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#738 2005 European Grand Prix

2023-01-09 23:00

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#2005, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Margherita Schiatti,

#738 2005 European Grand Prix

On the eve of the European Grand Prix Michael and Ralf Schumacher make peace in the family with the mediation of their father Rolf; for Jarno Trulli a

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On the eve of the European Grand Prix Michael and Ralf Schumacher make peace in the family with the mediation of their father Rolf; for Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella, the turbulent Monaco Grand Prix is now over. Tensions for the overtakes in Monte-Carlo, attempted or successful, are running high only among the Scuderia Ferrari drivers. Thursday, May 26, 2005, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello do not meet at the Nürburgring circuit, where the European Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, May 29, 2005. Michael Schumacher defends his manoeuvre on the last lap and good-naturedly forgives the outburst of his teammate, who does not change a iota of the accusations made in the heat of the moment:

 

"I may be Latin, but after four days I repeat the same things. I'm not an Eddie Irvine who settles for anything, someone to whom you can say come second and be good. If I had done the same manoeuvre on Michael the world would have come crashing down. I understand that 3 points are few for a team used to winning 18, but if I had followed my trajectory we would have lost those three as well".

 

He is unstoppable, Rubinho, so much so that one suspects that the relationship with Ferrari is worn out and divorce is near (BAR or Williams are the possible alternatives for next season). Not even a gesture of peace makes his smile come back:

 

"Michael called me on Monday to wish me a happy birthday (33 years old, ed) and I thanked him. Todt also phoned asking me if I had calmed down. My position doesn't change, this is no longer the Ferrari of 2002, when I had to give way".

 

Finally, even a small hint of self-criticism:

 

"Maybe I was slow to react because I thought Michael was further back. But I thought he was defending my line. I explained my point of view to him, but he continues to do his own thing anyway. We've already had three or four disagreements in the past. From now on, every time I have him behind me, I'll have to defend myself as if it were any other opponent".

 

Around Rubens Barrichello's neck hangs a pendant offered by a new sponsor, a medal engraved with the phrase: Do not disturb.

 

"So we close the discussion (with Schumi, ed). Bullshit has been written about me".

 

He refers to the hypothesis of a divorce from Ferrari at the end of 2005, one season before the expiry of the contract. Jean Todt calms things down:

 

"In these six years, we have asked Rubens for two small sacrifices. And this is a small discussion because healthy competition never hurts. I have nothing to reproach the drivers with because the team's interests have been respected".

 

The sacrifices are the 2001 and 2002 Austrian Grands Prix, when the Brazilian gave up second and first place respectively to his teammate who was chasing the title. It is hot at the Nurburgring, and tempers are struggling to cool a week after the Monte-Carlo overtake. This tension is hitting the Maranello team. The signs of awakening are timid, but in times of famine, nothing is thrown away. Rubens the rebel got the seventh fastest time. Excluding the test drivers, who do speed races with empty tanks on Fridays, he climbs back to fifth place. The gap cut down. They were almost two seconds off in Monte-Carlo, they are three-tenths off in the Eiffel woods, in the heart of Germany. An electronic problem blocks Michael Schumacher in the second session. In the first part, he was the fastest among the starting drivers.

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"Things are looking good".

 

More red flags are waving in the stands than in Imola, all due respect to Mercedes and BMW. The organisers counted 83.000 spectators, stuff out of a World Cup final. And it is only Friday. The new qualifying format made its debut on Saturday, May 28,  2005, at 1:00 pm: pole position was assigned with a flying lap with full tanks. Skip the Sunday morning appointment. Scuderia Ferrari appreciates it. Michael Schumacher comments:

 

"We are weak in qualifying. At least we will suffer for just one session. Seriously, we've improved. And in the race we are strong".

 

Plus, you can overtake at the Nürburgring. Rubens Barrichello completes the equation:

 

"I want to give this single-seater its first victory".

 

The Maranello team is the outsider in the Anglo-German derby between McLaren-Mercedes and Williams-Bmw. The Renaults seem less unbeatable and Fernando Alonso less perfect than at the start of the season. For the second time, the Spaniard risks a penalty: the Renault driver set the best time when the yellow flags were waving on track for Narain Karthikeyan's exit, risking a one-second penalty in qualifying. The stewards ignore the incident. In Monte-Carlo he had done worse, cutting a chicane twice to resist the attack of Mark Webber, who then overtook him all the same avoiding a penalty. His teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella, seems resigned:

 

"The World Championship? I see it hard. Now there is also Räikkönen in the mix".

