Formula One arrives in Europe this weekend and the general consensus of opinion is that Ferrari will continue its success at the San Marino Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher has a perfect record so far in 2004, with three out of three wins, and will...
Formula One arrives in Europe this weekend and the general consensus of opinion is that Ferrari will continue its success at the San Marino Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher has a perfect record so far in 2004, with three out of three wins, and will obviously want that to continue. Schumacher took victory at Imola last year, with teammate Rubens Barrichello in third place, and the circuit is one that Ferrari usually goes well on.
"We always do well at Imola and I hope that we are able to live up to our billing as favourites," said Schumacher. The German's position of Ambassador to San Marino, as well as Imola being one of Ferrari's 'home' races, gives him a little extra excitement. "I have to admit that this makes the race even more special."
With racing back in Europe after the early long distance events, it's predicted that Ferrari's rivals will start to level the competition, something that Schumacher also expects. The Scuderia set very fast times while testing in Europe prior to Melbourne, but while Michael would be happy to still see that gap between Ferrari and other teams, he doubts it will be there.
"We shouldn't be too relaxed," he explained. "Testing took place when it was very cold and this contributed to us setting fast times. Also, I think that the other teams have improved a lot since then and so I don't think that the difference between us and them will be that great. However, if things turn out as they did during testing, I sure won't be complaining!"
Ferrari has faced some criticism for the amount of testing it does -- two or three drivers at different circuits in a week while some teams cannot afford to have even one car on track. Schumacher points out that Ferrari has to continually keep working as well.
"Isn't this a secret of all sport, and the secret of Formula One?" he questioned. "Resting on our laurels serves no purpose; it will only lead to defeat. We always have to look a few steps ahead and continually improve and this is something that regards everyone."
"Even at Ferrari there is a lot that we can still improve. The European stages begin now and it is from here on that teams develop more consistency. We certainly can't relax in a period like this."