Alonso, Raikkonen, absent as tests resume

Tue, 28 November 2006, 10:04

Despite recent negotiations involving the Renault, McLaren and Ferrari teams, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will be notable absentees as post-season testing kicks off in Spain this week.

The pair, who are respectively switching from Renault and McLaren, remain under contract to their current squads until the last day of next month, having failed to secure premature releases.

They will thus only reappear on test circuits in the new year.

Sport Bild reported that, without Raikkonen’s release from McLaren to replace the retiring Michael Schumacher at Circuit de Catalunya, Ferrari is scheduled to run with Luca Badoer and Marc Gene.

Spanish reports maintain, however, that negotiations will continue between Alonso’s management and Renault in order that the Spaniard may debut for Woking based McLaren in mid December.

If the 25-year-old is able to test early, McLaren may then decide to release Raikkonen.

RTL, meanwhile, quoted BMW-Sauber principal Mario Theissen as saying of the upcoming Spanish tests: “Tyres will be the number one topic.”

And while the Japanese tyre supplier has vowed equality in the paddock, BMW’s race driver Nick Heidfeld added: “I can imagine Ferrari keeping a small advantage next year due to their long association with the Bridgestone company.”

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