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Ferrari Happenings

Sao Paulo, 29th March

One Ferrari F 300 on the podium thanks to Michael Schumacher's third place. Eddie Irvine finished eighth. Eddie went straight into fourth place at the start, followed by Wurz and Schumacher, who took fifth place at the end of the first lap. Michael moved up to fourth at the start of lap ten at the end of the straight and began to close on Frentzen. Positions remained unchanged up until the first pit stops. Schumacher made his on lap 26 with Frentzen and Irvine following on the next lap with Villeneuve pitting on lap 29. At this point the order was: Hakkinen, Coulthard, Wurz, Schumacher, Frentzen, with Irvine in ninth. The leaders maintained position, even when the two McLarens made their only stop. Frentzen stopped again on lap 45, followed by Wurz making his only stop and Fisichella (lap 47.) Villeneuve made a second stop on lap 48, while Schumacher delayed his as much as possible stopping on lap 53. The engine stalled, but the mechanics quickly got it going again and Michael rejoined ahead of Frentzen in third place. Irvine pitted on lap 55 and came out 8th and neither F 300 changed position until the flag.

Jean Todt
"We have one car on the podium which is what we knew was a realistic target. The two cars ahead of us only made one pit stop and we did two. We know where we must work to reduce the gap. We got both our cars to the finish without any problem. It is always good to finish a race and there are still 14 to go before the Championship is over. We must work hard with Goodyear on the tyre front and with that in mind we will be testing for three days next week in Barcelona. The new 47d engine fitted to Michael's car worked well, but on its own this is not enough to reduce the gap in performance. The team did a great job, especially in getting Michael's engine fired up again on the F300."

Michael Schumacher
"I think we did the best we could with the equipment we had today, so there is no reason to be unhappy. I would like to congratulate the team which did a very good job. I made a very bad start but I managed to get past Wurz again. Then I overtook Eddie who was slower than me. It would have made no difference if we had only made one stop and at least we were never threatened for third place, even when the engine stalled during the second pit stop. The team did an excellent job to get me out on the track again as quickly as possible. For Argentina we will have some developments which I hope will allow us to challenge the McLarens as those guys must be falling asleep out there!"

Eddie Irvine
"This was a disappointing day after what had been a positive weekend, with a well set-up car up until the race. I made a good start and got between Michael and Wurz, but a few laps later Michael got past me. I was able to match Heinz-Harald's pace but my car was lacking in straight line speed, I don't know why. I flat spotted my right front and dropped back further. I got stuck behind Alesi after my stop and just could not get past him, which was pretty much the end of my race. My other big problem is that I have had the flu since yesterday and physically I was in very bad shape during the race. For the next race we will have some improvements which I hope should put us closer to the McLarens."

Schumacher 184, Irvine 185
air 24-20 C, track 33-21

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