Michael Schumacher has said he hopes to be using the Ferarri F2002 as soon as possible, but only if it proves as fast and reliable as the F2001 he drove to victory in the Australian Grand Prix yesterday. The team have been surprised at the pace of the modified 2001 car which Schumacher and team mate Rubens Barrichello topped the time sheets with in free practices over the Grand Prix weekend.
Barrichello took pole position at Albert Park but was taken out of play at the first corner in a pile up that saw nine cars abruptly removed from the race. Schumacher had an early battle with Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya but the German triumphed and went on to win the race.
The F2001 used many new developments this weekend and Schumacher was surprised at doing so well with the car, but believes other teams will improve in performance by Malaysia. Therefore Ferrari need to have the F2002 ready to roll.
"I did not think we could win here, but things change quickly and from the next race I expect it to be much closer." Schumacher said. "We would like to use the new car as soon as possible, but only if it is better than this one and reliable. The team will be testing with it next week."
Team Principal Jean Todt said they would be working intensively on the new car back in Itlay this week: "I must say we did not expect to be this far ahead with the F2001." He admitted. "Now we head back to Maranello for an intensive week of testing, working on development of the F2002 and tyres."