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Testing times ahead

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F1 Mole | 14:52 UK time, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The ban on in-season testing in 2009 means Formula One's teams really have to squeeze every extra mile out of their pre-season time on the track.

So a bit of give and take in the spirit of the team association Fota's love-in might have been a good idea.

In January, Portugal provided fur-soaking rain and hail for the first test of 2009, which meant McLaren, Williams, Renault, Toyota and Toro Rosso all lost a day's precious running.

Lewis Hamilton tests in Portugal

The teams asked for an extra day to compensate but BMW Sauber, who were at that time running privately in Valencia, gave it the thumbs down.

Karma then turned round and bit BMW in the shape of swirling sand storms at February's test in Bahrain.

They, along with Ferrari and Toyota, lost precious running and BMW in turn asked for more time in Bahrain - only for McLaren to return the favour and veto their proposal.

Each team is allocated 20 days of pre-season testing and most of those will be used up at the next test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, which begins on 9 March.

But McLaren could have the last laugh.

They will return to Jerez with Renault, Williams, and the new Brawn GP team (formerly Honda), for four days from 18 March to clock up a few more precious miles before they ship out for the Australian GP at the end of the month...

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