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Last Updated: Monday, 7 April, 2003, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Ferrari remain confident
Di Montezemolo is backing his team to recover
Montezemolo has urged Ferrari to remain calm
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has backed his team to recover from their early-season slump.

In Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, the world champions finished out of the points for the first time since the European GP in October 1999.

And it was the first time Michael Schumacher has finished out of the points since the 2001 German GP.

It was just the latest in a series of disasters this season for Ferrari, who have scored only one podium finish between their two drivers in three races.

But Di Montezemolo said on Monday: "It has been a difficult year so far, we know that, but we still have time to recover.

There is no reason to be concerned at the moment
Michael Schumacher

"Yesterday was like playing roulette, so for that reason I don't think it's right to be pessimistic.

"The best lap of the race was once again by Ferrari, with a big difference between us and the other cars, so that was encouraging.

"We need to learn our lessons and look forward with optimism, but also remain calm and look at ways of improving."

Despite Ferrari's poor results, most F1 insiders agree that they still have the fastest car.

Michael Schumacher runs back to the pits after crashing out of the Brazilian Grand Prix
Schumacher has suffered his worst ever start to a season
And Ferrari are to introduce their definitive 2003 car at the next race, the San Marino Grand Prix on 20 April, after starting the season with an updated version of last year's car.

Schumacher, who is suffering his worst ever start to a season, agrees that there is plenty of time to get his season back on track, even though he is 18 points behind championship leader Kimi Raikkonen.

"There is no reason to be concerned at the moment," said the five-time champion.

Team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who retired from the Brazilian GP while leading, added: "This double retirement does not mean we are in a crisis.

"We have been competitive in all three races so far and I am confident for the rest of the season."

McLaren driver David Coulthard, whose team have won all three races, said it was too early to write Schumacher off.

"It's another mistake and the pressure is on him. Michael is a fair bit behind but he can come back from that," the Scot said.

"I genuinely never like to see people dropping out because, being the old romantic, I want to beat everyone on the track as we all go across the finish line.

"But I think it is encouraging to see they have got reliability issues and Michael can drop the ball."




BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX

INTERLAGOS CONTROVERSY

TRACK GUIDE

2003 SEASON RACE-BY-RACE
 

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