They're back! F1 returns after November test ban

If a week is a long time in politics, then a month is an age in Formula 1. For the whole of November the engines of F1 have remained silent due to the FIA imposed test ban. But on the very day the ban is lifted a host of teams will be back at the track as F1 begins its most intensive winter testing programme ever - and you can guarantee that Autosport.com will be bringing you all the news as it happens

They're back! F1 returns after November test ban

Jaguar, Jordan, Benetton and Arrows will be at Silverstone on Friday in a shakedown before the teams head for three weeks of testing on the Iberian peninsula.

Benetton will try out its new Renault engine for the first time at the Northamptonshire track on Friday, while Arrows gives Argentinian driver Gaston Mazzacane a run out in its interim car, as well as trying out its new AMT engine. And Luciano Burti will be at Silverstone for his first drive in a Jaguar since his promotion to fully fledged race driver.

But the action really gets underway next week at the Spanish circuit of Jerez. The first McLaren/Ferrari clash of the new season will be at the circuit just south of Seville. Joining them will be Juan Pablo Montoya in his first ride in the WilliamsF1, and the man who he replaced at the Grove-based squad, Jenson Button, will be up against him as the Englishman tests for Benetton. That should be a mouth-watering confrontation...

The December testing schedule brings plenty more intriguing scenarios, with Olivier Panis having his first run in the BAR since leaving his post of official McLaren test driver. And Jaguar will be trying out possible stars of the future with new official test driver Tomas Scheckter, son of former Ferrari world champion Jody, and 19-year-old German F3 front-runner Andre Lotterer both being pencilled in for tests at Barcelona later on in the month.

It promises to be an exciting, action-packed month, with F1 teams testing somewhere every week up until Christmas. And don't forget, tyre manufacturer Michelin will be preparing a new season for the first time in more than 15 years and the teams will also be keen to develop their just-made-legal traction control systems.

With so much going on, Autosport.com will be your first stop for all the latest testing times, news reaction and comment. We'll have journalists track-side so you know exactly what's happening, who is saying what and what it all means as teams prepare for the 2001 season.

November seems to have been a helluva long month and we can't wait till it all kicks off again. Bet you can't either.

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