No let up in teams' punishing development schedule
Its proving to be a very busy winter for the Formula One test teams who are back on track at Jerez today (Tuesday), with this weeks session at the Spanish circuit due to run right through to Sunday.
Getting things started on Tuesday will be Ferrari, McLaren and Toyota. The world champions will again be using test drivers Luca Badoer and Marc Gene for their four-day programme, with Rubens Barrichello also a possible contributor.
McLaren have a six-day marathon in prospect. Juan Pablo Montoya and Pedro de la Rosa will be driving on Tuesday and Wednesday, handing over to Kimi Raikkonen and Alexander Wurz on Thursday and Friday. Raikkonen then flies solo on Saturday, with de la Rosa completing the teams programme on Sunday.
At Toyota, 2005 team mates Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli, now fully recovered from his eye problem, will lead the Japanese teams development effort from Tuesday through Thursday. Trulli makes way for test driver Ricardo Zonta on Friday.
Expected to enter the fray on Wednesday are Williams, Red Bull, Renault and BAR. At Williams, Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia will again be joined by 2005 hopeful Nick Heidfeld, enjoying his second successive week of testing with the BMW-powered team, who have a three-day programme planned.
Red Bull will be in action for four days at Jerez. Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi have carried out the bulk of their testing so far, but there is media speculation that another name could appear in the R5 cockpit this week as the team seek to finalise their 2005 race line-up.
The good news for all the teams is that the weather should be much improved on last week, when rain hampered their progress virtually every day, forcing them to switch their focus to wet tyre development. Current forecasts predict cloud but no rain, with ambient temperature highs of around 15 degrees Celsius.
Sauber will be absent from Jerez - they next test at Valencia on January 14-16 - and Jordan and Minardi also have no further sessions planned until 2005.
Note, all schedules are provisional and subject to change.