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F1 teams rush to go testing

The Formula 1 teams are racing back to Europe in order to get much-needed testing mileage under their belts in the fortnight before the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

Most of the teams will have to wait until the cars are shipped back from South America, which is likely to take over a week. They will then rebuild the cars and go testing.

There will be three big tests in Europe: one at Silverstone, England; one at Jerez, Spain; and a third at Mugello, Italy. The Silverstone test will run between April 17-20 and will see Jordan in action for three days with four cars (two race cars, one test car and the fourth chassis which should be completed by then). Tyrrell will also be present with Mika Salo and Ukyo Katayama each having a day of testing and Italian Gabriele Tarquini using a second car. Pacific is intending to spend a day at the test with two cars for Bertrand Gachot and Andrea Montermini. Arrows should also be in action for three days for what will be the team's first real test. Gianni Morbidelli will be joined by the team's yet-to-be announced tester Max Papis. Most of the interest in the test will center on McLaren which is scheduled to run Nigel Mansell in its latest chassis, which hopefully the Englishman will now fit into.

It will be McLaren's second test between now and Imola as the McLaren test team is already en route to Jerez and will begin testing tomorrow (as soon as Mika Hakkinen and his engineers arrive back from Argentina).

The big test at Jerez will run from April 17-21 and will feature both Williams and Benetton. Williams will have two cars and its three drivers: David Coulthard, Damon Hill and Jean-Christophe Boullion, while Benetton will have just one car which will be divided between Michael Schumacher and Johnny Herbert.

Ferrari, Sauber and Minardi are to test at Mugello between April 18-21.

Ligier will be working as usual at Magny-Cours where the team will be on April 18-19 with Martin Brundle and Olivier Panis in action. There is also expected to be an aero-mapping test at the nearby Lurcy-Levis circuit.

Forti and Simtek are not planning to do any testing: Simtek because of lack of money and Forti because the team feels there is more to be gained by doing as much windtunnel work as possible.

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