While most teams have stayed in Europe for the recent winter tests, Ferrari has been pounding the track in Bahrain and Michael Schumacher was encouraged by the lap times that were set. The test was not without difficulties, as the 248 F1 suffered...
While most teams have stayed in Europe for the recent winter tests, Ferrari has been pounding the track in Bahrain and Michael Schumacher was encouraged by the lap times that were set. The test was not without difficulties, as the 248 F1 suffered several technical and mechanical problems, but it was no different than other teams experience over the winter.
"Our extensive testing at the track of Bahrain will surely not be a disadvantage," Schumacher told his website. "Of course the tests did not run 100% smoothly, but that's what most teams are dealing with, and that's to be expected at this time of year. The important thing was that we always knew why we had to interrupt."
Last week Honda was also in Bahrain and although Schumacher's teammates Luca Badoer and Felipe Massa were at the top of the times in the V10 powered F2004, Honda set the best V8 times. Jenson Button clocked a best of 1:31.248 but this week Schumacher undercut that with a 1:30.723 on Tuesday, Ferrari's last day at Sakhir.
"Naturally we would have liked to have driven more kilometres during the last few days, but our lap-times were really encouraging, especially yesterday (Tuesday) and the day before," Schumacher commented. "And we'll have time at Mugello to take care of the rest."
Honda and Toro Rosso were the only other two teams that ventured out to Bahrain and some questioned the wisdom of the long-distance trip when staying in Europe was the cheaper option. Schumacher isn't counting on the Sakhir test to give Ferrari a big advantage at the first race but believes the data gathered will be helpful.
"When we come back (to Bahrain) for the race in just about two weeks, we should know all the basics there are to know about choice of tyres, set-up and about the new V8-engine," he said. "That's not bad, although it shouldn't be overrated, either. It looks as though we've got a better package this year than we did last year and we're all ready to compete."
Ferrari will resume testing at Mugello on Monday and there will be only a fortnight until the action starts for real. Like everyone else, Schumacher is ready for it. "Just one more week at Mugello and the 2006 season will get underway, and after all the hard work we've put in during the last couple of weeks I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks it's about time!"