Debris Not to Blame for Ferrari Failure

Ferrari have discovered that debris was not to blame for Michael Schumacher's retirement from the Bahrain Grand Prix, with the hydraulic problem that stopped the World Champion almost certainly due to a basic mechanical failure in the new F2005

Debris Not to Blame for Ferrari Failure

Schumacher had claimed immediately following his retirement that he suspected debris, probably from Christijan Albers' collision with David Coulthard on the opening lap, had got into the car's radiator and caused the failure that forced him out of the race.

But examination of the F2005 immediately after the race ruled out the debris scenario and has left the team facing up to the fact that there are mechanical weaknesses on the car that will need to be ironed out for the San Marino Grand Prix.

Speaking on Monday, Schumacher was clearly disappointed with his retirement but believed that he had seen enough of the F2005's potential to feel confident about the rest of the season.

"Having to retire is more than sad, sure," explained Schumacher on his website. "At first I thought that it might have happened due to all the small parts of debris flying around in the first lap. But that was not the reason for the hydraulic problem, as we found out when we performed our checks.

"But I can still find many positive things about this weekend in Bahrain. We made great progress in many areas compared to Malaysia and were absolutely able to compete. So therefore, we're confident about the next races and we know that we are going to fight back. I'm sure that we are going to win some races in the F2005 this season."

Ferrari are set to embark on a major testing programme in the three-week gap prior to the San Marino Grand Prix and, although Schumacher is staring at a 24 points deficit to World Championship leader Fernando Alonso in the title chase, he has not given up yet.

"Of course we have to improve the reliability, but we have shown in the past that we are very good at doing that," he added. "And it was also encouraging to see how fast Bridgestone got competitive over the course of one lap. So those are all very positive aspects to me - everything is possible after three out of 19 races.

"We will continue to work just as hard over the next few days up until Imola as we did before. And because we have three weeks this time, we can put in even more work than we usually can. That will be good for us. I think that we'll be looking good at Imola."

Speaking about whether it would be impossible to close the gap to Alonso, Schumacher said: "Of course not. We mustn't be fooled by the first few races. The season is very long this time, there are sixteen races left, so a lot can still happen. As I said, I'm expecting a few wins in the F2005. I haven't given up the fight one bit."

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