Formula One World Champions Ferrari will start the 2002 season with last year's F2001 vehicle because of reliability fears over their new car, the team's sporting director Jean Todt has said.
Germany's Michael Schumacher has been satisfied with the performance of the new F2002 in testing, but Todt said the old car would be used in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 3rd.
"The new car has proved to be very quick right from the start, but we do not have sufficient time at our disposal to be entirely sure about its total reliability for the first round of the season," said Todt in a team statement.
"Therefore, we have decided to go to Melbourne with the F2001 which, even in this winter's tests, has proved to be very competitive and reliable.
"We think it will be able to bring home valuable points for the championship. Next week, we will continue our on-track development of the F2002, as well as fine-tuning the F2001 for the first race."
Earlier this week, Schumacher hinted he was ready to use the new car in Melbourne next month, but Ferrari made the decision to use the F2001 on Friday.
"The new car's debut was very promising," the four times world champion said on Monday. "I had a good feeling the first moment I was driving the F2002."
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