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Ferrari keeps F2003-GA on ice 12 Mar 2003

The prancing horse on the Ferrari 2002 saw a 1-2 finish at its home circuit.
San Marino Grand Prix, Imola, Italy, 14 April 2002

As Michael Schumacher and manager Willi Weber contemplate a salary offer of $30m from Ferrari beyond 2004, the Scuderia has confirmed that its new car will not appear until the start of the European season in April.

Last weekend's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne marked the first time since Nurburgring 1999 that a red car had not graced the podium but the team played down suggestions that it planned to rush the new car through in time for Malaysia next weekend.

Schumacher said: "I'm confident that our current car is still competitive for Malaysia and Brazil."

Denying winner David Coulthard's assertion that Ferrari had become "rattled", Schumacher said: "If the circumstances hadn't been so unlucky for me I think I would have had a realistic chance to win."

Speaking of Schumacher's pay offer, Weber told Germany's Die Welt newspaper: "I have received an offer from Ferrari that will go beyond 2004. Michael will let me know when he is ready to talk about it."

Meanwhile, team-mate Rubens Barrichello blamed his sixth lap accident on lack of comfort with the mandatory HANS (Head and Neck Support) collar that drivers must wear this season. He told The Guardian: "My concentration wasn't fixed on the track because the HANS device was sitting on my collarbone and hurting like hell."

Teams are permitted to customise the device to avoid this.