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MOTOR RACING: ENGINE HITCH THREAT TO SCHU SUPREMACY.

Byline: KEVIN GARSIDE

HAVING wiped the floor with their rivals in the season's opening two Grand Prix races, Ferrari have found the greatest threat to their title aspirations is from within.

Though Michael Schumacher has predictably dominated testing in Barcelona all week, he suffered engine failure when running with traction control. This uses computers to modulate the engine and prevent wheel spin - and comes into play at the Spanish Grand Prix in April.

Ferrari were one of the teams pressing for a delay because of a lack of time to develop the system alongside their 2001 engines. Unless they sort it out when testing resumes after next week's Brazilian Grand Prix, the door could be open to their rivals.

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn said: "We've tested well at Barcelona with the old car, but when we used the new one with traction control, the engine failed twice. We have work to do to get it right for Spain."

That will be music to the ears of Mika Hakkinen, who claimed McLaren's season will be over unless his ailing car is improved.

"Everyone's talking about getting a better car once the season returns to Europe," he said. "If we don't then we're not going to get it right at all."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 24, 2001
Words:210
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