Four teams confirm Bahrain test line-ups

2013 F1 season

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The four teams who will attend this week’s test in Bahrain have confirmed who will drive for them.

New Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat will be at the wheel of one of their cars along with team mate Jean-Eric Vergne.

Mercedes are the only other team to rely on their race drivers for the test, with Nico Rosberg doing all three days.

Red Bull will also use a single driver, with Sebastien Buemi in action throughout the test.

Ferrari will split their running between two of their test drivers: Pedro de la Rosa and Marussia’s Jules Bianchi.

The three-day test begins tomorrow at the Bahrain International Circuit. it has been arranged by the FIA “on safety grounds”.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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54 comments on “Four teams confirm Bahrain test line-ups”

  1. No Hamilton for Mercedes? Wasn’t he initially confirmed?

    1. Here is the answer why – from Mercedes Twitter

      1. Teehee, I love the reply “Skiing in Switzerland” for that Tweet.

        1. yeah, a clever one I thought

  2. I understand some teams not being there since a lot of them are strapped for cash and this test would probably cost quite a bit, but I don’t understand McLaren’s absence. I mean, there’s always benefit. Give new drivers time in the car, create a base understanding of compounds (even if not final), …

    Look at STR: Kvyat is entirely new to F1 and with so few opportunities to get vital track time, he will get some of it. Meanwhile McLaren could have done the same with Magnussen, but they won’t.

    1. I wouldn’t surprised if the fact that since the end of this season they will be paying cash for their engines played an important role in this Matt

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        16th December 2013, 13:11

        Fair enough but I would have thought the chance to give Magnussen some track time would have been considered priceless!

    2. McLaren is taking place in the test, as are Force India. They just haven’t confirmed driver lineups yet.

    3. McLaren and FI were participating but backed out later due tight time frame in which they had to prepare.

    4. I thought they’d be guaranteed at the test for this very reason. So they can’t complain there. But McLaren rely heavily on the simulator – it was even some of the basis on which they picked Magnussen over Perez. They rate Magnussen even higher than Lewis in the sim….

  3. First of all, lets hope it really is safe there!

    Interesting to see Rosberg wants to do the testing job. I do think in part its because of his drive to better Hamilton. If so, that would be great. I guess RBR and Ferrari give their simulator drivers a go because that way they will be able to work on getting a more perfected simulator.
    Kvyat getting some track time with the team is good, he has still got to learn the team procedures. I guess Vergne is there to give them feedback, or maybe to already compare the two

    1. There has been no news of violence recently, the odd report of people being jailed but that’s it. The violence seems to flare up when the world focuses its eyes on the country which is generally when F1 rolls into town…

      1. So you are saying we shouldn’t be too eager to go and have a look then @geemac, to avoid luring people into getting active :-O

        1. It’s only testing so it’ll probably be ok. The protesters need the global focus and a few cars trundling round testing different versions of tyre probably isn’t going to give them that. That said, I’ve probably jinxed it now!

      2. Protesters in Bahrain love attention so they choose the F1 event to go crazy.
        The media always exaggerate the situation to make it more dramatic, but I still hope things go smoothly.

  4. A quick question about this test, are there restrictions around what can and can’t be tested? I know its been arranged for tyre safety but do the cars need to be in 2013 racing spec?

    If not I would have thought this was an idea opportunity to strap a few 2014 bits and bobs on.

    1. As far as I understand the cars have to be in a spec used this year already and cannot be changed during the test – much like what was done for the time there were regular drivers in the cars during the week reserved for the YDT this year.

      1. Yep, as I thought @bascb, thanks!

        On a side note I wonder how much scrutineering really goes on at these events. A new wing or changes to the side pods would be obvious but there is a heap of other stuff teams would no doubt love to test from engine mapping software to button layouts on the steering wheel.

        1. Well, in the past even if teams were informed and could send their representative, hardly ever did one turn up. But I think that since the thing with Mercedes (and Ferrari) doing those tests for Pirelli, its likely that all teams will send people over, and the FIA has already informed of a solid team of observers that will be there to keep a check on things too @b3ndy

        2. I wonder how much scrutineering really goes on at these events.

          The FIA don’t do any scrutineering during the test’s.

          However the FIA do have people at the test’s & will run legality checks on a car if that team request’s a new design be checked for legality.
          If you go back to Pre-season testing this year Williams tried a new exhaust design at the 1st test yet when they asked the FIA to check it the FIA ruled it illegal so they changed it for the final test.

          Its not uncommon to see Mid-field teams run cars below the weight limits during testing to set a lap time trying to attract new sponsors. Prost did this at the start of 2001 with Alesi breaking the Barcelona track record.
          They also used to be able to test a car that had failed the FIA crash test’s but that was changed 2-3 years back.

          1. @gt-racer I wondered during the season if Williams were really missing that banned exhaust, as their coanda exhaust seemed to be consigning them to the 3rd slowest car all year. But then, they took it off altogether and the car was faster with Bottas!

  5. It will be interesting to see if Hamilton manages to bag an extra day or 2 of pre season testing over rosberg because of this like when Alonso missed the first test last year to get an extra day later on.

