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AUGUST 19, 2000

Ferrari sporting director Todt optimistic after tests

FERRARI sporting director Jean Todt reflected on his team's tests at Fiorano and Mugello this week in optimistic mood.

Todt was pleased with the progress made by Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and test driver Luca Badoer on a new 049 engine and front wing that will be used at the Belgian Grand Prix on August 27.

He also insisted that the dominant performance of Olivier Panis for McLaren in tests at Silverstone did not concern him or the team.

"We should be ready for Belgium," said Todt. "The results of this test session with the package for Spa have been good but I don't think Ferrari is the only team to have prepared something for Belgium. As always, you can't tell how much the others have improved.

"We're not too worried about Panis's times for McLaren at Silverstone because he set them with 2001 tires.

"Barrichello also tried them and was immediately one and a half seconds faster than the previous day. These things are not important for the moment and shouldn't give anyone the wrong impression.

"Basically, last Sunday didn't really change things that much. Now we are two points behind, but as we have seen, all it takes is one race to overturn the situation."