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New cars in action

SAUBER and Jaguar Racing have both run their new cars in recent days and the next two weeks will see the unveiling of most of the other 2000 Formula 1 cars. Although British American Racing won the prize for the first 2000 car, running the BAR-Honda 02 in the first week of December, Sauber gave the new C19 its first shakedown at Fiorano on December 29 and the new Jaguar-Cosworth R1 made its first appearance last Wednesday at Silverstone. The Benetton-Playlife B200 is due to be shaken down at Silverstone on January 14, but all the other major teams are not expected to unveil their cars until the end of the month or the first week of February. Ferrari, McLaren and Williams are not giving dates, Jordan has announced a launch on January 31 and Prost is looking at a first test in early February.

The first test of the new Sauber - which will be launched on February 2 in Zurich - was undertaken by Mika Salo and the Finn reckoned that the new car was a great deal better than the old C18B which he has been testing in recent weeks. The car ran without too much trouble and completed around 60 miles of running before being packed up and taken back to Hinwil. It reappeared on Saturday at Barcelona with Pedro Diniz driving, the Brazilian completing 25 laps but was slower than the BAR-Honda. The Swiss team will move on to Jerez (January 14-16) and Barcelona (January 24-26).

The new Jaguar-Cosworth R1 was rather less successful in its first runs on Wednesday and Thursday with the team's test driver Luciano Burti being stopped after just a few laps because of oil pressure problems. The car was running in a green livery without any sponsorship but this is likely to change when the team reveal's its full package on January 25. The car features a low-nose and an unusual rear wing arrangement which has been developed in association with exhaust pipes which exit through the top of the rear bodywork. The team is due to run this week in Barcelona before moving on to Jerez (January 14-16) and then in Barcelona (January 19-21).

Ferrari has been testing in recent days at both Fiorano and in Barcelona. The Italian team began work on January 3 with Luca Badoer driving an ancient 1998-spec F300 as he did verification runs with new components which will be used on the F320. He completed a total of 60 laps over the three days. The Ferrari test team then went into action in Barcelona on January 8 with Rubens Barrichello back in action for a three-day test. On the first day of running Rubens completed 46 laps with a 1999-spec F399. Barrichello will be joined in Barcelona by Michael Schumacher for the next big Ferrari test between January 17-21.

Also in action in Barcelona over the weekend was Jacques Villeneuve in the BAR-Honda. He completed 32 laps but his best time was 1.6secs slower than the Ferrari. The team is concentrating on reliability work and this work will continue at Jerez between January 14-16 with Ricardo Zonta driving. The team's new color scheme will be revealed on January 24 in London.

The Prost team was also in action in Barcelona with test driver Stephane Sarrazin doing 14 laps on Saturday in one of the old Prost-Peugeot chassis. The team is planning to continue to use Sarrazin and the old cars at its next test at Barcelona between January 15-21.

Jordan is to run an old 199 chassis for two days this week at Silverstone for Czech driver Thomas Enge. He will continue his development work of the new TAG electronics system which will be used on the new Jordan Mugen Honda EJ10. Arrows will also be running this week with Australian Mark Webber and Pedro de la Rosa expected to be in action doing electronic development tests. The team is expected to launch the 2000 package at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham next weekend.

McLaren will go back into action at Jerez between January 14-16 continuing its engine and tire development testing work and will then move on to Barcelona for further work between January 19-20.

Minardi engineers are working hard to finish the 2000 car and this is expected to be seen in mid-February despite the fact that the team's engine supply has yet to be settled.

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