Teams regroup ahead of second test at Jerez 09 Feb 2011
With Marchs Bahrain Grand Prix just 29 days away, on-track preparations for the 2011 season are set to step up a gear this week, as the second official test of the year gets underway at Jerez. Eleven teams are expected in action at the Spanish circuit for the four-day session, which starts on Thursday.
Following its launch on Monday, Virgins new MVR-02 is already on track for a filming day before the serious test work begins on Thursday. Timo Glock and new signing Jerome dAmbrosio will both enjoy runs in the CFD-designed car as the team target a significant improvement on their 2010 debut.
And after its online unveiling on Wednesday, Force Indias new VJM04 will get its maiden public run on Thursday. Both Adrian Sutil and new team mate Paul di Resta are expected behind the wheel of the Mercedes-powered machine over the four days.
The third - and final - debutant on Thursday will be the new McLaren MP4-26. After opting to run an interim version of their 2010 car at the first 2011 test in Valencia last week, the team spent an extra few days in the wind tunnel honing their 2011 challenger before launching it in Berlin last Friday. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will split driving duties. It follows a private shake-down for the car earlier this week at Idiada in Spain in the hands of tester Gary Paffett.
Red Bull will be back in action following the RB7s successful launch at Valencia. Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and team mate Mark Webber will be in the hot seat. Ferrari will give their new F150 its second test outing too, with Fernando Alonso and team mate Felipe Massa on hand to split the workload. Massa will be at the wheel on Thursday.
Mercedes GPs Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg will once again pilot the new MGP W02, whilst Pastor Maldonado and Rubens Barrichello will continue development of the new Williams FW33. And Toro Rosso will give their third driver Daniel Ricciardo a chance to sample the new STR6, alongside Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari.
The new C30 will be sole preserve of Saubers race line-up Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi. Perez will be in a charge over the first two days, before Kobayashi takes over. Lotus will also field their race line-up. Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli will put the new T128 through its paces, no doubt hoping there will be fewer teething troubles than there were in Valencia, where their running was significantly limited by power steering problems.
The only question mark hovers over the beleaguered Renault squad. Following Robert Kubicas serious rallying accident at the weekend, the team are a man down. With Kubica not expected to be race fit any time soon, Vitaly Petrov will be under the spotlight as the team decide on his temporary team mate. Third drivers Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean could be in action too as they continue to prepare the R31 for next months Bahrain season opener.
The only absentee in terms of teams will be HRT, who announced on Thursday they are eschewing Jerez in favour of a Pirelli filming session at Monza from February 14-16.
Check back throughout the test for updates on the teams progress and the latest images. Note that all schedules are provisional and subject to change.
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