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Bridgestone encouraged by Bahrain 04 Apr 2005

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2005 leaves the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, First Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 2 April 2005

Ferrari tyre suppliers Bridgestone left Sakhir pleased with the obvious progress they have made since the previous race in Malaysia and safe in the knowledge that they will face far less punishing track temperatures at Imola in three weeks’ time.

Although they failed to score in Bahrain, Michael Schumacher’s front-row grid position and his ability to push Fernando Alonso for the lead until his retirement on lap 13 were proof of a marked improvement in the pace of the Ferrari-Bridgestone package.

“We have clearly made steps forward in the past two weeks and with the support of our teams we shall no doubt make further steps forward,” said Bridgestone technical manager Hisao Suganuma. “Ferrari worked hard to bring forward the introduction of their new car and together we set about improving the performance of the Bridgestone tyres for this weekend. In this respect we feel we have made progress.”

Rubens Barrichello’s race was handicapped from the outset by his back-row grid position, a result of reliability problems in qualifying. Nevertheless, he too showed some impressive speed in the opening laps, moving rapidly up the field in the opening stages.

“Rubens had a tough time here getting very little track time prior to the race,” agreed Suganuma. “He clawed his way up from last on the grid to fifth before he began to lose his tyre's competitiveness. This is obviously an area on which we need to work over the next three weeks and we shall do our best for the race in San Marino."

Bridgestone and Ferrari, like all their rivals, will be putting in some intensive testing between now and the Imola race on April 24. The world champions have sessions planned at Barcelona, Mugello and Fiorano, while fellow Bridgestone runners Jordan will be testing at Paul Ricard.