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Teams return to the test track 21 Mar 2006

McLaren Mercedes MP4/21 front wing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 9 March 2006 Robert Doornbos (NDL) Red Bull Racing RB2 Third Driver and the pit lollipop.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, 17 March 2006 Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams test driver. Formula One Testing, Valencia, Spain, 31 January - 3 February 2006. World ©  Capilitan/Sutton Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Toyota Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 9 March 2006 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 10 March 2006

After back-to-back races in Bahrain and Malaysia, this week is the teams’ first chance to go testing since the start of the season and put the lessons they have learnt at those races into practice. They will be in action at circuits across Europe, with the biggest session taking place at Paul Ricard in the south of France.

McLaren commence a four-day programme there on Tuesday, although poor weather looks set to limit the amount of work testers Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett will get through on the first day.

With most of the race drivers heading directly from Malaysia to Australia for round three of the championship, test drivers will assume responsibility for much of this week’s running.

Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta will be on duty for Toyota, who join McLaren at Paul Ricard for three days from Wednesday, while Heikki Kovalainen is due at the wheel for Renault. No time off for the BMW Sauber racers, however, with both Nick Heidfeld and Jacques Villeneuve expected on track in the F1.06.

Williams and Red Bull have chosen the Spanish circuit of Valencia for their pre-Melbourne testing. Both start work on Wednesday with the former due to run for three days, the latter for two. Meanwhile, Ferrari, as usual, are expected to run their own private tests at their Fiorano circuit in Italy.

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