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Ferrari mods get the F300 running

AFTER weeks of problems with the new F300, Ferrari has taken the radical step of botching together a new rear end for the car, using the 1997 suspension to stop heat build up from the exhausts affecting the electronic systems. "Fitting the old suspension system will penalize us a little on aerodynamic performance," admitted team boss Jean Todt, "but we are working on a new overall aerodynamic package for Melbourne."

The testing began on Sunday with the one F300 and an updated F310B but the rear end meant that, finally, the car runs without a problem and can be developed. Schumacher was able to do some much-needed engine development and the team was happy that there were no engine problems until the final day of the test. The program also included much-delayed tire work for Goodyear.

Eddie Irvine had his first taste of the F300 in the course of Wednesday, although the testing that day was spoiled by rain which fell for most of the day. The team has decided not to travel to Spain this week for a session which had been planned at Jerez de la Frontera and will continue to develop the F300 in Italy.

While Ferrari may be under pressure in Formula 1, the car company itself is doing very well at the moment and last week announced record sales of 3581 cars in 1997, an increase of eight percent. It is interesting to note that Ferrari's biggest market (accounting for almost one quarter of the sales) is the United States, while Germany is the second biggest market with 17% of the sales. Ferrari said that the improvement in figures reflected not only more efficient production and sales methods but also the success enjoyed in F1 last year.

The company announced that 47-year-old Fiat executive Paolo Marinsek has been appointed head of Ferrari's production car departments, reporting to chairman Luca di Montezemolo. The sporting side of the business remains under the control ofÊTodt.

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