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Final countdown to Imola 13 Apr 2004

Race winner Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2002.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Race Day, Imola, Italy, 20 April 2003

This week is the team’s last chance to track test developments ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola on April 25. With the season-opening flyaway races now complete, several constructors have significant performance upgrades planned for the start of their European campaigns.

Paul Ricard will serve as this week’s main venue, with four teams expected at the French circuit between Tuesday and Friday. Renault will be using a new specification of their V10 at Imola and also have chassis upgrades R24 planned for San Marino. Testing for them this week will be Fernando Alonso and Franck Montagny.

Like Renault, Jaguar and Williams are both expected to run three-day programmes at Paul Ricard from Wednesday to Friday. Williams, who lie joint third in the standings with BAR heading to Imola, are due to have Juan Pablo Montoya and Marc Gene at the wheel of the FW26 as the BMW-powered squad bid to close the performance gap to Ferrari. They will also have Antonio Pizzonia at Vairano early in the week.

Toyota have a very busy week planned. The Japanese team are due at Paul Ricard from Tuesday through Friday, with driving duties shared between race regulars Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta, and Australian tester Ryan Briscoe, all at the wheel of the TF104. In addition, third driver Ricardo Zonta will head a two-day programme in the TF103 at Estoril in Portugal from Thursday.

Ferrari have won at San Marino the last two years, and after their performance so far in 2004, no one would bet against another home win for the champions. They will, of course, be taking no chances though, and have a packed testing schedule planned. Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Luca Badoer are all due to run at Fiorano between Monday and Friday, with Badoer also scheduled to test at Vairano.

Finally, Jordan will be staying close to home, with a three-day session planned at Silverstone on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Race drivers Nick Heidfeld and Giorgio Pantano will be in action with the Ford-powered EJ14.

Note, all schedules are provisional and subject to change. Check back for reports on the teams’ progress throughout the week.