Schumacher ready for Imola

Formula 1 returns to Europe and Michael Schumacher is on good form. The unexpected win in Brazil has given him a boost and three days testing in Fiorano and Mugello produced satisfying results - the only unexpected factor being the rain which ...

Formula 1 returns to Europe and Michael Schumacher is on good form. The unexpected win in Brazil has given him a boost and three days testing in Fiorano and Mugello produced satisfying results - the only unexpected factor being the rain which arrived to soak the track on the final day of the session. On Saturday evening, the Ferrari man returned home to relax for a few days with his family prior to the San Marino Grand Prix. Obviously, the German hopes to be on form next weekend to put on a good show for the Italian fans.

The four times world champion was cautious when it came to giving his views on the current pecking order of the teams, but reckoned the race would come down to a duel with BMW-Williams. "The BMW-Williams will definitely be the most competitive team in Imola," said Michael without hesitation. "Even last year they were very strong at this track. On the other hand, we made mistakes at the time, while Williams simply performed better."

This is a difficult time to make predictions on the state of play in Formula 1 and Michael can see both sides of the coin. "I would say the BMW-Williams have more top speed," commented the German driver, "but we have other strong points. One is certainly our aerodynamics and actually, a lack of horsepower can be made up for in other ways such as in a better weight distribution. You have to look at a car as a complete package."

"For example, we were very close to the Williams in terms of top speed, making up the power difference through the rear wing, which is one of the strongest components in the new Ferrari. But we must remember that we only won the Interlagos race because the opposition did not get the most out of its machinery, whereas we did." This is yet another reason why the Imola race looks like being a fascinating tussle.

Therefore preparations for the first grand prix in Europe have centred on the 'weak spots.' "Last week's test saw us concentrating on tyres and brakes because last year these were the areas where we had difficulties, given that Imola puts a big strain on the braking system," said the world champion.

In ideal circumstances, Imola could once again be a Red party. "I am really looking forward to racing there. We are all in expectant mood as it is our home race and we hope we can count on a lot of support from the fans. We will need it, given that I expect BMW-Williams to be very competitive. I hope nevertheless to be able to give the fans what they want, seeing how this race went last year."

Before the official start of the grand prix weekend, Michael Schumacher, along with Rubens Barrichello, Luca Badoer, Luciano Burti and other Ferrari representatives will attend the official opening of the first Ferrari Store, on Thursday morning in Maranello.

-ferrari-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Luciano Burti , Luca Badoer , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello
Teams Ferrari , Williams