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Friday, November 7, 2008

STR, Honda to test drivers

With the season at a close, it's already time to turn to testing, with teams not only making plans for their '09 challengers, but also evaluating talent.

Bike star Valentino Rossi will make another appearance in a Ferrari, while five-times World Rally Champion S├ębastien Loeb will test a Red Bull later this month. While neither is a true test for an F1 seat, Honda and Toro Rosso are still looking to solidify their driver lineups, and both teams will be looking at drivers in upcoming tests.

Honda has announced it's driver-to-be-named joining Bruno Senna is Renault third driver Lucas Di Grassi, who will test in Barcelona later this month.

“We are delighted to provide Lucas with a test with the Honda Racing F1 Team later this month... We look forward to seeing Lucas in action and will take a keen interest in how he performs,” said team principal Ross Brawn.
Di Grassi, a veteran of GP2 and a Renault driver since 2004, was thought to be a possibility to replace Nelson Piquet before he was retained for 2009.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity of testing with the Honda Racing F1 Team in Barcelona and look forward to proving myself to the team,” Di Grassi said.
Both Honda's drivers are out of contract. It is though Jenson Button will be back, but Rubens Barrichello's seat may be vulnerable.

Meanwhile, Toro Rosso has recalled veteran Takuma Sato for another test later this month, autosport.com's Jonathan Noble reports.

With Red Bull product Sebastien Buemi looking to be a lock to make the team, STR has said it is looking for a veteran for the second seat.

Sato would not only bring that experience, but his marketability in Japan, a market Red Bull covets, helps his cause.

Incumbent Sebastien Bourdais will be hoping he has done enough to retain his seat, however, and Barrichello, by far the most experienced driver in F1, has also entered the mix.

Finally, Red Bull takes note of the outpouring of good wishes for David Coulthard as he moves on to the next phase of his life.
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