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F1 NEWS 

McLaren confirm maiden Algarve test

McLaren are the first team to confirm that they will test at the new Autodromo Internacional Algarve in Portugal in December.

The state-of-the-art facility, which is due to be officially opened on November 2, is to hold a Formula One test from December 15-17.

A number of teams are expected to attend the try out of the 4.692-kilometre track, with a McLaren spokesman confirming on Friday that his team will definitely be joining the December test.

Ferrari have also indicated there is a 'strong possibility' they will be at the Algarve test.

It is understood that teams will use the December test as an evaluation for incorporating the venue on the 2009 Formula One testing schedule. Alternatively, teams could choose to nominate the track as one of their three alternative test venues that run alongside the standard test tracks.

The Algarve circuit is already scheduled to hold major international events, and talk of it trying to lure an F1 race in the future has not been dismissed.

Portugal's deputy sports minister Laurentino Dias said earlier this year: "The Government will do its best for Portugal to become part of the world's main championships. This circuit is prepared to host a range of motor races, from the most modest to Formula One."

As well as multiple circuit configurations, the track features a high-tech water sprinkling system to simulate wet weather running.

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