The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No crisis, says Schumacher

Rome: Two unsuccessful races do not make for a crisis, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher insists.

Schumacher finished sixth in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix after a fourth-place result in the season-opening Australian GP two weeks earlier, yet he said both races were not a true indication of how the season will unfold.

“It’s too much to talk of a Ferrari crisis,” the German driver was quoted as saying on the company website Wednesday. “There have been particular circumstances in both races, in addition to my errors.”

In Malaysia, Schumacher was given a drive-through penalty for causing a collision with Renault’s Jarno Trulli on the opening lap, while in Australia the five-time champion blamed a poor tyre choice for his unexpected finish.

The last time he had such a bad spell in two consecutive races was in 2000, when he was bumped out of the German and Austrian GP’s on the first lap.

New rules for car technology and qualifying were introduced this season in an effort to increase competition after Ferrari dominated the series last season and television ratings dropped.

McLaren drivers Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard won the first two races of the year.

“Clearly (McLaren) has worked well, but I don’t think their successes have depended on the new rules,” Ferrari team director Jean Todt was quoted as saying in Tuesday’s Gazzetta Dello Sport.

“Their strategy is very similar to ours. I don’t want to justify the defeats, but the facts are clear. In Australia we lost the chance to win with Schumi because of the tyre choice and in Malaysia for the accident.”

Both Todt and Schumacher said they would not rush the team’s new car - the F2003-ga - into use earlier than its planned launch in the San Marino GP at Ferrari’s home track of Imola on April 20.

“We’ve always said that we won’t use the new car until it’s ready and nothing has changed,” Schumacher said. “It would be stupid for me to push it now.”

While Schumacher’s results have certainly been below expectations thus far, the team realises that a victory in the Brazilian GP on April 6 would reduce the criticism it has faced.

“We’re working very hard to present ourselves better in Brazil,” Todt said. (AP)

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