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APRIL 7, 1997

Schumacher quick at Mugello

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER flew back to Europe after the Brazilian Grand Prix to test for Ferrari at Mugello, outside Florence in Italy. The test was designed to put more mileage on the yet-to-be-raced Ferrari V10 "Step Two" 046 engine and began on Tuesday with the team's test driver Gianni Morbidelli completing 35 laps of the track.

The following day Schumacher took over but ran only "Step One" engines as he tire-tested, completing 45 laps. On Thursday he used the newer engines to run a race distance, although he had to abandon the test three laps before it was due to finish when the Ferrari suffered a hydraulic leak. The engine proved to be quick, setting a fastest lap of 1m25.25s - a new lap record at Mugello.

While Schumacher was busy in Italy, Benetton and Jordan both tested at Silverstone. Jean Alesi flew back from South America to try out a new front suspension geometry for the Benetton B197 and completed 21 lap of the circuit, while Giancarlo Fisichella was also in action, shaking down a new Jordan chassis which is destined to become his race car, after the Argentine GP. This will mean that the team will have a chassis free to become the team's test car.