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Last Updated: Monday, 29 March, 2004, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Schumacher admits sand fear
Sakhir circuit in Bahrain
Bahrain will host the first Grand Prix in the Middle East
World champion Michael Schumacher says he fears the outcome of the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix could be affected by sand blowing in off the desert.

Race organisers have gone as far as spraying glue onto areas surrounding the circuit in an effort to minimise problems caused by dust storms.

"The big question mark in Bahrain is the sand," said the Ferrari driver.

"Everyone wonders what effect it will have, whether it will get into the works or not."

The sand will worry us more than the heat
British American Racing driver Jenson Button

Not many teams seem to have much faith in the efforts to glue down the desert, and they expect the sand to be a major factor in the race.

"We are anticipating drifting sand, both on and off the track, in Bahrain," said BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen.

"This will not only limit the level of grip on the track but, in terms of the engine, the air filter will play a more crucial role.

"It will have to prevent sand from getting into the engine through the air inlets and causing damage."

British American Racing driver Jenson Button, who earned his first podium finish in the last race in Malaysia, also said he expected problems.

"The sand will worry us more than the heat," he said.

"There will be sand all over the circuit and it could damage the engine."

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