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Ferrari reveals the new F1-2000

FERRARI unveiled its package for the 2000 season at Maranello last week with the intention of helping Michael Schumacher or Rubens Barrichello to become World Champion this year. "The 1999 car was a good, reliable car which only twice broke down and which was also extremely fast," said technical director Ross Brawn. "The only flaw was a lack of performance in the first races. By mid-season the car was very competitive. This year we have extended development time before the season so we can be more competitive in the first race."

Brawn said that the new car - codenamed F1-2000 - is an evolution of the 1999 design but with a new engine, revised aerodynamics, electronics, suspension and weight distribution. It is lighter than the F399 and has a lower center of gravity.

The big question mark will be the reliability of the all-new 049 V10 engine, which has been designed by Paolo Martinelli's engine development team. The team says that the engine is more powerful and has a better power delivery than the 1999 unit. It has a completely new engine block which was produced using microfusion technology, while the cylinder heads are an evolution of the previous units.

"Our goal is obvious," said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, "but words mean little. The track will give the answer as to the abilities of this car."

Ferrari's sporting director Jean Todt said that there will not be a number one driver at Ferrari. "If Rubens is faster than Michael he will be in front," said the Frenchman. "If he is better he will get full support."

Todt added that Schumacher will do less of the testing this season and will share the work with Barrichello and Luca Badoer. Schumacher said that he felt in recent years he has done too much. The German said that he is now fully recovered from his leg injuries and is fit and ready for the new season, but when the testing began on Wednesday at the team's Fiorano test circuit Schumacher did only a handful of laps in the new car before having to stop with a neck problem. Michael reckoned that the stiff neck had been caused by standing in a draft during the presentation of the new car. Rubens Barrichello took over testing and did 24 laps.

"The car seemed strong," Barrichello said, "but there was not enough time to complete all the adjustments to the driving position to suit me."

Barrichello continued the following day but completed only six laps in the new car before stopping because of a fuel pressure problem. Rubens switched to an old F399 and completed 33 laps in the old car. On Saturday he was back in the new car again and completed a total of 82 laps with a best time of 1m00.88s.

Badoer continued the testing on Sunday.

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