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Pre-France testing schedule 22 Jun 2004

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) tests the new McLaren Mercedes MP4/19B for the first time. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, 1 June 2004.

With the summer break approaching fast, this week’s testing ahead of the French Grand Prix could be among the most important of the 2004 season, with major sessions planned at Jerez and Barcelona.

McLaren are expected to use their track time to make a decision on whether to introduce the heavily revised MP4-19B at the Magny Cours race on July 4. The Woking team have a four-day session planned at Jerez, with test drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz running Tuesday and Wednesday, before handing over to race colleagues David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen for Thursday and Friday.

Williams, who are also expected to have an updated car available soon, will also be at Jerez. Ralf Schumacher is almost certain to miss the test following his heavy accident at Indianapolis on Sunday, but test drivers Marc Gene and Antonio Pizzonia are due in the FW26 cockpit on Wednesday through Friday. Third driver Gene will be particularly keen to get some mileage under his belt, just in case he is required to deputise for Ralf in France.

Unsurprisingly, Ferrari will not be resting on their laurels, despite yet another one-two victory at the weekend. Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer are expected to share the testing duties over four days at Barcelona from Tuesday.

Sauber will be there too from Wednesday, with Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa in action. Joining them on a three-day, two-car programme will be Jaguar, while back at Jerez, Toyota will have three drivers behind the wheel of the TF104 between Tuesday and Friday. Ricardo Zonta runs solo on the first two days, before handing over to Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta for the final two.

And with Renault and BAR among the other constructors expected to be in action, it looks sure to be a busy week. Check back daily for updates on the teams’ progress.