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News review - January to March 18 Dec 2006

Scott Speed (USA) Scuderia Toro Rosso. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 12 January 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton Jacques Villeneuve (CDN) BMW Sauber F1 Team and Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Team. BMW Sauber Launch, Valencia, Spain, 17 January 2006. World ©  Sutton Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 21 October 2006 Gerhard Berger (AUT) Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Part Owner.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 10 March 2006 Valentino Rossi (ITA) tests for Ferrari. Formula One Testing, Valencia, Spain, 31 January - 3 February 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton

From Valentino Rossi's test for Ferrari to the belated arrival of Super Aguri, we take a look back at the stories that caught our attention during the first three months of 2006...

January
The New Year gets underway with a bang, as Williams announce they are to appoint long-time McLaren tester Alexander Wurz as their official reserve driver. There is also confirmation from Honda that Anthony Davidson will continue as the team’s third driver.

BMW Sauber launch their 2006 challenger, the F1.06, in front of more than 500 journalists and guests in Spain. A week later, race driver Jacques Villeneuve sings the new car’s praises during testing at Valencia. Former Sauber driver Felipe Massa gets his first taste of the 2006 Ferrari. The Formula One community don their ski boots at the annual charity Kitzbuehel weekend on Austria’s ski slopes.

Honda unveil their 2006 car. Following the Japanese company’s takeover of BAR, the RA106 is the first Formula One car launched by a Honda works team since 1968. The FIA belatedly confirm Honda-powered Super Aguri as the 11th entry to the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship. Bridgestone reveal they are to supply the new Japanese outfit with tyres.

February
After a trying first day in the cockpit for Ferrari, MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi sparkles during testing at Valencia, heightening rumours of a switch to Formula One racing. FIA President Max Mosley is honoured by the French government and made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre de la Legion d’Honneur. Midland, the first Russian entry in the 56-year history of the world championship, unveil their 2006 car - the Toyota-powered M16.

Red Bull Racing say they have fixed the engine cooling problems that have blighted early tests with the RB2. With testing time running out, Michael Schumacher declares he expects the Ferraris to match the pace of the Renaults. The FIA announces the cancellation of the 2006 Belgian Grand Prix, to allow time for the completion of extensive refurbishments at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Former driver Gerhard Berger takes a 50 percent stake in the Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso team. Super Aguri confirm Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide as their 2006 driver line-up and test for the first time in Barcelona, running a revised 2002 Arrows chassis.

March
Super Aguri confirm former Renault tester Franck Montagny as their third driver for 2006. After a four-year absence from commentating, veteran British Formula One broadcaster Murray Walker announces his return to the paddock as an official ambassador for Honda. Scott Speed debuts for Toro Rosso at the season’s first race in Bahrain, making him the first American Formula One driver since Michael Andretti in 1993. Patrick Faure, President of Renault’s Formula One team, retires and is replaced by Alain Dassas. The FIA clarify their plans for engine homologation from 2008, lengthening the freeze on engine technology from three years to five.

More news from 2006 - April to June, July to September and October to December.