F2005 Could Debut in Bahrain

World Champion Michael Schumacher suggested on Thursday that his Ferrari team are trying to push their new F2005 machine into service in time for the next Grand Prix in Bahrain in two weeks' time

F2005 Could Debut in Bahrain

German Schumacher suffered a disappointing start to the year when he failed to finish the season-opening race in Australia two weeks ago after colliding with compatriot Nick Heidfeld's Williams.

And although teammate Rubens Barrichello managed to finish second with a modified version of the Championship-winning F2004 Schumacher is eager to get his hands on the new machine.

"We will be better (with) the new car but we will have to find out what the situation is," said Schumacher. "There is a chance (the car will arrive for Bahrain). We will try but testing in the next days and weeks will be important."

But with the longest ever season taking in 19 races this year Schumacher is not pressing the panic button just yet and admitted he is quite happy to watch the season slowly unfold in the next few races.

"I am pretty relaxed about what is all going on," he said. "There are 19 races - only one has passed by. The feeling is very positive and we have to see what the conditions are and the competitiveness of everybody is like.

"What we saw in Australia was one thing, what we will see here will be another and it will be different again (at the next race) in Bahrain. It will be three or four races before you can see the exact picture of who is where."

Ferrari chose to delay the development of their new car to extract the remaining potential from their 2004 machine and maximise the effect of the 2005 model once it is introduced.

The team had originally planned to debut the car at the fifth race of the season, in Spain, but may now push it through in Bahrain to keep rivals Renault and McLaren in sight.

Schumacher is not used to a slow start, having won 12 of the opening 13 races last year, and he is hoping to kick-start his campaign this weekend as he takes the fight to his closest rivals.

"The Championship starts here for us," he declared. "We will see what we can do here - the Renaults and McLarens will be our main rivals ­ but it's very hot, it's obviously very demanding for us.

"(For the cars) it can just be so different character wise, tyre demand, temperature. We have been testing in coldish conditions so this will be the first test in very hot conditions."

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