F2003 to run in February

Ferrari designer Rory Byrne has confirmed the F2003 will have its first run in February, although the team may not use it for the start of the season. The car is a development of this year's record breaking chassis and Byrne believes it will ...

Ferrari designer Rory Byrne has confirmed the F2003 will have its first run in February, although the team may not use it for the start of the season. The car is a development of this year's record breaking chassis and Byrne believes it will consolidate Ferrari's achievements. Speaking at a function in Johannesburg last week, Byrne said the F2002 had many improvements and the F2003 was a refined version.

"We have refined this year's car, and it will run in early February," he said. "Even if we don't race it immediately, we will ensure that it builds on our successes. The F2002 was a completely integrated design, one which made small leaps in almost every engineering area over the 2001. We made improvements everywhere -- some you could see, like in aerodynamics; some, like suspension details, you could not because they were hidden -- but the transmission was special."

Byrne added that the gearbox was a special feature: "It was smaller and lighter than anything made before, and had faster, more positive shifting mechanisms over previous designs. This, I think, gave us our biggest single improvement."

The designer also paid tribute to the motivation Michael Schumacher had given to the team: "Michael just loves driving; just loves it," Byrne enthused. "Even when he is not on the test schedule he calls up or arrives and pitches in. And, without doubt, his motivation has lifted Ferrari when times have been hard. He has come to the factory, spoken to the people, and explained things. But, above all, he has shown that he gives as good as he takes."

Byrne doesn't think the recent changes to the rules decided by team bosses and the FIA will make much difference to racing as the technical regulations are the same: "The changes won't improve the racing or overtaking," he commented. "Because the technical regulations have not changed, only the sporting ones."

"This year's design parameters were the same as last year's, which, basically, are the same as next year's. That brings stability, which is a good thing, but also stagnation, so I don't think we will see much change. The tyre rule may help things slightly, but that is about the only significant change."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher
Teams Ferrari