 

The debut of Franck Montagny, Renault reserve driver, at the wheel of the Jordan as the third driver on Friday is a strange case. The French driver tests the Bridgestone tyres before returning to wear the blue jacket of the French team (which uses Michelins). Montagny was so curious to test the competitors' tyres that the mechanics made him try six sets instead of the four required by the regulation. On Saturday, May 28, 2005, the pole position of the European Grand Prix, held in Germany, was for the first time of the German Nick Heidfeld with the Williams powered by the Bavarian BMWs. He chose the right place, Nick Heidfeld, to take the first pole position of his Formula 1 career. In front of tens of thousands of fans, the Williams driver unexpectedly put himself in front of everyone. And he delivered a blow to his teammate, the Australian Mark Webber, who had to settle for third place. Nick is another product of that talent scout named Peter Sauber. For three seasons the Swiss manufacturer had kept him with him, coming from the Mercedes nurseries, after his debut in 2000 with Prost. Then he had been forced to let him go, as it was better to bring a driver home with a suitcase full of dollars, that is capable of at least attracting some rich sponsors. On Monday, January 31, 2005, in Valencia, Williams presented its new car and had to communicate the name of the second driver. In fact, on the ballot until the previous evening were Nick Heidfled and Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia. Once on stage, Frank Williams had announced that the chosen one was the twenty-eight-year-old from Mönchengladbach, the same hometown as another driver who has frequented the circus in recent years, namely Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Pizzonia's desperation, little Nick's infinite joy.

 

"That was the most beautiful and lucky day of my life so far".

 

Heidfeld's story is intertwined with that of other drivers. Karting (first lessons on the track named after Wolfgang von Trips in Kerpen, the same one on which the Schumacher brothers learned), feeder series, the McLaren junior team and his success in the Formula 3000 championship. All-round sportsman, inseparable from his laptop, lover of modern art and literature. 

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With a reserved attitude, few friends in the environment, and a small dose of presumption, Nick is a kind of abbot at the wheel. Looking at him, he is just over one meter sixty tall, with the physique of a jockey, you would say he is submissive, weak. But in the cockpit of a single-seater, the boy transforms. As he demonstrated in Monte-Carlo with his second place, his best result since his debut, conquered by overtaking Mark Webber and then Fernando Alonso. And now? What will happen in the race?

 

"In the meantime, I'm enjoying the qualifying result. It's almost a dream, I am struggling to realise. We will see. In the past, starts have never been my forte. But I am optimistic and confident. Williams has made remarkable progress these past few weeks and anything is possible. We don't set limits. After the second step of the podium in the Principality, we can continue to dream. One thing is certain, however: I will do my best to make myself, my family, the fans and the team happy".

 

A party? Yes, but for a few. The local idol is a seven-time World Champion from Germany who suffered like every damned Saturday of this 2005 season. Michael Schumacher will start from the centre of the starting grid: a tenth position conditioned by a venial mistake at turn 10. Rubens Barrichello, seventh, it was good to get a little angry in recent days. At least he managed to get ahead of his bulky teammate. The Maranello team suffered from the usual qualifying pain. The format has changed, but the result has not changed, even if the gaps have reduced compared to the Monaco Grand Prix: the tyres will give their best in the middle of the race and in the meantime the drivers will have to make do, hope that traffic jams do not form, staying as close as possible to the fugitives to launch the attack when the Bridgestones allow. It seems that the heat has nothing to do with it. The air reaches 30 °C, the asphalt 44 °C, like in Bahrain. A refresher is planned for Sunday. No one seems to care, even if the grip of the compounds remains unknown. Radio box claims that the Ferraris - and the Renaults - are overloaded with fuel and at a distance they will assert themselves, while the very light Williams will have to stop first in the pits to refuel. The only one who does not care about strategies, in the sense that he is fast in any condition, is Kimi Räikkönen. He will start from the front row alongside Nick Heidfeld: if he also wins in Germany, it will be a problem for Fernando Alonso - who will start from sixth position. Among the Italians, Jarno Trulli is better, setting the fourth fastest time and increasingly becoming a wizard of qualifying, compared to Giancarlo Fisichella, who will start from ninth position. Both have abandoned their ambitions to win the title. Rubens Barrichello feels an air of challenge:

 

"We can do a 1-2 finish, first and second like a year ago".

