Toyota kicks off 2002 test season

The test ban, in effect since November, has now been lifted for the Formula One teams, and the teams are able to take to the track again to tune their new cars. Toyota, the first new team in years, will be the first one to take to the track,...

The test ban, in effect since November, has now been lifted for the Formula One teams, and the teams are able to take to the track again to tune their new cars.

Toyota, the first new team in years, will be the first one to take to the track, when it opens the testing season at two tracks on Monday. Allan McNish will start the team's testing in Barcelona with the new TF102 (see separate story).

Mika Salo, the team's #1 driver and former pilot for Tyrrell, Arrows and Sauber, will also be on track, but at Le Castellet in France, from Monday to Wednesday. He will join McNish in Barcelona from Thursday.

McLaren will also be at Barcelona starting from Monday, with David Coulthard and test driver Alexander Wurz expected to start on Monday. The young F1 promise of 2001, Kimi Raikkonen, will join them as well, most likely on Tuesday.

McLaren's archrival Ferrari will also start testing, at the more private Fiorano track, but test drivers Luca Badoer and Luciano Burti will be at the wheel for the first two weeks of testing. Four-time champion Michael Schumacher and teammate Rubens Barrichello are expected to start testing on 19 January.

However, McLaren and Ferrari will still be testing with modified version of their 2001 cars. In addition to Toyota, only Jaguar and BAR will have their 2002 challengers ready at the start of the testing.

Jaguar will start testing its new R3 in Barcelona on Tuesday, only a few days after its official launch on Friday. The team will start by running the older R2 on Monday. BAR already launched its new BAR004 (see separate story), and will be at Barcelona as well.

Minardi, which has not yet selected a teammate for Alex Yoong, will begin testing in two weeks, deciding to wait for the new PS02 rather than using the track time for last year's PS01.

Arrows' testing is being held back by delays with its new Cosworth engines, and the team currently does not expect to begin testing until late January. The team has yet to announce either of its drivers for this year.

The most precarious situation is at Prost, where financials have pushed the team to the brink of extinction. Alain Prost has scheduled a team staff demonstration in front of the Ministry of Industry in Paris today, pleading for government support for the troubled team.

The following is a summary of the teams doing testing next week, with teams running 2001 cars marked by asterisks:

Barcelona
BAR
Jaguar
Jordan *
McLaren *
Prost *
Renault *
Toyota
Williams *

Fiorano
Ferrari

Le Castellet
Toyota

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Luciano Burti , Luca Badoer , Rubens Barrichello , Kimi Raikkonen , Alexander Wurz , Mika Salo , Alex Yoong , Alain Prost
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan