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Pre-France testing gets underway in Barcelona 12 Jun 2008

Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA) Renault R28 trails a little smoke. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Barcelona, Spain, 17 April 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.08. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Barcelona, Spain, 17 April 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF108. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Barcelona, Spain, 17 April 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton

With this year’s sole North-American event complete, the Formula One fraternity returns to Europe this week ahead of the forthcoming French Grand Prix. But before setting out for Magny-Cours, the majority of teams will attend a three-day test session at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya from Thursday.

One team keen to build on their Montreal performance will be BMW Sauber. The Canadian victors will field their F1.08 for all three days, with Montreal race winner Robert Kubica and team mate Nick Heidfeld scheduled to share the cockpit.

After a couple of days’ reflection, BMW Sauber’s championship rivals Ferrari and McLaren will be eager to make up lost ground following their disappointing Canadian results. Driving duties for McLaren will be undertaken by the British team’s test line-up, with Gary Paffett in the car for the first two days and Pedro de la Rosa taking over the MP4-23 on the final day.

Toyota will also be pushing hard, as they attempt to extract more performance from the TF108 after its strong showing in Canada, with Timo Glock and tester Kamui Kobayashi at the wheel. Japanese rivals Honda will be in attendance too, with their former test driver and Super Aguri refugee Anthony Davidson returning to the cockpit.

Nico Rosberg will make an appearance for Williams, alongside team tester and fellow German Nico Hulkenberg. Renault will field French development driver Romain Grosjean on Thursday, then Nelson Piquet on Friday and Saturday. Red Bull and Toro Rosso will also be in action, with Force India the only team not scheduled to test.

Once again, the biggest concern for the teams in Barcelona could well be the weather, with showery conditions forecast for at least part of the test. Check back during the week for the latest pictures and news on the teams’ progress. Note - schedules provisional and subject to change.