A new ‘crisis’ at Maranello?

(GMMf1NET ) In the face of giant pressure in Italy, 2006-spec Michael Schumacher has played down any comparison with the Ferrari 'crisis' of last season.

The midfield running German crashed during Sunday's Australian grand prix, after earlier admitting that his '248' car was simply not quick enough to challenge for the win.

''It is a completely different situation now,'' Schumacher, 37, told his website on Monday.

''This season we are much more competitive and have a better car that it looks at the moment.

''When we get the tires working, we have the pace.''

The red team will show up for its home race at Imola in three weeks with significant improvements to both bodywork and the engine.

But the pressure from the fickle and passionate Italian press is not ignorable. 'What has happened to the old Schumacher?' asked Corriere Della Sera, while 'Tuttosport' said 'crisis has broken out again. (It was) a terrible day for Maranello'.

''I do not want to make excuses,'' said Michael, referring to his shunt at the final corner and losing control over a 'bump' in the grass verge.

''It was my mistake; simple.''

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