SEPTEMBER 2, 2003
Testing heats up in Monza
Ralf Schumacher's Williams-BMW caught fire earlier today in the pitlane at Monza. The flames were quickly extinguished by marshals at the circuit after an apparent oil leak flared-up as he pulled in during his first few laps.
A team spokeswoman said, "It was nothing major, it looked worse than it was."
Ralf escaped the incident unharmed and continued his work with the engineers on setup for the upcoming Italian GP, testing brakes as well as tire testing for Michelin. But the fire was not the only bit of bad luck he had for the day - with only two minutes remaining in the afternoon session Ralf spun his car off one of the Lesmo corners. He was brought to the track medical center before being escorted by his brother Michael to a Hospital in Milan for precautionary medical checks.
"He's okay but he's been taken to the hospital for further checks," said a team spokeswoman. "He's walking and the engineers are saying he is okay and everything."
Ferrari was on the track running three drivers in the session. Michael Schumacher, Luca Badoer and Felipe Massa all running the F2003-GA. Their program included aerodynamic and tire testing as well as finding a good setup for the upcoming Italian Grand Prix. The Italian media has given the team a lot of heat after Schumacher was lapped and Barrichello crashed out in Hungary. Now the team will put everything they have into the next two weeks of testing. Tomorrow Schumacher and Badoer will be joined by Barrichello in Monza, and Massa will be running in Fiorano.
All 10 Formula One teams will be picking up testing this week in Monza after a six-week ban. Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner will be standing in for injured Ralph Firman at Jordan.
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