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Ferrari have played their jokers, says Schumacher
April 20, 2006 22:21 IST
Michael Schumacher played down the importance of Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix to Ferrari's title hopes while recognising that they cannot afford to fire any more blanks.
"Every race from now is important for us," the seven-times world champion told a news conference on Thursday at Imola, Ferrari's home circuit where he has won more times than any other Formula One driver.
"We took our jokers already, unfortunately, at the early time of the year and from now on its important that we make up ground from the points loss that we suffered from the first three races.
"It's always great to have a good result but it will not break us, whatever happens here," continued the German.
"Some words have been put in my mouth that I see this as a crucial, deciding race, which is not my point of view. It is an important race, yes, but not a crucial one."
Ferrari failed to score any points at the last race in Australia and are third in the constructors' standings, 27 points adrift of Renault.
Schumacher, winner of 84 races, is 17 points behind Renault's leader and world champion Fernando Alonso.
Schumacher finished second at Imola last year, his best result with the exception of Indianapolis when he won in a race contested by just six cars after the Michelin-equipped teams withdrew for tyre safety reasons.
This season he finished second in Bahrain, sixth in Malaysia and crashed in Australia.
The 37-year-old will have a new, upgraded engine for Sunday a race ahead of schedule as a result of that retirement in Melbourne, while Alonso must continue with the one from Australia.
Formula One's rules stipulate that engines must last for two successive races, being changed without penalty otherwise only in the event of a driver failing to finish.
"We have a new engine specification which gives you extra performance," said Schumacher.
"It doesn't really matter whether this engine is one or two races old because it is always planned for two races and should have equal performance for the first and the second.
"You don't talk about big amounts (of improvement), not on the engine side anyway...I don't think it makes a big difference.
"Whatever happens will happen," he said. "We believe in our abilities and we hope to prove them. It's no good keeping on talking about it, it's time to show it."
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