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Many teams take a break before Malaysian Grand Prix

MANY Formula One drivers took a rest from testing this week and had a holiday ahead of the season's final race of the season in Malaysia.

Newly crowned world champion Michael Schumacher took a break in Asia and Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello flew to Surfers Paradise in Australia for a rest while the team's test driver Luca Badoer put a car through its paces at the Fiorano and Mugello circuits in Italy.

McLaren's Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard rested as tester Olivier Panis worked at Valencia. Likewise, BMW-Williams pair Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button took a break while Juan Pablo Montoya tested at Magny Cours and British American Racing's Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta rested while Darren Manning test drove at the Vairano circuit.

Benetton pair Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz also had a break in the Far East as the team decided not to test prior to Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Jordan will not test again until December and have sent a hydraulic pump that failed on Heinz-Harald Frentzen's car at Suzuka back to its manufacturer for examination.

"It is the same specification of pump we have been using for four years," said Jordan managing director Trevor Foster. "It has been sent back to its manufacturer as it was well within its normal life span."

Sauber's drivers Mika Salo and Pedro Diniz also had the week off as their team did not test and instead worked at their Hinwil base in Switzerland on a production schedule for next season's C20 car.

Jaguar drivers Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert also stayed out in the Far East after the Japanese Grand Prix as the team did not test, while most of the Prost team took a break in Bali before the Malaysian Grand Prix. Team boss Alain Prost, however, returned to France and the team's experienced driver Jean Alesi went to Japan for a rest.

Minardi have flown out extra spare parts for their cars in Malaysia and announced that it is seeking to recruit more technicians to its staff for next season.

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