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Last Updated: Monday, 18 April, 2005, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Ferrari promised Imola tyre boost
Ferrari test driver Marc Gene in testing in Spain last week
Ferrari have been hard at work testing tyres for Imola
Ferrari's tyre supplier Bridgestone has vowed to help the world champions bounce back on to the pace at this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix.

Bridgestone has taken much of the blame for Ferrari's poor form in 2005, but says it has new tyres for Imola.

Bridgestone motorsport boss Hiroshi Yasukawa said: "Our technical personnel have been working hard with our teams in the past couple of weeks.

"And we fully expect to see a competitive performance this weekend."

Ferrari have struggled this season after deciding to start the year with an updated version of last year's car.

The team were so uncompetitive in the second race of the season in Malaysia that they rushed out their definitive 2005 car for the next race in Bahrain - two races early.

The Ferrari-Bridgestone package is growing stronger each day
Hiroshi Yasukawa
Bridgestone F1 boss
But although it appeared to be more competitive, both Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello hit reliability problems.

Schumacher pressured eventual winner Fernando Alonso early in the race but retired after just 11 laps.

But the performance of Barrichello, who finished ninth, suggested that Ferrari were still not genuinely competitive.

The Brazilian dropped off the pace by four seconds a lap in the race's closing stages after his rear tyres wore out.

And it is widely believed that Schumacher's pace was flattered by running in final qualifying and the first stint of the race with less fuel on board than most of his rivals.

Ferrari's disastrous start to the season has left Schumacher 24 points behind world championship leader Fernando Alonso of Renault.

Yasukawa added: "The first three rounds of this season have produced some interesting results.

"While they may have been great for the spectators, they were not quite what we had hoped for.

"However, we do believe that the Ferrari-Bridgestone package is growing stronger each day and there is also a huge amount of potential yet to come."

Follow live coverage of the San Marino Grand Prix on the BBC Sport website. First qualifying is at 1200 BST on Saturday, second qualifying at 0900 on Sunday, with the race following at 1300.

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