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Ferrari struggling in testing

THE Ferrari team has had nothing but trouble with the new F300 since serious testing of the car began at Fiorano on January 12. The first couple of days of testing revealed that there were serious problems with the gearbox electronics which resulted in the car continually selecting neutral. The test was called off, as Michael Schumacher had to fly to South Africa for a promotional event, and the Italians called in former test driver Nicola Larini to continue the work, having decided that recently-nominated new test driver Luca Badoer did not have enough experience with the system.

Larini tested through the weekend and the car was then sent off to Spain where it was due to begin testing on Thursday. But the Spanish test was another disaster with Schumacher completing just eight timed laps because of gearbox and throttle electronic problems. Schumacher then had to fly off to another promotional event - this time in Hamburg - and he returned to Jerez on Sunday, hoping to get some decent laps in with the new car. This week's testing will, however, be disrupted as Schumacher is due to be at the annual Marlboro skiing event at Madonna di Campiglio.

While it has been a frustrating time for Schumacher, Eddie Irvine has been doing many hundreds of miles of tire testing for Goodyear with an old F310C.

Schumacher says he is not worried by the problems as he feels that the car is fundamentally quick and all that is now needed is reliability.

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