Manama, 11th March 2006
First race of the season and first pole position for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team, with both the 248 F1
cars on the front row. For the 180th time a Ferrari driver has set the fastest time in an official F1 qualifying
session. Michael will start from pole for the 65th time in his career, and for the second time on this circuit.
Felipe starts from the front row for the first time on his debut race for Ferrari.
Jean Todt: "Obviously this first qualifying session of the season is very positive for us. It's been since the 2004
Hungarian Grand Prix that we haven't managed to put both cars on the front row of the grid. I am particularly
pleased for Michael because today he has equalled Ayrton Senna's record of pole positions, and for Felipe who
qualified on the front row for the first time in his career. Over the last few months the team has worked very hard
and today we have seen the results of all this effort. I would also like to thank all our partners, especially the
technical ones like Bridgestone and Shell. Now we have to face the most challenging part of the weekend, the race.
During the 57 laps we will have to deal with all kinds of changing circumstances. Reliability will be the crucial
factor. Even if it is undoubtedly early days yet before one can come to any kind of conclusion, it is certainly a matter
of fact that now we have a competitive car-engine-tyre package that can compete at the highest level."
Michael Schumacher: " Amazing result. To be honest I wasn't expecting to be on pole, I thought we might be in
touch with the leaders but not in front of everybody, so it really is a wonderful surprise. I'm so happy for the team
because they all worked so hard to achieve this result, especially when one considers where we were at the end of
last season. What happened in 2005 really hurt and it forced us to react. We have worked very hard and I would
also like to thank all the test team for what they have done during the winter months. It is always very difficult to
reverse a negative trend but last year's troubles have had the effect of making the team even more closely knit
together: this is the mentality that makes Ferrari such a special team. Today I've also equalled a rather special
record, that of the number of pole positions set by Ayrton Senna: something I'm very proud of."
Felipe Massa: " This is a day that won't be easy to forget. To qualify on the front row at my first race with Ferrari
makes me feel very proud of myself and for what the team has managed to achieve. It's a pity that the traffic on the
last lap prevented me from perhaps improving on my time: these are things that happen with this new qualifying
format. Maybe next time it might be my turn to take advantage of the situation ! What is important is that now we
have a competitive package right from the start of the season. Tomorrow it's going to be a difficult race: we know
that our rivals are very strong but we'll give it everything we've got to try and bring home the best result possible."
Temperatures: air 21/22° C, track 29° C