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Focus moves to Jerez, less Webber 12 Jul 2005

Mark Webber (AUS) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, 2 July 2005

Who tests where in the run up to Hockenheim?

The Spanish circuit of Jerez will host this week’s multi-team test, but one man notable by his absence will be Williams’ Mark Webber, who has chosen to sit out the session to allow his French Grand Prix injury more time to heal.

Webber sustained burns to his right thigh at Magny-Cours after a problem with overheating in his cockpit. The injury was aggravated at last weekend’s British Grand Prix and the Australian is not expected to return until the opening day of the German meeting on July 22.

“It wouldn’t be sensible to go to Jerez and do three Grand Prix distances and then try and go to Hockenheim to race,” explained Webber. “Unfortunately every time I get into the car, I set the injury back. But, I’ve got two weeks before I’m back in the car now so I’m pretty hopeful it should be a lot, lot better by then. The burn on the hip was quite painful and after the second stint (of the Silverstone race) became quite raw again.”

In Webber’s absence, Williams testing duties will be carried out by Nico Rosberg, fresh from his GP2 win at Silverstone, plus Antonio Pizzonia and Nick Heidfeld. Rosberg will run throughout the team’s three-day programme, commencing Wednesday, with his colleagues due to spend two days each at Jerez.

The focus of Williams’ work will be further development of the FW27’s Mark II bodywork, which proved unexpectedly problematic in France and Britain, failing to live up to the team’s wind-tunnel predictions. There is also speculation that this week could see both Williams and Toyota run their 2006-spec 2.4 litre V8 engines.

Like their BMW-powered rivals, Toyota will be at Jerez from Wednesday to Friday as they continue to search for the race pace that has recently eluded them, despite strong qualifying performances. Test drivers Ricardo Zonta and Olivier Panis will be at the wheel of the TF105 throughout the session.

Improved reliability will be McLaren’s goal after Kimi Raikkonen’s race at Silverstone was again compromised by a Mercedes engine failure and subsequent grid penalty. Raikkonen will test in Spain on Thursday and Friday, with Juan Pablo Montoya running on Wednesday and Thursday and Alexander Wurz on Wednesday and Friday.

Among the other teams expected at Jerez for the three-day session are Sauber, with race drivers Felipe Massa and Jacques Villeneuve, and championship leaders Renault, who are due to field Giancarlo Fisichella alongside testers Franck Montagny and Heikki Kovalainen.

Elsewhere in Europe, Jordan will be testing at the French circuit of Paul Ricard for two days as they continue to hone their revised EJ15B ahead of a possible Hockenheim race debut. Narain Karthikeyan will be at the wheel on Thursday, with team mate Tiago Monteiro taking over on Friday.

There is a chance Jordan will be joined by fellow Bridgestone runners Ferrari. The world champions are also expected on track at their own Fiorano circuit in Italy as they look to close the performance gap to rivals Renault and McLaren.

Check back throughout the week for the latest updates on the teams’ progress. Note - all schedules are provisional and remain subject to change.