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Schumacher - Ferrari as united as ever 01 Jun 2005

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, 27 May 2005 Third placed finisher Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, 29 May 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2005 in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, 28 May 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, 28 May 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2005.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, 28 May 2005

Champions remaining focussed on the positives

Michael Schumacher has insisted Ferrari are moving in the right direction after the team scored their best result of the year so far at last Sunday’s European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

Schumacher’s fifth place, coupled with Rubens Barrichello’s podium, meant the champions came away with ten points - two more than at their previous best 2005 outings at Melbourne and Imola.

It may seem a stark contrast to 2004, when the team averaged close to 15 points per Grand Prix, but Schumacher maintained that - bit by bit - the Italian team are getting to grips with their problems.

"Rubens finished in third and this shows that we are taking strides in the right direction,” said the German. “The podium finish has done the team good as it gives us more stimulus."

No one at Ferrari is denying that tyres have been an issue - in particular their one-lap qualifying performance. However, the team’s race pace has been much stronger and Schumacher knows they must constantly assess every aspect of their performance if they are to get back on terms.

“We have lagged behind a little in qualifying over the past few GPs but have had a high tempo in the race, even quicker than our adversaries on some occasions,” he said. "We have to go on working on every detail in every sector. F1 is so complex that there is never one single element that leads to victory or defeat."

With Ferrari enduring such a difficult spell, there has inevitably been media speculation about the atmosphere within the team and the future of the seven-time world champion. Schumacher, however, remains serene.

"Having different points of view can be constructive,” he insisted. “Our team is as united as ever. We have to stay calm to get back to being on top.”

Ferrari have some way to go to achieve that. Seven rounds into the 2005 season and the champions lie fifth in the standings on 31 points, 45 shy of leaders Renault and 12 behind fourth-placed rivals Williams.