Teams resume testing in Spain and Bahrain 10 Feb 2009
With Marchs Australian Grand Prix drawing ever closer, on-track preparations for the 2009 season step up this week with testing at the Spanish circuit of Jerez and at the Bahrain International Circuit.
At both venues, teams will be hoping for better weather after the rainy and windy weather that blighted last months running left them able to complete only a fraction of their scheduled programmes.
After an exclusive shakedown test of their new RB5 at Jerez on Monday, Red Bull will be joined at the track from Tuesday by Renault, Toro Rosso, Williams and McLaren for the start of a four-day session.
Toro Rosso - one of only three teams yet to launch their 2009 car - will continue to field their interim machine, with new signing Sebastien Buemi and the recently reconfirmed Sebastien Bourdais behind the wheel for two days each. Renault have Fernando Alonso and team mate Nelson Piquet scheduled to drive.
At Williams and McLaren the test will be particularly important for Kazuki Nakajima and Heikki Kovalainen as neither has covered any serious running in their respective teams 2009 challengers. Kovalainen didnt complete a single lap in the MP4-24 in January due to heavy rain at Portimao, whilst Nakajima covered just one installation lap in the FW31.
Ferrari, BMW Sauber and Toyota, meanwhile, are journeying further afield to Bahrain in a bid to ensure more dependable weather conditions in a four-day test from Tuesday. The three teams race drivers all covered significant running in their 2009 cars in January at Mugello, Valencia and Portimao respectively, but all will be hoping for dry weather in order to get more familiar with the 2009 slick tyres.
Check back throughout the week for updates on the teams testing progress and the latest images. Note that all schedules are provisional and subject to change.