful in some ways -- but it won't make us champion," he pointed out. "That would be over the top to believe, but none of us do."
"But I think we will be able to rule out some things now that made life hard for us last season: for instance having next to no rubber on our tyres during the final laps, and consequently being much too slow. But anyway: we can't rely on such things to help us. We have to make sure of our own performance, and that's what we've been working on for a while."
Renault and McLaren were dominant in 2005 and while we can perhaps expect more of the same next season, it will not be until F1 starts racing again that we'll see how the teams have adapted to the rule changes. Schumacher knows where he would like Ferrari to be: "We want to play a major role in the fight for the title next year."