 

Excuse me?

 

"It's a matter of compromise. If starting from behind allows us to win, it means that the compromise is right. The tyres don't always perform in the same way and I'm optimistic".

 

In Monte-Carlo, it was a festival of overtaking, let alone on a wide and mixed track like the Nürburgring. However, not everyone in the Maranello team shares the same confidence. Michael Schumacher, for example, says:

 

"It would already be nice to get into the points. The podium? Let's hope".

 

Oh god, are the two at odds again?

 

"We are as calm and relaxed as ever. We've had more difficult moments".

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Rubinho denies the hypothesis of a divorce from the Maranello team:

 

"Overtaking after the Monte Carlo tunnel is a closed matter. I'm happy with the car, the team and the engineers, so I have no reason to leave before the end of 2006".

 

Peace it is then, or at least an armistice. The European Grand Prix is the last round for Ferrari to remain in the group aiming to win the World Championship. A finish in the points would be useless. A feat is needed. The season began with the old car, which was not up to par, and continued with the F2005, which debuted with a series of youth problems and now has this handicap in the flying qualifying lap which seems like an unsolvable puzzle. If the F2005 can recover in the race, and especially win for the first time, the championship will find the champions of the last five years. The short standings favour comebacks: Renault is down after the four initial victories, McLaren is very fast but fragile, Williams is recovering after a bad start. There are 37 points between Michael Schumacher and standings leader Fernando Alonso. However, if the main opponent becomes Kimi Räikkönen, the gap drops to 15 points. Sunday, May 29, 2005, with an ambient temperature of 25 °C and a track temperature of 45 °C, the cars lined up for the start of the race. However, when the lights came on to signal the start, Giancarlo Fisichella signalled that the engine of his car had stopped and the start had to be stopped. As the field set off for another formation lap, Giancarlo Fisichella's car was pushed into the pit lane and the race distance was reduced by one lap. At the start of the European Grand Prix, both Williams had a slow start. Kimi Räikkönen preceded Nick Heidfeld entering Turn 1, while Mark Webber was passed by both Jarno Trulli and Juan Pablo Montoya on the opening lap. Desperate to keep Jarno Trulli behind, Mark Webber braked very late and locked his right front tyre. Subsequently, Juan Pablo Montoya spun and his car collided with the Williams of Mark Webber. The Australian driver was forced to retire due to suspension damage. Juan Pablo Montoya's car remained intact, but the Colombian driver lost several positions due to the forced exit and finished the first lap in thirteenth position. Numerous drivers were forced to take evasive action, including both Ferrari drivers losing a lot of time and Ralf Schumacher damaging his front wing. During the first lap, Takuma Satō also damaged his front wing and, together with Ralf Schumacher, was forced to pit at the end of the lap. 

 

David Coulthard managed to avoid the confusion and climbed into fourth position, after starting twelfth. Both Jordan drivers also got off to an excellent start, finishing in tenth and eleventh place. Meanwhile, Kimi Räikkönen extended his lead to 1.9 seconds at the end of the first lap. While the Jordan and Minardi drivers were forced to make way for faster cars, Jarno Trulli received a drive-through because his mechanics were still on the grid within 15 seconds of the start of the race. The Italian driver dropped from third to ninth position after serving the penalty. During the sixth lap, Rubens Barrichello was fighting with Jenson Button. The Brazilian driver took eighth position after having tried to overtake the British driver on three different occasions. Jenson Button lost time due to overtaking, favouring the return of Juan Pablo Montoya and the consequent overtaking. Rubens Barrichello also passed Vitantonio Liuzzi and took seventh place during the eighth lap. The Brazilian driver started with less fuel load, so he was forced to pit first and dropped back to twelfth position. During the following lap, Nick Heidfeld also made his first stop, proving that his pole position was helped by having less fuel than his direct rivals. The rest of the field began to refuel around lap 18, allowing Juan Pablo Montoya to pass Vitantonio Liuzzi and take eighth place, while Rubens Barrichello made some fast laps and moved up to fourth place. David Coulthard received a drive-through penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit. With all stops completed, Kimi Räikkönen took the lead again with a 2-second lead over Nick Heidfeld, followed by Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard, Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya. During lap 30 Kimi Räikkönen seemed to lose concentration, running wide at the Ford chicane and allowing Nick Heidfeld to take the lead for a lap before the German pitted again for fuel. Due to the excursion off the track, a bargeboard on Kimi Räikkönen's car was damaged: moreover, the mistake allowed Fernando Alonso to gain 4 seconds. Nick Heidfeld rejoined the track in third position after making his second pit stop while Rubens Barrichello, also on a three-stop strategy, maintained fourth place.

