Testing around Europe

WITH the last of the European races out of the way, the Formula 1 teams are beginning to turn their attention to the development programs for the cars which will be raced next year, although McLaren, Ferrari and Jordan are all rushing ahead with 1999 development as they battle to see who will win this year's title.

Ferrari ran a five day test at the team's test track at Fiorano with Luca Badoer starting work on Tuesday. Mika Salo took over on Wednesday and Thursday. Eddie Irvine then began a two-day session at Mugello and he was expected to be back in action again this week at Fiorano when Michael Schumacher is also scheduled to test. Schumacher was in Paris on Sunday to meet G?rard Saillant, the French surgeon who has been overseeing his recovery.

McLaren's test team was at Monza for two days with Nick Heidfeld doing a couple of days of running to try out components which will be used on the forthcoming MP4/15. The team is due to go back into action this week at Barcelona with Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Heidfeld is not expected to test for the team again this year as McLaren does not want him to take too much information with him to Prost Grand Prix.

Jordan kept up the pressure with some aerodynamic testing work at the Lurcy Levis facility near Magny-Cours. The work was carried out by test driver Shinji Nakano.

The only other team to be seen testing was Minardi which was in action over the weekend at Mugello with Marc Gene and test driver Gaston Mazzacane. The pair completed 42 laps of the track. The team is hoping to be able to stay ahead in the battle to finish in the top 10 teams in this year's World Championship as it means that the team will then be eligible for around $10m worth of travel and TV money next year. Minardi, Arrows and British American Racing will be fighting over the 10th slot in the final two races. BAR is currently the team in 11th position.

BAR stayed at home last week but is expected to be seen at this week's Barcelona testing alongside Williams, Stewart, Benetton, Prost and Sauber. Arrows will not be testing before Malaysia.

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