Barcelona test heralds start of 2008 season 13 Nov 2007
On-track preparations for the 2008 season begin in earnest on Tuesday, as the Formula One teams resume testing with a three-day session at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.
All 11 teams are expected in action and although its too early for the debut of any 2008 machines, the engineers and drivers will be busy working on two of the key rule changes for next season - the banning of traction control and the obligatory use of a standard ECU to control their cars engine electronics.
As far as driver line-ups go, expect a mix of familiar racers and testers, as well as a few surprises. Michael Schumacher will be back in the cockpit for Ferrari, conducting his first proper session in this years F2007. While his input will doubtless prove valuable to the champions, the test is not expected to precede a full-time return for the German.
The Spyker team, now Force India, will be running a distinctive new interim livery plus no fewer than five drivers, as they consider their 2008 options. The teams highly-rated racer Adrian Sutil will be joined by former Red Bull team mates Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi - both hunting race seats for next season - as well as regular testers Roldan Rodriguez and Giedo van der Garde.
There will be Indian interest elsewhere too, as Madras-born driver Karun Chandhok gets his first taste of Formula One power with Red Bull. Chandhok, who has been backed by the Austrian energy-drink company for the past couple of years, scored his first GP2 win earlier this season and is now hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Narain Karthikeyan by stepping up into Formula One racing.
And Red Bull Racings sister team, Toro Rosso, will be bringing a French flavour back to Formula One, as their 2008 signing Sebastien Bourdais - who replaces Liuzzi - gets back behind the wheel of the STR02, fresh from his swansong Champ Car victory in Mexico at the weekend.
As always, Formula1.com will bring you breaking news, daily reports and the latest images from testing, so check back throughout the week for the latest on the teams progress in Barcelona.