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A few laps later, while lapping Jacques Villeneuve, who ignored the blue flags, Kimi Räikkönen locked the front right tyre and took a wrong line in the corner, losing some time against Fernando Alonso. But, above all, the Finn flat-spotted his tyre, damaging it irreparably. In fact, due to the 2005 regulations, Kimi Räikkönen was not able to change tyres and had to continue the race, which caused serious problems for the rest of the race. On lap 33 Ralf Schumacher was forced to retire after losing control of the car at the Ford chicane and spinning in the gravel. On lap 36 Kimi Räikkönen continued to lead the race with a 15.2-second lead over Fernando Alonso, who in turn had an 8-second lead over Nick Heidfeld, followed by Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard, Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya. Despite the damage to his tyres, Kimi Räikkönen managed to set competitive lap times and keep the lead over Fernando Alonso intact, but the Finn was forced to make his second pit stop on lap 43, handing the lead to Fernando Alonso and the possibility of closing the gap. Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap of the race at the end of lap 44 but then lost around 7 seconds after going off the road at the Dunlop hairpin. After completing the round of refuelling, the leading drivers maintained their positions: only Giancarlo Fisichella managed to get ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya. Meanwhile, Felipe Massa went off the road and lost a lot of time, also damaging his tyres. 

 

With eight laps to go, Kimi Räikkönen had a 7.4-second lead over Fernando Alonso, but the tyre damage caused the car and suspension to vibrate severely, affecting the car's stability under braking and cornering. Fernando Alonso, with a much faster car, was able to quickly close the gap and, with two laps to go, reduce it to just 2.7 seconds. Kimi Räikkönen's tyre began to show signs of imminent failure and the vibrations in the car became more and more intense. However, the McLaren team decided not to change the tyre. When Kimi Räikkönen started the final lap of the race, he was 1.5 seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso. However, under braking, before entering turn 1, the suspension on Kimi Räikkönen's car broke due to the increasing pressure, causing him to spin and narrowly avoid Jenson Button's car. Kimi Räikkönen ended his race in the gravel, while Fernando Alonso won the European Grand Prix, ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Rubens Barrichello at the finish line. David Coulthard collected a valuable fourth place for Red Bull Racing, followed by Michael Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jarno Trulli. Alonso-Raikkonen finished 10-0 this time. The Spaniard now has a 32-point lead and his hands on the World Championship. Unassailable when the car works and lucky in moments of difficulty: nothing else is needed in Formula 1. Kimi Räikkönen, the Finn, came close to the feat and defended it with the recklessness of his 25 years. He led for ten laps chased by his rival, trying to reach the finish line with a deformed tyre.

 

"Everything was vibrating, my head was shaking and I couldn't see anything".

 

The dream vanished with four and a half kilometres to go because the suspension gave way at the end of the straight and the McLaren went crazy on the verge of 300 km/h, touching Jenson Button's BAR-Honda and crashing into the barriers. Räikkönen felt no fear:

 

"Just feeling like shit, because you realise you lost".

 

All is well for Scuderia Ferrari: Fernando Alonso indeed becomes unreachable and the World Championship will be celebrated elsewhere after five years - it is useless to cultivate further illusions - but at least we see a driver from the Maranello team on the podium again. Rubens Barrichello raced with the grit of his best days, when everything is going wrong, his teammate appears listless and he has to invent something. He was seventh on the starting grid, twelfth after the first corner, and eighth at the end of the opening lap. He then passed Button alongside him and continued wheel to wheel until the manoeuvre was completed. He approached Nick Heidfeld - second again, he is the protagonist of Williams' redemption - in the finale, but he reached the podium thanks to the retirement of Kimi Räikkönen. Michael Schumacher finished in fifth place. Once it would have been a disappointment, today it is three points that shake up the standings and lift morale. Even the World Champion was involved in the initial chaos, coming out in last position. 

