Schumacher Puts Brave Face

Michael Schumacher put a brave face on his worst start to a Formula One season after a pointless weekend for champions Ferrari in Bahrain

Schumacher Puts Brave Face

The German, who has a meagre haul of two points from three races after winning the first five last year, suffered his first mechanical retirement since July 2001 while Renault chalked up three wins in a row.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, who had wrestled with gearbox problems all weekend, trailed in ninth - the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix of April 2003 that the Italian team have come away from a race empty handed.

Ferrari, beaten in the 2004 Brazilian season-ender, have also now racked up a four-race losing streak for the first time since Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone in 1999.

The German, winner of 13 of last year's 18 races on his way to a seventh title, was disappointed but refusing to be downcast.

Instead, he justified the team's decision to rush their new car into service ahead of schedule to counter the rise of Renault and Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

"Today it was disappointing. The result was bad but you have things like this," Schumacher said. "You can always look at something from different ways and I prefer to look at this from the positive side.

"To bring the new car here was a fantastic effort. Seeing the car racing, it was very competitive and from now on I think we will be very competitive. That's the way I look at it."

Schumacher qualified on the front row and gave winner Alonso a hard time until he suffered a hydraulics problem on the 11th lap. He drove slowly back to the pits and retired.

"What we have seen coming here is it pays off to work hard and that is exactly what we will do - keep on working hard until the next race," he said. "(Bringing the new car) was the best decision we could have taken. There is nobody to blame - it was absolutely the best strategy to bring it.

"It (the car) really looked good but that's why I think we will fight back."

Schumacher believed the car could not be blamed for a problem probably caused by debris on the track.

"I don't think it has anything to do with the new car, it is just that something like this can always happen," he said.

Team boss Jean Todt echoed his comments.

"The race was as tough as it was disappointing," he said. "But we have also learnt that the F2005 is competitive.

"It is clear that we have a lot of work to do to improve its overall reliability, along with our partners, first and foremost Bridgestone."

Cars with Michelin tyres took all the points.

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