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Bernoldi to test BAR

Former Arrows grand prix driver Enrique Bernoldi will make a shock return to the cockpit of a Formula 1 car when he tests for BAR-Honda later this year with a view to a full-time testing role

Bernoldi, 25, will get his chance as the long-haul locations of the last three races in China, Japan and Brazil make it difficult for BAR's race drivers, Jenson Button and Takuma Sato, to test in Europe. The two tests Bernoldi will conduct at Jerez in Spain fall between these races, which BAR view as crucial in maintaining its constructors' championship position.

Bernoldi - who raced for Arrows in 2001 and '02 - will test alongside Friday tester Anthony Davidson in September and October, and the team has also agreed an option on Bernoldi's services as a test driver in future. He currently lies second in the Superfund World Series by Nissan Championship.

"We are delighted to welcome Enrique to the team for this brief but crucial period in our testing programme," said BAR technical director Geoffrey Willis. "He has 28 F1 race starts to his name and possesses the solid F1 experience that will help us to achieve as much continuity as possible in the latter part of the season. The end of the five-week testing ban means that all of the teams will now be ramping up their efforts to fight for every available opportunity for points and championship position. We are no exception in this and so Enrique will have a couple of very busy tests for us."

Bernoldi said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I cannot wait to drive the car. When I had to leave F1 two years ago because of the Arrows situation, I was only 23 years old and still had a lot to prove. My future looked very difficult but we decided that the best thing to do was to stay in single seaters in order to maintain the racing acuity, which is why I am competing in the very competitive World Series.

"I had a difficult first year as the team was new but I was pleased to achieve some poles and podiums. The team is now efficient and as a result, I am standing second in the championship, with first place in my sights. Hearing the news about the opportunity to help BAR with their development programme was something else!

"I visited the BAR factory a few days ago for a seat fitting and to meet the engineers. Sitting in the car was a very special moment. The facilities at Brackley are very impressive and the people very welcoming. After a day there, I understood why BAR have become one of the top teams this season. I understand I have a very important job to do to help the team for the rest of the season."

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