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An explosion of testing

THE last few days have seen an enormous amount of testing activity around Europe. After his victory at Monza, MichaelĘSchumacher headed off for an eight-day break - away from all testing and promotional activities - leaving Eddie Irvine to do all Ferrari's test work at Fiorano. The Ulsterman began running on Wednesday and was still going on Saturday, having set a new lap record around the team's test track.

Williams and McLaren went to the A1 Ring in Austria for two days of running at the track which is due to hold an Austrian GP in August next year. Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve did a day each of running while the McLarens of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen completed around the same number of laps but were not close to the Williams times.

Benetton went to Silverstone for three days with Gerhard Berger, Jean Alesi and Vincenzo Sospiri all in action. The team concentrated on brake work while Berger also did some engine testing for Renault. Sospiri worked on the development of the team's power-assisted steering system. Tyrrell joined in the action for a couple of days, running Mika Salo and Ukyo Katayama for a day each and test driver Emmanuel Collard on both days.

Jordan stayed at Monza and ran 1000km in two days with Martin Brundle and Gianni Morbidelli. Rubens Barrichello did not test, preferring to take a break in Brazil. Morbidelli is doing the team's engine testing for the future using a research car which has been dubbed the 196B. The team is due to run at the A1 Ring this week with Morbidelli and Fabrizio de Simone.

Also at Monza were Ligier, Pedro Diniz and Olivier Panis testing a revised front suspension, and TWR Arrows. TomĘWalkinshaw's team is flat out doing tire development work for Bridgestone and ran a curious twin-test at Monza and Imola. On Tuesday Jos Verstappen ran at Monza and Brazilian Tarso Marques ran at Imola. The following day Verstappen was at Imola and Marques at Monza.

Sauber started a four-day test at Mugello on Friday with Johnny Herbert and Heinz-Harald Frentzen both due to do two days of work.

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