ABOUT THIS SEASON
The tifosi in Imola are jumping up and down in their seats. For three laps, Michael’s red Ferrari has been glued to the rear of Jenson Button’s Honda. Then he gets past the Briton and begins to chase down the leader.
From lap 50 onwards, the F2005 with the number 1 painted on its side looms large in Fernando Alonso’s rear view mirror. Michael dodges to the side here, tries to pass there. The fans are totally mesmerised by the last twelve laps. In the end, Michael crosses the finishing line just two-tenths of a second behind the Spaniard. Afterwards, he analyses how he worked his way up from 13th on the grid to finish second: “There were some places where I could have tried but there was never enough in it. All I could do once I was finally on his tail was to keep pushing and hope that he would make an error. Unfortunately, he didn’t oblige. He never faltered. Anyway, it was terrific fun. Imola was the highlight of a remarkable season.”
A season in which Michael is to win only one single race, albeit a race that doesn’t necessarily qualify under the ’highlight’ category. In Indianapolis there are only six cars on the starting line: the two Ferraris of Michael and team-mate Rubens Barrichello, the two Jordans and the two Minardis. All the Michelin drivers return to the pits after the warm-up lap: in view of the tyre damage suffered in free practice, the danger is deemed to be too great. Michael wins ahead of Barrichello and Tiago Monteiro.
A tough battle
As in 2003 and 2004, Ferrari begin the season with last year’s model. During the winter months, the F2004 M has undergone a radical overhaul. The new regulations demand a trimming of the aerodynamics, engines that will last for two race weekends and long-life tyres that the teams are not allowed to change during the race. As early as the first race of the season in Australia, Michael finds out just how tricky these new rules are going to be. After qualifying in very rainy conditions, having to change his engine and suffering the consequent penalty, he finds himself at the back of the grid. Following a collision with Nick Heidfeld, he doesn’t even get to see the chequered flag.
In Malaysia too, things don’t go according to plan: P7 is the best he can manage with last year’s revamped vehicle. Michael started the previous season with five wins in five races. This time round, he has just one solitary point to show for two outings. Bahrain sees the debut of the new F2005, slightly earlier than planned, but a problem with the hydraulics forces Michael to retire, the first time a technical fault has taken him out of a race since Hockenheim in 2001.
Having fun going one-on-one
By contrast with the sovereign victories of the 2004 season, Michael has to battle hard for positions and points throughout the whole of this year. But there are also positive aspects to this. “Sometimes it was simply fantastic,” he says. “Take Monaco, for example. That was great fun. Obviously I would prefer to be in the lead all the time, but a good one-on-one contest is never a bad thing.”
In addition to his Indianapolis win, Michael also secures the second podium spot in San Marino, Canada and Hungary. From the last ten races, he hauls a tally of 28 points and thus takes third place overall in the drivers’ championship. “To a certain extent, it’s true that this was the toughest season since I joined Ferrari. But that only really applies if you look at results, which is something I don’t. Admittedly, I won fewer races than in any other of these Ferrari seasons, but we had much tougher years. The ones before I won my first title with Ferrari. Statistically, they may count as more successful, but psychologically, they were much more draining.” So things are never half as bad as they seem.
Courtesy by motorsport-magazin.com
2005 Saison Figures
GRAND PRIX WINS
ALL GRAND PRIX
The races of 2005