Ferrari look ahead to Spanish GP

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello tested the F2004 car at Barcelona on Tuesday, hoping to carry some speed into the next Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 9.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello was out testing the F2004 car at Barcelona on Tuesday, hoping to carry some speed into the next Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 9. The Brazilian gave a disappointing performance at San Marino on April 26, managing a lowly sixth place. Although Ferrari's F2004 machine is an upgrade of last year's car, what lies beneath the bodywork is clearly a considerable step forward. It has produced stunning pace so far, as well as its customary cast-iron reliability, while Ferrari still have the best driver in Michael Schumacher and a very capable deputy with Rubens Barrichello. Schumacher has scored a maximum of 40 points so far this season while Barrichello is second with 24, just one point in front of BAR's Jenson Button. Problems with Ferrari's Bridgestone tyres - which now seem in the past - masked the fact that they had the best all-round car in 2003. But they still picked the double of drivers' and constructors' titles - for the fourth year in a row. With the new engine rule now in effect, the Ferrari's famed reliability has been even more of a trump card as this season progresses. However while Michael Schumacher has blown away the opposition, Barrichello has not performed to his own satisfaction. He hopes to improve and believes the team and the car need to be at their best. "In Barcelona to be competitive you need a car to be well balanced, in terms of the aerodynamics and you need some straight line speed. It's a tough business to get both, but at the end of the day that's the best combination," said Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello. While the F2004 car and the Bridgestone tyres have lived up to expectations, the Brazilian wants to give F1 fans something to cheer about at Barcelona. "Barcelona is not that easy to overtake because the corner that comes before the straight line is a very fast corner so if you take it very closely you just lose downforce which just makes it very difficult. So, you have a chance at the end of the straight, there's a new hairpin that you might be able to do something. But Barcelona is still not on the easy side for overtaking," Barrichello said. Meanwhile, another landmark in Michael Schumacher's extraordinary career will also be reached at Barcelona this weekend. Fans and Ferrari staff alike are looking forward to seeing the German world champion take part in his 200th Formula One race. (AP)