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Testing update - Friday runs for title rivals 06 Oct 2003

(L to R): Former Jaguar driver Antonio Pizzonia (BRA) with Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Chief Operations Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, United States Grand Prix, Preparations, Indianapolis, USA, 25 September 2003

Ferrari and Williams continued testing on Friday as they continued preparations for the next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix - the race that will decide which of them is crowned 2003 constructors' world champion.

Ferrari were again at Mugello, where Luca Badoer was joined by Felipe Massa. The day's technical programme centred on the continuation of tyre evaluation and electronics testing for the crucial Suzuka race.

Meanwhile, Williams finished off their four-day Jerez programme, with Marc Gene and Antonio Pizzonia again at the wheel.

Commenting on the team's progress over the week, Chief Operations Engineer Sam Michael said: "Ralf (Schumacher) and Marc started off the four day test and then Antonio took over from Ralf at the half way point. All of the drivers have done a good job, Ralf on wet setup, Marc on race simulation and tyre testing while Antonio was working on long runs for mechanical setup. Based on his lap times, 12 months out of a Williams has done nothing to slow Antonio down; he is still quick.

"There was some rain and bad weather which enabled us to work on our wet performance with Michelin. We also had quite a lot of dry running which enabled us to progress the electronics, mechanical set up and new aerodynamic parts for Suzuka. We also had an extensive tyre test with Michelin, confirming new tyre compounds for Suzuka.

"With the constructors' title still wide open and only one race to go until the curtain closes on the 2003 season, the team predominantly focused on set up work for Suzuka with all three drivers concentrating on chassis, tyre and aero development testing. Marc Gene also completed a race distance with the new BMW P84 engine."

Toyota also completed their week's work at Jerez, with test driver Ricardo Zonta taking over from Ryan Briscoe. "We did a lot of work today specifically in preparation for next week's Japanese GP in Suzuka," explained the Brazilian.

"We completed a lot of laps, working on set-up of the car, Michelin tyre testing, as well as running the new spec engine, which we will use in Suzuka. It was a very good day and I think we can be confident for next week's race."

Ferrari carried out their fifth and final day of testing at Fiorano on Saturday. Felipe Massa took to the track, working on a Bridgestone tyre development programme, at the wheel of the F2003-GA.

Unofficial Friday times from Mugello:
1. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:22.535
2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:23.048

Unofficial Friday times from Jerez:
1. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams, 1:17.853
2. Marc Gene, Williams, 1:18.255
3. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota, 1:19.300