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Monza podium may be beyond Ferrari, says Schumacher

August 30, 2005 21:42 IST

Points rather than podiums may be the best Ferrari can hope for from their home Italian Grand Prix this weekend, according to Formula One champion Michael Schumacher.

The team have won their home race for the last three years but have struggled all season to match the pace of Renault and McLaren.

The champions, now 44 points behind leaders Renault with five races remaining, looked completely out of sorts at the last round in Turkey.

Seven-times champion Schumacher failed to finish while Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello was 10th.

"Contrary to the past years, when we mostly came to Monza to fight for the win, our expectations are a bit reduced this time," Schumacher said on his website.

"The test last week showed an improvement, but I'm not sure if we can hope for a podium position or a performance similar to Hungary," added the German, who started last month's Hungarian Grand Prix on pole position and finished second.

"But we can compete to score some points, and even though that can't be our true aim, it's still a step back in the direction of our old strength."

Ferrari have won the last six constructor's titles while Schumacher has been champion for five years in a row.

That dominance peaked last year, when Ferrari won 15 of the 18 races.

This season the Italian team have taken just one victory -- in the U.S. Grand Prix that was reduced to a six-car fiasco when all the Michelin-equipped teams pulled out before the start due to tyre safety concerns.

After having their hopes raised in Budapest, Istanbul came as a major disappointment.

"That was surely our worst performance this season, and also in a long time," said Schumacher.

"After Hungary we had thought that maybe we could turn things around and get back on the track of success, so therefore the race in Turkey was a major setback."

Schumacher, 36, has won the Italian Grand Prix four times and has been in the points in every race he has finished at Monza since 1991.

"The races that are coming up are all in places where we've been successful in the past and that we know well," said the German. "I'm optimistic that we'll be doing better again soon."


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