Winter testing begins

THE sound of V10 engines is at last ringing out after the three-month enforced drought since the end of last season's Japanese Grand Prix, and the current hot spot is the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Barcelona circuit is an old favorite testing ground and today sees the BAR, McLaren, Renault and Williams teams out on parade in clear but decidedly chilly conditions. They will be joined by Jordan, Toyota and Ferrari through the coming days.

Toyota is not expected to take more than one car to its first head-to-head test with the rest of the Formula 1 field, with Allan McNish pencilled in for the TF102 on Tuesday and Wednesday before handing over to Mika Salo on Thursday and Friday.

Jordan will be trying to get as many miles as possible for Takuma Sato when the team's program begins on Wednesday and Renault is not expected to test with any carry-over of the powder blue Benetton livery. The trucks are yellow and white, which puts much of the smart money in Spain on the cars having a matching color scheme until the team's official launch date of January 27.

Arrows meanwhile is still awaiting the first of its new Cosworth engines and will not be testing until the issues over financing the deal are sorted out with Ford's F1 boss Niki Lauda.

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