Renault was dominant in the first two races of 2006, with Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella taking the wins in Bahrain and Malaysia respectively, but Michael Schumacher believes Ferrari's first victory of the season could be possible in ...
Renault was dominant in the first two races of 2006, with Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella taking the wins in Bahrain and Malaysia respectively, but Michael Schumacher believes Ferrari's first victory of the season could be possible in Australia. The German was on the podium at Sakhir and although an engine change penalty demoted him on the Sepang grid, he believes Ferrari has the pace to win.
"It is not impossible that we could take our first win here," Schumacher said at a media meeting ahead of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix. "We are certainly quite happy with where we are compared to the others at the moment and we believe in the strength of our development programme."
"In terms of reliability, we were concerned about our engine in Malaysia which is why we changed it, but it turns out it was not really necessary so we have no concerns in that area at the moment."
Felipe Massa started at the back in Malaysia, also a victim of the engine penalty, and finished one place ahead of Schumacher in fifth. Schumacher had started 14th but Massa's one stop strategy played out better and the former champion professed to not be surprised that his young teammate finished ahead of him.
"Felipe had a good race and was quick," Schumacher commented. "That is no surprise to me as he was quick all through winter testing. I did not have an ideal run in terms of traffic, so if you read the race correctly it was no surprise."
Massa himself was, naturally, happy to finish ahead and score his first points for Ferrari. "I had a good race, starting from the back and making up a lot of positions," he said.
"I enjoyed my fight with Michael. We pushed each other quite hard in the last ten laps. For me it was a great result and a great achievement. I hope we can continue fighting one another in this clean way throughout the season."
The Brazilian hasn't had a great deal of luck in Melbourne previously but he hopes that will change this weekend. "I have never done too well here in the races: a few years ago I got involved in a first corner accident," Massa recalled.
"Then I had an engine problem and last year I finished ninth. So, this year, I really expect us to have a package that's good enough to see us on the podium on Sunday afternoon."