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Ferrari gears up for Imola 09 Apr 2003

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2002 checks his seating position.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Brazilian Grand Prix, Preparations, Interlagos, Brazil, 3 April 2003

Scuderia Ferrari continued its build-up to next week's all-important San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, the first European leg of the world championship, by testing its new F2003-GA at Mugello yesterday.

The team's performance in the next few races will have a crucial effect on the flow of the title chase, with five-time world champion Michael Schumacher lagging 18 points behind series leader Kimi Raikkonen after the three opening races of the season.

So far the F2003-GA has been a little fragile, with suspension breakages causing two big accidents on its last two outings. This time, however, everything went to plan. Both Luca Badoer and Felipe Massa drove the new cars. The Italian, fully recovered from the shunt he had last time out in the F2003-GA, covered 55 laps for a best of 1m 21.128s. Running to a slightly different programme, Massa covered 76 laps for a best time of 1m 21.682s. No problems were reported.

Today Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello are due to take over.

Meanwhile, at Monza, Sauber Petronas had exclusive use of the autodromo. Nick Heidfeld covered 79 laps, testing revised aerodynamic parts first seen in Interlagos, and working on tyre development and aerodynamic set-up work for the Canadian and Italian Grands Prix. Again, the team had a troublefree day.