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Last Updated: Monday, 26 January, 2004, 15:02 GMT
Ferrari throw down gauntlet
Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher pose with the new Ferrari
Ferrari face a race against time to get the new car ready
Michael Schumacher has admitted that Ferrari's new Formula One car looks conservative, but he says it is on-track performance that counts.

Schumacher has been struck by the distinctive design of the new Williams.

"It's a very interesting innovation, but at the end of the day it has to be quick enough," the world champion said.

"Our car looks similar to last year's and may not be as radical, but we will find out in the first race how good our rivals are."

Schumacher added that he expected the toughest challenge to come from McLaren in 2004.

One of the reasons why we are able to progress each year is stability
Ross Brawn
Ferrari technical director

"However, I don't know about Renault's and Williams' new cars. I'm aware things can change very quickly in Formula One," he said.

Schumacher said he thought this season could be even more difficult than last year, when he was taken to the wire by McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen.

"It might be true that its going to be a little bit more difficult than it has been last year, although that's almost impossible. But we'll find out," Schumacher said.

Ferrari number two driver Rubens Barrichello said his team's new car is "an evolution from last year while the Williams model, for example, looks more as a revolution as they need to attack".

And technical director Ross Brawn is confident the new Ferrari, coupled with the team's never-say-die spirit, would keep them ahead of the chasing pack.

"One of the reasons why we are able to progress each year is stability," he said.

"It is that stability that bonds the team during difficult periods, such as in 2003, and grows from within."

Unlike Williams' innovative twin-keeled front end, Ferrari have stuck to a more traditional design.

Most of their efforts had been concentrated in making the engine more reliable due to the sport's new regulations.

The rules now demand that a driver use just one engine for the entire race weekend, meaning its working life must be substantially increased.

The car's aerodynamic efficiency has been improved by the use of lighter materials in the construction of the gearbox casing and rear structure.

As for the chassis, although completely new in shape, it is fundamentally the same.




SEE ALSO
Ferrari 'face tough time'
25 Jan 04  |  Formula One
Ferrari eye up Raikkonen
25 Jan 04  |  Formula One
Webber: Schumi's reign is over
18 Jan 04  |  Formula One
Schumi keeps options open
15 Jan 04  |  Formula One


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