Schumacher Breaks Fiorano Record with New Ferrari

World Champion Michael Schumacher got off to a flying start with the new Ferrari F2003-GA today, setting a blistering pace at the Fiorano circuit.

Schumacher Breaks Fiorano Record with New Ferrari

World Champion Michael Schumacher got off to a flying start with the new Ferrari F2003-GA today, setting a blistering pace at the Fiorano circuit.

The German, who debuted the new machine this morning, set a new lap record of 57.045, more than four tenths of a second quicker than with the old F2002. The Italian circuit was resurfaced back in August last year, and Schumacher's best lap with the F2002 after the new tarmac was laid down had been 58.620. Former Ferrari test driver Luciano Burti had set a quickest time of 58.414 in December.

The track record with the old tarmac was 57.476, set by Schumacher himself back in July last year. The Fiorano track should now be slower after being resurfaced since then.

Watched by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and sporting director Jean Todt on a cold morning at Fiorano, Schumacher completed 20 laps before lunch with a best time of 58.291 seconds.

That compared to the 58.620 seconds he set in the F2002 on its first run last February. He then returned in the afternoon to break the record.

"Gianni Agnelli would have been happy with this car and this team," said Schumacher at the end of the day. "We have achieved an excellent result with great reliability today. I'm very happy about this first day of testing."

The F2002, introduced at last year's Brazilian Grand Prix after a Williams one-two in Malaysia, was beaten only once during the course of the season as dominant Ferrari roared to 15 wins in 17 races.

Schumacher was on the podium in every race and won 11.

The new car, named after the late Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli, is not due to be used in race conditions until the season returns to Europe for the San Marino Grand Prix in April after the three opening 'flyaway' rounds of the Championship.

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