Interim cars to hit the track

McLaren, Williams, Benetton and Jaguar will all use interim chassis when the FIA-imposed testing ban ends next month, as each bids to get a head start to the 2001 season

McLaren's MP4/15K will feature next year's Mercedes engine and a revised gearbox. It will first appear at Jerez from December 4-7, with new test driver Alex Wurz and David Coulthard expected to be behind the wheel.

BMW Williams will field an FW22B chassis at Jerez, fitted with a new and much smaller BMW powerplant. It also features a new gearbox and will mark the team's first official test on Michelin tyres. New recruit Juan-Pablo Montoya arrives in Britain on November 14 and will be based in Oxford for his first season in Formula 1.

Benetton has built a B200B test car for its December program, which will begin on the 5-7 at Jerez when Jenson Button will have his first outing. Benetton's new Technical Director, Mike Gascoyne, said: "The test car will be a B200 fitted with the new gearbox, rear suspension and new Renault-developed engine. Testing with this car will enable us to push back finalising the aerodynamic package for the new chassis, as well as getting rid of a lot of potential reliability issues."

Jaguar will shakedown a development car, the R1B, at Silverstone on December 1 with British F3 driver Narain Karthikeyan at the wheel. It will then take three cars to Jerez (December 5-7), Barcelona (12-13) and Estoril (19-21), all of which will sport the 2001 Cosworth engine and a revised gearbox. Test driver Tomas Scheckter is likely to join Eddie Irvine and Luciano Burti for the tests.

Jordan will use its existing EJ10B chassis for its program, with new test driver Ricardo Zonta scheduled to do most of the running. The cars will be fitted with Honda's Athena engine management system, which Zonta is already used to as it was developed with British American Racing this season.

BAR will test at Jerez with new recruit Olivier Panis in its existing 002 car. Minardi - currently at the centre of a whirlwind of rumour regarding next year's engine supply and sponsorship - hopes to extend its deal with Ford to run its V10 units until the end of the month. It intends to test a number of young drivers, thought to include new Formula Nissan champion Antonio Garcia.

Prost's new Managing Director, Joan Villadelprat, has confirmed it will continue to test with Peugeot engines in December, before the new Ferrari-engined cars are ready at the end of January. Sauber will field an intermediate-spec car for Nick Heidfeld while it waits to hear from the FIA if Kimi Raikkonen will be granted a super-licence. Arrows will run its AMT-engined A21 which has already tested at Valencia in October.

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