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A shakedown is a period of testing or a trial journey undergone by a ship, aircraft or other craft and its crew before being declared operational. Statistically, a proportion of the components will fail after a relatively short period of use, and those that survive this period can be expected to last for a much longer, and more importantly, predictable life-span. For example, if a bolt has a hidden flaw introduced during manufacturing, it will not be as reliable as other bolts of the same type.
Most racing cars require a "shakedown" test before being used at a race meeting. For example, on May 3, 2006, Luca Badoer performed shakedowns on all three of Ferrari's Formula One cars at the Fiorano Circuit, in preparation for the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. Badoer was the Ferrari F1 team's test driver at the time, while the main drivers were Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa.
Bathtub curve - the engineering concept behind shakedowns.
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