F1 poised to roar into action

After a six-week break since the Japanese Grand Prix, Formula 1 cars return to the racetracks around Europe tomorrow (Tuesday) as testing begins ahead of the 2004 World Championship season

F1 poised to roar into action

Spain will host the majority of the running, with the Michelin teams heading to Valencia, while its Bridgestone-shod rivals will be further north in Barcelona.

World champion Ferrari will begin its title defence programme with a three-strong test team featuring Luca Badoer, Luciano Burti and Felipe Massa. The latter will have the strange role of driving for one team while watching his new squad, Sauber, test his 2004 team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella for the first time. Also present at Barcelona will be BAR, although which tyres they will run remains a moot point, so watch this space...

At Valencia, five teams will be in action. Most eyes will be focused on the new McLaren, the MP4-19, which is the first of the 2004 challengers to hit the track. Renault and Williams will be there in force, while Jaguar will run some new faces, namely Christian Klien and Townsend Bell, alongside Mark Webber and Justin Wilson. Toyota will also field young Ryan Briscoe, the F3 Euroseries champion, in one of its cars.

Away from Spain, Ricardo Zonta will plough a lonely furrow at Paul Ricard for Toyota. Minardi and Jordan, meanwhile, will not run this week.

Autosport.com will be first with all the news from testing as it happens.

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