Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Ferrari have confirmed that they'll be running MotoGP champ Valentino Rossi at their test in Mugello next week. Most teams will be in Barcelona for the test, but Ferrari are going their own way. They've run with Rossi before, and he enjoyed his time enough to want to come again. It's not clear the purpose of the test, however, as Ferrari don't have an open seat for the next couple of years.
Renault are giving Giedo van der Garde a chance in their car at Barcelona this week. van der Garde won the World Series by Renault event, and this is part of his prize. Again, it's not clear that there's any chance of moving up to Formula 1, but Giedo is glad of the test. He has previously tested for Spyker, the team that is now Force India.
Honda admitted they were waiting for Alonso to make his decision on 2009 before announcing their drivers. It appears they are still trying to make up their own minds, as it looks like they're testing for Barrichello's race seat next week in Barcelona. One of the main contenders is Bruno Senna, nephew of the legendary Ayrton Senna. Bruno doesn't have that much experience in single seater racing, having started his motorsport career late, however he has had some success and obviously his name precedes him.
Red Bull have confirmed they will be testing out World Rally Champ Sebastian Loeb. The multi WRC-champion has tried out a test in a Renault F1 car before, but there were no other cars out on track, so he's spent some time preparing in the simulator for this one. With both their drivers confirmed for 2009, Red Bull are either planning for the future, testing out for Toro Rosso, or simply have a bit of cross-promotion with rallying.
The real drivers battle seems to be with Toro Rosso. There are three drivers heading for a straight shoot-out at Barcelona. Current racer Bourdais will be hoping he gets a second year in the car, whilst Takuma Sato would like to return to Formula 1 after his season with Super Aguri came to an abrupt end. Test driver Sebastien Buemi is also lining up to have a go in the car, whilst there are rumours that Bruno Senna and Rubens Barrichello are both in the running for the seat, although won't be testing.
It's definitely going to be an important week to keep an eye on the testing news!