Ferrari head to Nurburgring, the home of the European Grand Prix, keen to prove that the victory last time out at Imola was not a one-off, but something that can be carried through the remainder of the 2006 campaign. Schumacher held off the advances of Championship leader Fernando Alonso to take his first competitive win since Suzuka 2004.
Ahead of the European Grand Prix, he and the team are confident that the Bridgestone-shod 248 F1 can take on the top Michelin runners at the 5.148km circuit. The team has been busy testing at both Fiorano and Paul Ricard. The French test was useful to Bridgestone as it brought wet weather conditions, something that could well be a factor this weekend at Nurburgring. While most of the focus is on Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa will continue his quest for his first podium.
“Coming to Nurburgring is always special but this time I am happier than usual. In reality, I hope to get a good result and put on a show for our many fans. After Imola and the positive outcome of the test sessions, I am confident that we can challenge for the win and this would be a marked improvement on last year. Our set up this year is notably better and this fills me with hope. As I am from Kerpen, it is, naturally, exciting for me to race on this track. We are determined to put on a good display. The competition is tough but so are we. I think that our initial troubles are behind us.
I believe that we will be competitive and we would like to leave the circuit with a victory. So, I cannot wait for a tight battle”.
“The win gave us that extra motivation. To be honest, it was a plus after the races in Malaysia and Australia – ones that did not go as expected. It was great to see that everyone’s hard work bore fruit and that we were right to believe we could be competitive at Imola. As we have often stated, I think that we can do just as well at Nurburgring. It is true that once or twice we were not at our best. Once we got the tyre choice wrong. However, the Imola display proves that Ferrari is able to compete. I do not believe that things are as they were last year, where Imola was a ray of light, or like the year before that in which we dominated. I believe that we are able to perform like we did at Imola for the whole season, though this will naturally be influenced by the various types of circuit. We should be competitive once again. I will obviously do my best. I hope to get a good result for our fans.”