Ferrari has confirmed that its 2006 challenger will be presented at Mugello on January 24th but prior to that the new car is expected to have its track debut at Fiorano next week. Ferrari has already been testing its V8 engine in the F2004M chassis and the new car was fired up for the first time yesterday.
"We started the car (on Thursday) for the first time and at the beginning of next week we are going to start private testing at Fiorano," team principal Jean Todt said at Ferrari's annual ski event at Madonna di Campiglio.
"Not with a black car but with a red car with no writing on it, so something different in comparison to what we have done in the past. There is a possibility that we will run this Monday and then we will do some tests for a few days with Michael (Schumacher) in Fiorano."
"After that, we are going to do some tests in our workshops and then on Tuesday the 24th, we are going to present the car in Mugello during some testing and we are going to present it with our partners and the press."
There has been much speculation surrounding Schumacher's future and whom may replace him at Ferrari in 2007 should he decided to retire at the end of this season, but Todt maintained that the team was focusing on 2006. He commented that Schumacher would make up his mind when he was ready and there was no pressure from Ferrari for him to do so.
"When he (Schumacher) feels happy to decide which direction he wants to take in his career it will be convenient for us. It is up to us to organise ourselves in order to respond to the situation and to make sure that Ferrari is not penalised and can have all the elements in hand to be a winning team."
As for 2006, Todt has high hopes but after the difficulties of last year he is not predicting an easy ride. "Our ambitions for 2006 are high," he stated. "I never said that we are going to win everything in 2006, this is not part of my nature even if I would like to see Ferrari win everything."
"But what I can say is that we are going to make greatest possible effort, we are going to do our best, we have the determination, we have the motivation so as to try to have a great season in 2006."
"Of course, we do know it's going to be difficult as in all years. It is not going to be easy, but as I mentioned, it has never been easy and it's part of the rules of the game. If it was easy, we would not be interested in racing."