    1. I doubt Hamilton will be given extra running for missing this test as with the new rules for next year they will want both drivers to have an equal chance to figure out the new cars in the pre-season test’s.

      The test this week is been done with 2013 cars/engine’s so its not like missing the test will cost drivers much. Yes there running 2014 tyres but with it been done to this years regulations & with Pirelli not telling anyone what the tyres are the drivers won’t really be learning a great deal, Certainly not enough to give them any advantage over those sitting out the test.

  6. First sign of Vettel hanging his balls into the pool! I think this must be the first test he misses where he could have gone.

    1. @mike-dee Ha! Great to see someone bookmarked that quote – especially since Rosberg is driving all three days :)

      1. On the other hand Vettel might be busy in the simulator trying to unlearn how to drive with the exhaust gases sealing the diffusor.


        1. @mike-dee Knowing Vettel, that’s very likely..

        2. Indeed. Every day they will be flying Buemi over after the on track action to update the simulator and then next day Vettel can go full out with the model of the new car on updated tyres ;-)

        3. Good point. Should be interesting to see how his driving style changes.

    2. He’s a future father, I understand his absence. :P

      1. And we now know where he has been dangling those balls instead of in the pool, eh!

  7. Yet again, it’s interesting to see Ferrari asking Bianchi: I know he’s still in their junior programme, but because he’s already an F1 driver, it shows that either 1) they are training him to replace Gené in the future or 2) they are still seriously considering him to replace Raikkonen or Alonso, whoever leaves the team first. And yes, I expect the ALO-RAI partnerships won’t last longer than two years, so that’s realistic imo.

    1. I still think that Ferrari are considering two ways forward in future, concerning drivers: established stars like Vettel and Hulkenberg, to replace Raikkonen and Alonso, or young drivers given a few years at a feeder team: Bianchi, Marciello or Fuoco. Picking their FDA drivers could save them tens of millions in driver salaries, that could then be fed back into car development. Otherwise, they’ll still have the best driver pairing in Vettel/Hulk.

      But, more likely IMO is that there will be one of both, i.e. a guaranteed WDC driver, alongside a handy Ferrari grown number 2 driver (like Massa was).

      1. W (@yesyesyesandyesagain)
        16th December 2013, 19:31

        A Vettel and Bianchi pairing is likely the future at Ferrari. If Bianchi has another good year for Marussia in 2014 I’d wager he’ll end up at Sauber next year in preparation for a move to the main team. If Bianchi doesn’t continue developing Ferrari might instead go for Hulkenberg.

        1. There is no reason for Vettel joining Ferrari, unless either Raikkonen or Alonso win the Chanpionship next year.

          1. True, but at the moment that has to be seen as unlikely. They’re more likely to just win the WCC. And Kimi/Alonso aren’t going to be around forever.. they are approaching their mid-30s now. Kimi could possibly retire again after 2 years in a Ferrari? He’s the elder statesman of the sport now at 34 for 2014.. far reach from coming in as a fresh faced 21 year old in 2001! Would Alonso also retire at Ferrari? Or continue on at McLaren-Honda for Button? Blow up again trying to face Magnussen, the team’s incumbent rookie wunderkind…

            Arguably, Massa is now the journeyman driver. Raikkonen, Alonso and Button are all still at top teams, while Webber has retired from one. Massa makes for quite a fast journeyman driver though at times! Practically won a WDC in a top car! Nowadays, it seems that only WDCs or WDC contenders can make it to ten years in F1.

            But behind him, is Sutil (definitely a journeyman, once he has outbid Di Resta for a seat in F1), possibly followed by Maldonado (still a race-winner) and VDG (just developing his career a step at a time) in age (Hamilton and Rosberg, Vettel and Hulk, Grosjean etc. set to stay on merit). Below them though, is a trend for money over talent (probably because money is now scarcer than ever in F1, post-financial crisis), with the up-to-5-year-careers-who-lose-out-to-money-eventually (e.g. Di Resta) drivers not even making it in the door, unless attached to a team’s YDT program! And then, even some of them can’t make it in either!

          2. W (@yesyesyesandyesagain)
            17th December 2013, 16:22


            I think the draw of Ferrari will always lure the sports best drivers. What driver on the planet wouldn’t want to win an F1 race in a Ferrari?

            However, if Red Bull produces another amazing car and keeps winning Vettel will have a much tougher decision to make.

        2. @yesyesyesandyesagain That’s a very logical outcome, and actually could be the odds-on favourite. We’ll just have to wait and see!

          1. I have this feeling that Vettel is even more pragmatic and dry than Schummi and he will milk Red Bull for Championships as long as he can :)

    2. I’m predicting them to put Bianchi in a Ferrari in 2016. Bianchi would be the no2 driver to Vettel or Hulkenberg, depending on the Alonso situation, and the Red Bull situation by that stage. I think 2015 is when either Alonso returns to McLaren or Hulkenberg goes to them. If the latter happens then I’ll say Vettel-Bianchi is Ferrari’s line-up in 2016. The former: Hulkenberg-Bianchi in 2016. The only chance of Alonso being at Ferrari in 2016 is if he wins a title by then.

