Young driver test could be moved to Silverstone

By on Thursday, March 29, 2012

© Red Bull/GEPA

For the last two season in Formula 1, there has been a young drivers test which has taken place towards the end of the season at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. Currently, the event - giving inexperienced drivers the chance to drive current F1 cars amid the sport's strict testing limits - is scheduled to take place as per usual in Abu Dhabi late this season.

But with India taking place just one week before the Abu Dhabi grand prix, the test scheduled for the week after and then the races in the US and Brazil taking place next, there are fears some in F1 will have to work on five consecutive weekends.

There have been reports the teams are therefore contemplating dropping Yas Marina and rescheduling the test for a new date at Silverstone, the week after the British Grand Prix.

"Whether they have the tests here in Abu Dhabi is a decision the teams themselves would need to make," Yas Marina circuit boss Richard Cregan told The National newspaper.

"We have made provisions and blocked out the week after our race, but they have the freedom to change that.

"We would obviously be disappointed if Abu Dhabi didn't host the young drivers' test because it has become a part of our season, but I can understand the teams' concerns," he added.

"It's a long season as it is and there are a lot of back-to-back races this year, so it's tough for them."

Cregan said he anticipates a decision to be made mid-season.

However, with plans to hold the young drivers test mid-season at Silverstone, not all teams are 100% behind such a plan. After all, the young drivers which would take place in the test are usually engrossed in their own championships such as GP2, GP3, Formula 2 and World Series by Renault. The fact that all of these Championships would be ongoing could cause difficulties for teams as they try and plan who to have in their cars.

“Everybody wants to have the young driver test,” explained Force India’s deputy team principal, Robert Fernley, in an interview with Autosport, “But if we do it in Abu Dhabi we are putting the pressure on the crew because it will be five weeks away with no stop. If we do it at Silverstone, then the argument could be: have we seen who we want to test from the other series? We need a bit more discussion with the team managers to see what we do now.”

The week after the British Grand Prix at Silverstone sees the British Formula 2 event at Brands Hatch, including the World Series by Renault event at Moscow in Russia. This alone would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for drivers from these two series to make an appearance at the test.

With strict rules regarding in-season testing in Formula 1, it seems as though finding the correct venue and date for this week of testing is going to be a difficulty to achieve.

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