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Engine woes hit Schumacher’s hopes 21 Oct 2006

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari 248 F1 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 248 F1 in the pit lane.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 21 October 2006

Michael Schumacher is set to start no higher than tenth on the grid for his last Grand Prix after his Ferrari suffered technical problems at the start of Saturday’s final qualifying session at Interlagos.

Schumacher was first out of the pit lane at the start of the top-ten shootout, but slowed almost immediately with a fuel pressure problem. He managed to crawl back to the pits where his car was pushed straight back into the garage.

Mechanics frantically worked on the Ferrari for the rest of the 15-minute session, but were unable to resolve the issue in time for Schumacher to return to the track, leaving him tenth on the provisional grid without a Q3 time.

Despite the problem, Ferrari are hopeful that they may yet get away without having to change the engine. If that were to happen, Schumacher would be penalised and drop a further ten places back on the grid, effectively ending his chances of a final Formula One victory.

Schumacher had been favourite for pole, which eventually went to Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa. The team’s mixed fortunes have dented their chances of beating Renault to the constructors’ crown. Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella took fourth and sixth places respectively for the world champions.