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The testing race begins

FORMULA 1 teams do not stay idle for long. McLaren and Ferrari were both due to start tests in Europe two days after the Argentine GP, Ferrari at Monza for three days and McLaren planning a three-day session at the little-known Idi Ada testing facility near Barcelona, in Spain. This is a five mile long oval track to the north-west of Barcelona, in the middle of nowhere, and is used mainly for aerodynamic mapping.

The big tests will begin at Jerez on April 16 with Sauber and Benetton expected to spend four or five days in action. Williams, McLaren, Tyrrell and Arrows will all be in action at Silverstone between April 17-19, while Ligier is planning a three-day test at Nogaro, and Ferrari will be at Mugello.

Ferrari has actually been testing while the race team has been in South America, with test driver Nicola Larini running engine reliability tests for two days at Mugello.

Rumors that Ferrari is planning to ditch the F310 design seems to be a little exaggerated but they are causing problems nonetheless, and last week Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo contacted several Italian newspapers denying that there is any intention of changing the car or the team structure.

Michael Schumacher backed up his boss: "We don't have to improve in just one area," he said. "We have not yet done any real testing to develop the car. We have a lot of issues we are trying to improve. We know the direction in which we have to go. It will just take time."

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