With the new Formula One Grand Prix season, now only weeks away, drivers are in full practice.
AV of Brazil's Formula One circuit (TWO SHOTS)
TOP VIEW AND LONG VIEW PAN OF Andretti practising (TWO SHOTS)
MV of Andretti speaking
SV of crowd watching Lotus being unloaded (TWO SHOTS)
SV AND CU of Reutemann in Lotus (TWO SHOTS)
LV 7 TV of Reutemann practising (FIVE SHOTS)
CU of Niki Lauda in Brabham (TWO SHOTS)
TV & LV PAN OF Lauda practising (THREE SHOTS)
CU of Lauda in pits without helmet
CU of James Hunt in pits
CU of Jody Schecter
SV of Villeneuve before race in Ferrari
SV & LV of villeneuve winning race (THREE SHOTS)
LV & SV of Villeneuve waving victory flag (TWO SHOTS)
ANDRETTI: "The teams that are going to give us the most problems are I'm sure going to be the Ferrari, the McLaren team should be good, Tyrrell, Brabham. These are the teams I think you're going to have to beat if you're going to have to beat if you're going to come up with positive results."
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: With the new Formula One Grand Prix season, now only weeks away, drivers are in full practice. But the first race of the season is one to prepare a car that can win the championship.
SYNOPSIS: The battle for Grand Prix honours in 1979 begins in South America and world champion Mario Andretti of the United States chose to practise at the new circuit near Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil.
On the first Sunday in February, Andretti will try once again to prove his Lotus is the fastest Formula One racer in the world. He already knows who the main threats to his title area.
Andretti will be driving for a new sponsor this season. John Player have pulled out and been replaced by Martini.
The other driver in the Martini Lotus team will be Carlos Reutemann from Argentina. He was number one driver for Ferrari last year but has switched to Lotus to replace the late Ronnie Petersen who died in a crash at last year's Italian Grand Prix.
The partnership of Andretti and Reutemann looks the most formidable team in Formula One racing. Reutemann has been practising at his home track near Buenos Aires where the opening race will be held on the twenty-first of January. He is determined to take the Formula One crown - even if it means beating his partner Andretti. That could lead to problems for Lotus.
The chief threat to Lotus must come from former world champion Niki Lauda. He won the title with Ferrari but switched to Brabham last year.
Lauda's most notable victories in 1978 were all achieved with the help of a large sucker fan, used to improve the Brabham's road-holding.
Lauda looked almost unbeatable with his modified car. But the fan is now outlawed.
Lauda has to be a major title contender with or without than fan. Also hoping for better times will be another former champion, Britain's James Hunt.
Hunt will try to regain his form with the Walter Wolf team.
Jody Schecter will drive for Ferrari this year.
As always, the Ferrari team will be strong. They will be hoping the South African Schecter can get back to peak form and bring the best out of their long-term hope for the future - the young Canadian, Giles Villeneuve.
In his second season at Ferrari, Villeneuve will be keen to prove his potential.