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More gearbox problems for Barrichello 03 Apr 2005

Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari F2005 stopped at the end of his qualifying lap at the end of the pit lane.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 3 April 2005

Rubens Barrichello’s woes continued at Sahhir on Sunday morning. As team mate Michael Schumacher secured the team’s first front-row grid slot of the year, Barrichello was left languishing at the rear of the field after more transmission difficulties on his F2005.

Barrichello started the all-important final qualifying session with an all-new gearbox freshly installed having been specially flown in from Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters.

The Brazilian’s lap started well, but his pace then dropped off rapidly in the final sector. He made it across the finish line, but then his car ground to a halt adjacent to the pit lane exit.

Technical director Ross Brawn later confirmed another gearbox problem was the cause of rapidly rising engine temperatures, which had prompted the team to order Barrichello to stop.

Ferrari are now expected to changed the engine on Barrichello's car ahead of the race, as well as reverting to the previous repaired gearbox he used on Saturday. The move will see him demoted to the back of the grid.

“This has been a really bad weekend so far,” said the luckless Barrichello. “Even with a brand new gearbox, I had problems again this morning. Realistically, all I can hope for now is that I can finish the race, which will at least serve the purpose of acquiring more data on the new car.”

The consolation for Ferrari was Schumacher’s second-fastest time, which came despite a far from perfect lap from the world champion. Although his fuel load and the team’s race strategy remains unknown, what is certain is that the combination of the new F2005 and improved Bridgestone tyres have brought them much closer to matching the dominant Renault squad.

“I must say that the car felt really good with a heavy fuel load, which is something we had already seen in private testing,” said Schumacher. “On my lap, I made a mistake at Turn 4, which cost me some time, but not enough to have lost me pole. I am happy to be on the front row and am looking forward to a good race.”

Fernando Alonso must remain favourite for victory in Bahrain after clinching his second successive pole position for Renault, finishing four tenths clear of Schumacher on aggregate.