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Then he recovered due to the pit stops rather than spectacular manoeuvres. For a long time, he followed Massa's Sauber without causing any trouble. In addition to the Ferraris, the start penalised Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella, knocked out Mark Webber and launched the Räikkönen -Heidfeld duo. Fernando Alonso said at the end of the race:

 

"Someone bumped into me. I was afraid I'd have to stop".

 

The impact is with Ralf Schumacher's Toyota. But luck seems to love the yellow-blue colours of Renault, which continues quickly, as confirmed by the driver:

 

"It was a beauty to drive. I would have been satisfied with second place, but I pushed right through to the end. To defend himself, Kimi had to push until he damaged the tyres. We were very lucky, but also strong like in the first races of the season".

 

No other reference to the rival. A second and a half separated them at the moment of the accident: Alonso was halfway down the main straight when, 150 metres further on, he saw a cloud of dust in the run-off area and the silver silhouette of the McLaren disappeared.

 

"They shouted to me over the radio: you're first, you're first. I, on the other hand, was thinking of avoiding scrap metal".

 

The last one to lose a race on the last lap was another Finn from McLaren, Mika Häkkinen, who ran out of petrol in 2001 in Spain. Jim Clark even lost two World Championships at the last lap of the last race, in 1962 and 1964. Kimi Räikkönen bears a few more responsibilities than his compatriot, two mistakes locking up that ruined the front right tyre.

 

"We didn't know if it was better to stop and replace it, because the regulation is not clear. I was in the lead and we feared a penalty".

 

McLaren's strategic decisions are made in real-time in Woking, at the headquarters emphatically christened Paragon, and sent via email to the garage. Boss Ron Dennis had boasted about it after his triumph in Monte-Carlo, the result of a risky decision: skipping the pit stop while the safety car was on the track. In Germany, however, the engineers of the Anglo-German team have not found the right solution. For Renault, it is a victory that goes beyond expectations. On Friday afternoon, Briatore had summoned the two drivers and technical director Pat Symonds to his office. After two hours of discussion, they had decided on a prudent strategy. Objective: to finish behind McLaren, in order not to lose too many points. At the same time, the most electric week of the coexistence between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello ends with a frank handshake. But when the Brazilian arrives in the Ferrari motorhome, fresh from the podium party and the various collateral ceremonies, the German is already playing backgammon, alongside his wife Corinna, with Luca Baldisseni, one of the technical managers of the Maranello team. The race was also different for the two drivers: third Rubinho, author of an exceptional race, fifth Michael Schumacher, at the end of an uphill and backseat race. The South American's F2005 was at the level of its best rivals, while that of the World Champion always seemed to be on the limit, in apparent difficulty. Once again, external elements influenced the result. Especially the initial chaos that set back the two cars from Maranello, forced to avoid the other cars that collided. Rubens Barrichello says, at the end of the race:

 

"To be honest I was lucky to get on the podium due to Räikkönen's crash. But I also had to make up for lost time right after the start. In the first lap, I managed to make a great comeback. Then the team applied a perfect strategy. I made my first pit stop to get back on track with a lot of free space in front and this allowed me to push hard. At that moment the Ferrari was flying".

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You seemed to be going very fast, especially with that spectacular overtake on Jenson Button's BAR-Honda.

 

"After finding myself behind the two Jordans in the first corner, I mentally said goodbye to a good finish. Then, with Ferrari's performance and the situation improving, I gathered courage and took the plunge. I couldn't lose any more ground, it was necessary to take some risks. At that point, I had a lot of fun. But in the cockpit, I didn't get to enjoy what was happening, I was too concentrated on trying to reach Heidfeld. Unfortunately, that was not possible".

 

Last year you had a habit of getting on and off the podium. Is it nice to find certain situations again?

