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When are the cars due?

WITH only a couple of days between the New Year and the weekend there was not much activity around Europe. The new FIA testing regulations, which came into effect on January 1 means that teams are severely restricted as to where they are allowed to test and most of Europe has been caught in a severe weather pattern with large amounts of rain and snow and very cold temperatures. The only two teams currently in a position to test are Benetton and Stewart, while all the other teams are still busy building their 1997 cars and getting them through the rigorous crash-testing procedures demanded by the FIA. Tests which had been planned have had to be canceled - notably at Paul Ricard - because the circuit has not been inspected by the FIA and cannot be used for testing until it is. The action should begin again this week in Spain and Portugal - although the weather forecast is not good at the moment.

The coming week will see two cars being unveiled: the new Ferrari at Fiorano on Tuesday and the Arrows-Yamaha A18 at the Autosport International racing car show at Birmingham, in England, on Wednesday. The Ferrari will be a development of the 1996 F310 which Ferrari engineers hope will be a lot more competitive in comparison to the Williams-Renault. The Arrows-Yamaha will also probably have a strong likeness to last year's FA18 Arrows chassis.

McLaren is expected to be the next major team to launch with the car scheduled for completion by January 13, although no date has yet been set for any official launch.

The Tyrrell-Ford 025 is to be launched in London on January 20 and will be followed by several other launches, notably Benetton on January 23 and Williams on January 24. The new Jordan will be ready to run on January 27 but may be launched prior to the test. Minardi and Ligier are both expected to be ready around the same period, while Sauber and Lola are not expected to be ready until mid-February.

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