Schumacher tries F2005

Michael Schumacher tested the new Ferrari F2005 for the first time on Wednesday at Mugello.

"I can already say that it's a step forward and I am without a doubt satisfied," he said after completing 81 laps of the track near Florence. Ferrari will now decide whether to rush the car out to the Bahrain Grand Prix on April 3, or whether to stick to the original plan and have the car debut at the San Marino Grand Prix on April 24. The races so far this year have been disastrous for the once-dominant team with the F2004 outpaced by the opposition. Tyres have been a big problem.

The fear down at Maranello is that Renault and the other teams will use Ferrari's weakness to build up World Championship points so that the job of catching up becomes very difficult. Fortunately for Ferrari Giancarlo Fisichella did not score in Malaysia and took off Mark Webber which cut the Williams points tally as well. Despite this Renault has 26 points and is well clear of Toyota (12), Red Bull Racing (11), Ferrari and Williams (10) and McLaren (9). The bad news is that BAR-Honda cannot go on for long without scoring as well so the pressure is on Ferrari to get the new car out as quick as possible. The risk is that it will not be reliable although after 2688 miles of testing the new car should already be pretty reliable.

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