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Kyalami test to go ahead

THE Formula 1 teams have agreed that they will be allowed to go testing at Kyalami in South Africa if they choose to take advantage of the opportunity to do warm weather testing with the new grooved slick tires. Most of the teams are expected to head for South Africa, although McLaren and Arrows are not expected to have their cars ready in time for the test - which is scheduled to take place in the week beginning February 2.

Kyalami has not been used for Formula 1 since 1993 but the Johannesburg track has been lobbying quietly for a race. Following the decision of the International Olympic Committee to hold the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens rather than Cape Town it is understood that the South African government may be willing to support the Automobile Association of South Africa's bid for a Grand Prix.

A week-long test will be a good step for Kyalami and we would expect that once the teams have completed such a test Bernie Ecclestone will have little trouble convincing them that they may as well have an extra race in 1999 as they have paid out the same to fly out to test in South Africa as they would have done if there had been a race, but they did not gain the publicity which comes with a race. It is unlikely that any of the team bosses will argue with that logic.

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