Barcelona 2: Ferrari dominates

Michael Schumacher revealed his first impressions of the 2005 Formula 1 technical regulations as Ferrari continued its pre-season testing programme at Barcelona today

Barcelona 2: Ferrari dominates

The world champion was second fastest to Ferrari's test driver Luca Badoer as the team concentrated on tyre testing and aerodynamic work. Both drivers set their quickest times using a revised front wing that features an additional 'baby wing' protruding forward from the centre of the wing's lower plane.

The past two days of testing have given Schumacher his first taste of the modified Ferrari F2004 M - a 2004 chassis adapted to the new rules - that he will use in the opening rounds of the world championship before the definitive 2005 Ferrari is introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix. He declared himself cautiously pleased with progress so far.

"It's good, but how good we will only tell in Melbourne when we have real comparison," he said. "Because at the moment we all have uncertainties as to what the other teams are doing, as in what tyres they are running."

Badoer set a best time of 1m15.668s, two seconds outside the lap record at Barcelona, although conditions and the track's recent resurfacing made direct comparisons almost pointless. Schumacher was certain that the changes to the aerodynamic rules had slowed the cars though.

"We're definitely slower but this is how F1 is (now) so we have to adapt," he said. "The new cars are much more slippery because we have much less downforce and the tyres are harder."

Schumacher was asked if this made the cars more fun to drive.

"Sometimes, it depends on the circumstances," he replied. "When it's as cold as it is here it can go in the very opposite direction (to fun)."

The world champion brought out the only red flag of Saturday's testing when his Ferrari stopped in a huge cloud of smoke before lunchtime. Despite appearances, the problem was an oil leak rather than an actual engine failure, and Schumacher was able to resume testing using the same engine in the afternoon. He said that Ferrari's engine performance remained on a similar level to 2004, despite the new rules requiring engines to last for two full grand prix weekends.

"It's not that much different," he said. "Except that it lasts longer. We're quite happy with reliability so far."

Schumacher distanced himself from Ferrari's involvement in the current political row over F1's future. Friday's team principals meeting at Heathrow was attended only by Ferrari and the FIA's Max Mosley and Charlie Whiting, after the other nine teams failed in their bid to have the discussion on cost cuts postponed. Ferrari had also shocked its former GPWC allies at the start of the week by turning its back on the breakaway group of manufacturers and signing an agreement to compete in the existing F1 championship until at least 2012. Schumacher was unwilling to get involved in any discussion of these events.

"It's not my business," he said, adding only "let's wait and see" when asked if he had any opinions about moves to restrict testing.

Sauber's Felipe Massa was the only other driver present at Catalunya, lapping 2.6s slower than Badoer as he concentrated on tyre durability runs. Testing continues on Sunday.



Luca Badoer (Ferrari), 1m15.668s, 103 laps
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1m15.902s, 88 laps
Felipe Massa (Sauber), 1m18.293s, 128 laps

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