Ferrari play down domination fears
Ferrari sent an ominous warning that they are ready to repeat their 2002 domination after claiming their third victory of the season in the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix.
Two years ago, the world champions romped to the title in record time as they scored 15 wins from the 17 grands prix on the
calendar. In maintaining their 100 per cent start to the current campaign with six-time title winner Michael Schumacher's third
victory of out of three races in Bahrain, Ferrari underlined their status as the best in the sport, but, with 15 races of the year
still remaining, the Italian team are remaining naturally cautious.
"We will never rest easy and never take anything for granted," technical director Ross Brawn said. "We try to
keep our feet on the ground, but it has been a fantastic start to the season. We've got a 100 percent finishing record and
everything worked well today. It is a fantastic result but there are still 15 races to go. I think that attitude is one of our
strengths because we know that things can change quickly in Formula One."
Reliability has once again been the key for Ferrari, who have dropped just three points this year when Rubens Barrichello
finished fourth in Malaysia, while expected title rivals Williams and McLaren have been beset by problems.
McLaren are in fifth in the championship standings with only four points - 47 less than Ferrari - and sunk to new lows after
David Coulthard and Kimi Räikkönen both retired in Bahrain.
Williams are joint third in the constructors' championship as a result of Juan Pablo Montoya tumbling back through the field to
finish 13th in Bahrain after gearbox problems.
Like Ferrari, Renault and BAR-Honda, second and joint-third in the championship respectively, have got both cars to the finish
of all three races this season and have benefited from their reliability record.
Renault scored a podium in Australia when Fernando Alonso finished third, while BAR's Jenson Button has been third in Malaysia
and Bahrain, but they have not had the pace to take the fight to Ferrari.
Renault are 29 points adrift of Ferrari, while Williams and BAR are 32 points behind. In the drivers' standings Schumacher is
nine points ahead of Barrichello, with Button 15 points down in third.
Schumacher has started from pole position in all three grands prix and, after making a quick start off the grid, has not looked
back in Australia, Malaysia or Bahrain. Not even desert sand on the all-new Bahrain International Circuit could help his rivals,
but Schumacher, champion for the last four seasons, refutes suggestions that he will romp to the title again this year.
"I'm afraid that I think the others will raise their game and they will come back to competition but it's not down to
us," said Schumacher, who came back from a nightmare start last year to claim the championship.
"Did you think that after last year in Australia we would have a championship? I simply believe we have done three out of
18 races - there's a long way to go."