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Michael Schumacher and Ferrari

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari are hoping to give their season a lift with the debut of the team's new car at the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend.

Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello have been testing the F2005 at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters over the past week, and their first impressions appear to be good.

Schumacher and Ferrari have endured a miserable start to the season, whilst using a modified version of last year's F2004 model.

The Italian outfit has finished no higher than 11th in qualifying and has twice been forced to retire from a race.

Bad start

Schumacher was seventh in the recent Malaysian Grand Prix, more than a minute behind winner Fernando Alonso, while Rubens Barrichello exited the race on the 50th lap.

That left Ferrari with 10 points from two races - 16 points behind constructors' championship standings leader Renault.

Last season, Ferrari won 15 of 18 races with Schumacher taking 13 on the way to a record seventh world title.

With only two points so far this season, Schumacher is no doubt hopeful for an improvement with the new model.

"It's always a great feeling to jump into a new car, particularly in relation to what happened to us in Malaysia," said Schumacher.

Ferrari have announced that the F2005 will make its debut in the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix, which takes place on April 3rd.

Traditionally, the team has waited until the fourth or fifth race of the season to launch their latest car.

But the move backfired this time around with the latest Formula One rule changes rendering last year's model virtually obsolete.

Schumacher, though, seems quietly confident that the race launch of the F2005 will kick-start Ferrari's season into life. (AP)
 
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