 

"The taste is different. The problem is that we are not here for the podium but to win. And that's what I hope we'll be doing in two weeks in Canada. I'm also happy because the team has scheduled the next test at Silverstone. Normally we test at Mugello or Fiorano and on those tracks, the set-up of our cars is always good. In England, we will probably have more information on what is needed to develop the tyres and set up the F2005".

 

The other side of the coin is represented by Schumacher, less optimistic than usual.

 

"Considering that I was last at the start, fifth place is fine for me. But a strange thing happened. We know that the F2005 is not very fast in qualifying, but excellent in the race. Here this reversal of performance has not occurred. Rubens had a fantastic race, just like Heidfeld did very well. Unfortunately, my car was slow, I had an extra dose of understeer. And if you ran off the racing line, the asphalt was very dirty. For this, I also ended up off the track. But even without this mistake, I would never have been able to overtake Coulthard who was just ahead of me. We still need to improve in all sectors, but Rubens' podium will give us a big boost".

 

Almost certainly not only the circumstances affected the performance of the two teammates. The choice of Rubens Barrichello and his engineers to opt for three pit stops allowed the Brazilian to make the most of his car and tyres. Michael Schumacher's - two pit stops - was too conservative. A positive but not brilliant balance, therefore, as underlined by Jean Todt:

 

"Two Ferraris that are reliable and on point. It's a step forward, still not exactly what we want. We have to grow more and keep fighting".

 

And it is German logic, that of Michael Schumacher, a perfect synthesis of the European Grand Prix that launches Fernando Alonso towards his fourth victory of the season and the 2005 title:

 

"Once again we were too slow in qualifying and not fast enough in the race".

 

Scuderia Ferrari is recovering, but it is too late. With each race that passes, the leader of the World Championship is drifting away. The World Champion has 16 points, Fernando Alonso has 59. And between the two of them are Kimi Räikkönen, Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Mark Webber, Giancarlo Fisichella, and even his brother Ralf, who can never do anything right. In the standings of the Constructors' World Championship, the gap to Renault is 45 points (76 to 31). On the Nürburgring circuit, the German driver took fifth place. And his countrymen ditch him:

 

"Schumi is now racing in second division".

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It is the title of the Bild.

 

"Nicky Nick has suddenly become number one in Germany".

 

Adds the popular newspaper next to the podium photo of Nick Heidfeld, protagonist of a second place ahead of Rubens Barrichello.

 

"They did the best they could".

 

Luca Montezemolo says of his men, on the sidelines of the assembly of industrialists in Novara.

 

"Seeing a Ferrari on the podium again is a sign that logically gives me great pleasure. Too bad about the first lap that made everyone lose many positions. This is the risk of starting in the back".

 

The recipe for getting out of the crisis is the usual: work and kilometres. First Luca Badoer and then Rubens Barrichello will test at Silverstone from Tuesday, May 31, to Friday, June 3, 2005, while Marc Gené will be on the track at Monza at the same time. Jean Todt says:

 

"We have to improve all the parameters. We need to work at 360 degrees on tyres, engine, chassis and aerodynamics".

 

Ferrari's general manager keeps the goal high:

 

"Winning the World Championship is indeed more difficult, but one thing is certain: we won't give up. On June 12 in Canada we will fight for first and second place".

 

The Montreal track is, in theory, favourable to the F2005, with its long straights and tight corners, a fast track that uses little tyres and requires less traction. At the Nürburgring, Barrichello scored the top speed (313.1 km/h), a strength that will come in handy.

 

"Talking about optimism for Canada would be misplaced. If anything, there will be more determination and enthusiasm in the team".

 

Will Fernando Alonso be the new World Champion?

 

"He is the favourite. In addition to winning four times, he finished all races in the points. But this is a very difficult sport. You saw what happened to McLaren on the last lap. Better to be careful. Never jump for joy too soon. This is also why I know how much our successes in recent years are worth. I say it with caution, but I say it: let's get ready for another Ferrari victory".

 

Even Formula 1 needs the former invincibles to be great again. Audience figures for the European Grand Prix confirm a drop of more than 20%, as had already occurred in Monte-Carlo. The race broadcast in Italy was followed by 8.100.000 people, with a share of 50.94%. Until 2004, when Michael Schumacher cannibalised everything, there were never less than 10.000.000 people.


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