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Testing resumes; Priaulx returns 10 May 2005

Andy Priaulx (GBR) BMW Team Germany. Guia Touring Car Race, Guia Circuit, Macau, China, 17-21 November 2004. World © Capilitan/Sutton

After an eventful weekend in Spain, Williams commence a three-day testing programme on Tuesday at Italy’s Vallelunga circuit, where BMW’s reigning European Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx will get his first Formula One outing since signing with the team as an official ‘occasional’ tester last month.

Priaulx will run alongside full-time Williams tester Antonia Pizzonia, as the team continue to progress their FW27 machine. He will then hand over to Mark Webber on Wednesday, with the Australian partnering Pizzonia for the rest of the test.

Plenty of other teams will be returning to the test track this week, even though preparing for the next round of the season, the Monaco Grand Prix, is no easy task given the unique nature of the Monte Carlo street circuit.

The main session of the week will take place at Paul Ricard in France, where McLaren, Toyota, Sauber and Renault among the teams expected in action from Wednesday. Barcelona winners McLaren are due to have their full complement of drivers present, with Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz joining Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya in further development work on the team’s MP4-20 machine.

Toyota will be relying on their test drivers to push the TF105 forward following its impressive outing at the Circuit de Catalunya, with Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta running concurrent three-day programmes. Renault are also expected to field two cars, at least one to be piloted by official tester Franck Montagny.

Like Williams, Ferrari will be running solo in Italy. After another disappointing showing in Spain for the world champions, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello will no doubt be eager to get back in the cockpit of F2005 at Fiorano.

Check back throughout the week for all the latest test updates. Note, all schedules are provisional and subject to change.