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Hynes hopes for F1 test drive

BRITISH Formula 3 Champion Marc Hynes says that he is close to signing a deal which will see him racing in the International Formula 3000 series and testing for a Formula 1 team. Hynes's rival Jenson Button received a similar offer a few months ago but is understood to have turned it down to avoid being locked into a long-term contract with an F1 team. That deal is believed to have come from McLaren.

A similar offer to Hynes would not be a surprise as Marc is the son of the famous go-kart racer Martin Hynes who did regular testing work for McLaren in 1995 and 1996 until an accident in which he destroyed a McLaren-Mercedes MP4/11 at the Idi Ada testing facility in Spain.

The McLaren Formula 3000 operation - West Competition - is looking for two new drivers as Nick Heidfeld has been promoted into the Prost Grand Prix team and Mario Haberfeld is expected to switch teams next year. He was out testing in Jerez last week with the Fortec Formula 3000 operation.

West Competition ran a big test in Jerez, trying out Stephane Sarrazin - the man expected to lead the team in 2000 - Franck Montagny and German F3 Champion Christian Albers. Hynes tested for the European Formula Racing and Lukoil Arden teams. The fact that Lukoil was testing at all was interesting as the team did not qualify to race in the International F3000 series next year. Owned by Prodrive, Lukoil Arden can only enter the series if it buys one of the 15 entries. Oddly enough, there were 15 teams testing in Spain but four of them were not qualified for next year. The missing teams which are eligible race were Gauloises Formula, World Racing Team and Edenbridge (which qualified thanks to winning the Italian Formula 3000 series).

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