Veteran Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer could be seen in the Sauber-Petronas C23 this year, after Scuderia boss, Jean Todt, admitted they could press him into action on the Friday prior to a race weekend, in order to benefit both teams.

Sauber, along with the other teams that finished fifth or below in the constructors' championship last year, will be allowed to run at third car during Friday practice, however team boss, Peter Sauber has recently admitted that the Swiss squad is unlikely to do so, as they quite simply can't afford it.

As such, with relations between Sauber and Ferrari now so close, the former is almost a 'junior' team, Ferrari may opt to pay for the Swiss team to run a third car, in exchange for a sharing of information. Such a situation would help the Maranello based squad, and Sauber and as it would give them more mileage, and crucially more data on the Bridgestone tyres.

How Ferrari's chief rivals will take news of such suggestions remains to be seen, although McLaren and Williams, will obviously be less than pleased, as it does seem to be against the spirit of the regulations. Although, it must be stressed it does not break the rules, and as such is an option that Ferrari may well choose.

Todt speaking at the launch of the new F2004 on Monday, confirmed to Reuters that they may choose to do this.

He noted: "Luca is able to test the third car for a team that is between fifth and tenth place. Whether we decide to do it or not is speculation. But if we decide to do it, we can."

Sauber's Felipe Massa tested for Ferrari last year, and this season he will continue to do odd tests for the Scuderia, providing it doesn't interfere with his commitments to Sauber. Team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella may also get to test for Ferrari, should circumstances dictate it is desirable. Sauber are of course, also supplied by engines from Ferrari - a relationship that has been going on since 1997.

Badoer, meanwhile would be allowed to test on the Friday, because although he has competed in 49 grand's prix, his last race came back in 1999, conveniently meaning he has not competed in six or more F1 races in the last two years.

 

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