Ferrari #1 Michael Schumacher gave the new F2004 its track debut today [Friday] at Fiorano, the German reporting that it behaved 'very well straight out of the box'.

Following on from his three days at Valenica, in last year's car, the F2003-GA, Schumi completed 34 laps, his best a 56.835 seconds, a time according to reports by Italian newspaper, Gazzetta dello Sport, which meant it had gone faster than any other new Ferrari car on its debut.

For the record the quickest lap at Fiorano is a 56.338s, set last March by Schumacher in the F2003-GA.

Reflecting on what Ferrari branded 'a special day', the German was very positive about his first laps behind the wheel of the Scuderia's latest machine.

"I am quite happy with the first testing day of our new car," said the six times F1 world champion, "I immediately had a feeling for it. The F2004 was handling very well straight out of the box and we achieved good and consistent lap times.

"Personally I find it nice to have such good news and see such good mood on the birthday of our president's daughter Maria."

Test driver Luca Badoer meanwhile was also in action, the Italian carrying out an electronics programme at the wheel of an F2003-GA. Badoer completed 79 laps, the quickest in 57.311s.

Testing continues at this track tomorrow [Saturday], again with Schumacher and Badoer driving an F2004 and an F2003-GA respectively.



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