British GP testing begins in earnest

Just two days after Ralf Schumacher's Grand Prix win in Montreal, the testing bandwagon rolls on to Silverstone, the venue for the British Grand Prix, for three days of testing in preparation for the jewel in the British motorsport crown in just over a month's time

British GP testing begins in earnest

A total of ten teams are at the Northamptonshire track, with the highlight being a three-way battle between championship challengers Ferrari, McLaren and Williams.

Montreal winners Williams has Spanish tester Marc Gene on track today (Tuesday), while world champions Ferrari has Italian Luca Badoer in action.

Mercedes protege Darren Turner is behind the wheel for McLaren, before he heads to the Sachsenring in the former East Germany for the DTM meeting this weekend. Mika Hakkinen takes over the reins on Wednesday and Thursday for the Woking-based outfit.

Other drivers on track today before racing at the weekend are Le Mans contenders Johnny Herbert at Arrows and BAR test driver Patrick Lemarie. Those two fly off to France tonight ahead of qualifying for the endurance classic on Wednesday and Thursday. Herbert will be driving for the Champion Audi squad, while Lemarie is in Stefan Johansson's Gulf Audi. Arrows will stay on an extra day at Silverstone, giving their unique three-seater a run out on Friday.

One driver not at the test, however, is Jordan's Heinz-Harald Frentzen, following his withdrawal from the Canadian Grand Prix. The German was suffering from bouts of dizzy spells after crashing heavily in Monaco over a fortnight ago and has been given the week off to rest. Testing duties will be performed by regular driver Jarno Trulli and stand-in Ricardo Zonta.

Sauber, currently flying high with fourth place in the constructors' championship, has Nick Heidfeld hard at work, while Pedro de la Rosa, fresh from gaining his first point for Jaguar in Canada, is on duty alongside team leader Eddie Irvine.

Benetton continue to hunt for solutions to its problems with Jenson Button and F3000 title chaser Mark Webber at this week's test. Prost is also giving its F3000 driver F1 experience, completing the line up with Frenchman Stephane Sarrazin.

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