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Final 2003 season tests get underway 30 Sep 2003

A Ferrari mechanic washes wheels and tyres.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Austrian Grand Prix, Preparations, A1-Ring, Austria, 15 May 2003

This week is the Formula One teams' last chance to test ahead of the all-important final round of the season in Japan. Many of them carried out their Suzuka preparations in the test prior to the US Grand Prix, but some are still expected to hit the track again.

Ferrari have a lead of just three points over Williams at the top of the constructors' standings and both teams will be out in force this week. Each have four-day programmes planned, the former at Mugello in Italy, the latter at Jerez in Spain.

Ferrari will run from Tuesday to Friday and are sure to have several drivers at work. Michael Schumacher may look all but certain of a sixth world championship after his Indy win, but the German will not be taking anything for granted in the run up to the Japanese Grand Prix.

Williams will have Ralf Schumacher and test driver Marc Gene in the cockpit at Jerez, with both men scheduled to run from Wednesday through Saturday. It is no secret that Sir Frank Williams considers the constructors' crown the ultimate prize and the team will be working closely with tyre suppliers Michelin in their bid to prevent Japanese rivals Bridgestone winning on home soil.

McLaren, who lie third in the constructors' championship, will be at Silverstone from Tuesday through Thursday, with their test drivers at the wheel. Alexander Wurz will run on all three days. The Austrian is due to be joined by Darren Turner on Tuesday, and then by Pedro de la Rosa on Wednesday and Thursday.

Things also remain very tight at the lower end of the constructors' championship, with just six points separating Sauber in fifth place and Jordan in ninth, with BAR, Jaguar and Toyota in between. However, of those five teams, only BAR and Toyota are expected to test this week, the former alongside Ferrari at Mugello, the latter with Williams at Jerez.

Check back throughout the week for news on the teams' testing progress. All schedules are provisional and unofficial.