If you had the BIOS set to IDE Compatibility mode, XP Setup would not have been able to see the SATA controller, and would not have installed the drivers, even though you went through the F6 procedure. It won't install drivers for hardware it doesn't see.
As for the Press F1 message, what is the full message that it displays? Did you change the boot order so the CD/DVD and hard drive comes before the floppy?
It may just be telling you that you don't have a bootable floppy disk in the drive. You have to hit F1 to move to the next boot device.
I've not tried installing the SATA drivers after XP has been installed, it would be a bit complex. You can read this HOWTO
I found to see what is involved. Note that the registry files shown will not work on your system unless you have the exact same chipset.
If you really need to use AHCi mode, be easier to re-install with the controller set to AHCI mode so XP Seyup can install the drivers. Note that most people won't be able to tell the difference between the two modes.
I can't boot with my Dell XP MCE disk either, it's corrupted. Just hangs on boot. Guess they use some pretty cheap DVDs.
You should have been able to boot with the XP SP1 disk though. If that wouldn't boot, there may be a problem with the CD/DVD drive.
You can see if you can order a replacement CD from this page:
You may be able to recover the files from the DVD so you can burn a new one using Roadkil's Unstoppable Copier
. Took me 48 hours to read all the files on the DVD, but it finally got them all.
Unless Dell will give you an image of the Recovery Partition, you aren't going to be able to re-create it. You'll need a copy of MS-DOS 7.1, Ghost 2003 or 2004, the Symantec System Recovery client files, and the XML files to control each of the 5 stages, the Microsoft Sysprep tool, a disk editor that lets you edit sectors, and the batch files that restore the image that you'll have to create with Sysprep and Ghost.
If you want a recovery partition it would be much easier to use Acronis or Ghost, they both have the ability to create a separate partition to store images to be used to restore the system. The advantage with these is you can easily update the image, rather than being suck with an image that is missing the last 2-6 years of updates and changes.
Keep in mind a Recovery Partition is useless if the hard drive fails; with Acronis or Ghost, you can copy the images to an external hard drive and recover the system to a new drive.