      1. I am pretty sure that Alonso has a contract with Ferrari until the end of 2016.

        1. That doesn’t guarantee he’ll be there then.

      2. I expect them to maintain Raikkonen and Alonso until Raikkonen retires in 2015, and then Bianchi joins in Alonso’s last year.

      3. Hulkenberg-Bianchi would be a strong line-up. I can only think that if they don’t go for this as back-up that they are going all out for two fresh faced Italian drivers.. Marciello and Fuoco must be hoping they dominate their respective series next year…

  8. I wonder what Red Bull has planned for Toro Rosso for the next few years? If Daniel Ricciardo comes good at the senior team, they’ll have a strong, settled line-up with many years ahead of them, and no immediate need for a replacement. That’s assuming Vettel doesn’t leave the team for Ferrari, of course, but even if he did, I think they’d try to fill his seat with a more exciting talent than Vergne or Kvyat – with apologies to the latter, whom I know only by reputation.

    1. If Kvyat fails next year, they will replace him. If Vergne scores less points than Kvyat, they ‘ll drop him.

    2. I think Kvyat probably has a good 2-3 years to develop, the same as the other Toro Rosso drivers. Marko thinks he could be very good… I see him as a replacement for Vettel in time (if he indeed moves to Ferrari..), with Ricciardo (outright 1 lap pace, slow starter, Aussie) being the direct replacement for Webber, just more ‘PR friendly’ (turn that frown, upside down!), if not as frank.

      The real question is, who will replace Vergne when he is let go at the end of 2014? Unless he stars with the new regs and DR disappoints, it’s hard to see him staying on past 3 years. Lotus have now hit financial problems, cutting off his other choice (a la Alguersuari) from Total sponsorship beaten by Maldonado’s PDVSA. RB/Marko have Felix da Costa, Sainz Jr and now Pierre Gasly to consider. Olsen, Blomqvist etc. will be too young/not on the RB program by then most likely. Felix da Costa could also be considered to be a Buemi sim/testing/reserve role replacement long term, if not for a race drive.

      So far the signs point to Kvyat and Gasly at Toro Rosso in 2015 for me, but of course it depends on how all the junior drivers do in FR3.5 next year (or FdC in DTM/testing as an outside bet/backup choice). Sainz Jr is effectively being put into a shootout for 2015 with the current Eurocup FR2.0 champion, as Felix da Costa was this year with Kvyat (GP3 Champion). You could even speculate that if all of them disappoint that Stoffel Vandoorne may get another call from Marko (and McLaren may accept if they can’t get him into F1 anywhere), if he bosses the field in GP2 next year.

      1. @fastiesty I can actually see Vergne being dropped as early as next summer if he remains stagnated. Let’s be honest they don’t really need him around anymore because he’s never getting near a Red Bull seat and he’s been poor since Canada so Kvyat could be more relied on to get the points. This might sound ridiculous, but I think Vergne is still there in part as a goodwill gesture for losing out to Ricciardo for the Red Bull seat.

        I think your prediction is pretty realistic for 2015. It is between Sainz and Gasly if Vergne is dropped mid-season. If Sainz does well in his half a season at STR, Kvyat-Sainz in 2015 is likely with Gasly doing FP1s. If he does badly, it will be Kvyat-Gasly with no 3rd driver doing FP1s. If Gasly replaces Vergne mid-season, he’ll be there in 2015 regardless. I know I may be well wide of the mark, but Toro Rosso having Renault engines now could mean they are inclined to put Frenchmen in the cars. It isn’t like Marko is afraid of throwing very young drivers in the deep end of F1 either, so Gasly is a shoo-in in a few years at least.

        I think the decision to put da Costa in as test driver means Red Bull won’t put him in a Toro Rosso unless he produces miracles in DTM. He’ll need to leave the Red Bull family to get an F1 drive, which I think he will do.

        1. I don’t think it was just goodwill from Redbull to retain Vergne at Torro Rosso. There is probably more to it. They probably need him as a reference point to see how good Kvyat really is. The already sacked both their drivers once, and it let them without reference point the next year. As a result, we don’t know if either Ricciardo or Vergne is any better than Buemi/Algersuari.

          1. There was definitely more to it I agree, that’s why I said “in part”. Being a reference is another reason along with having some continuity, but I think his F1 career is hanging by a thread going into next season. If a rookie is beating him, there will be nothing stopping Marko from dropping Vergne for either Sainz or Gasly.

        2. @deej92 I had considered this, but thought perhaps Marko may have learned from putting Alguersuari in half way through the season. But, it does have to be considered (it’s a logical conclusion from the direction of our/his thoughts), and if Renault want a Frenchman, then Vergne is definitely their man (Total sponsorship would back him as well, as with Grosjean) for now, hence being retained (and also technical stability). Renault might be losing Pic next year, so to lose Vergne mid-season (even if it is for Gasly, who would have zero F1 experience, as did Jaime) would be a loss. Perhaps it is necessary to do so by 2015 (they’ll just retain Grosjean with Total sponsorship, or pick up Gasly instead), and perhaps Gasly was selected on merit as well. But, given that we know how Marko operates (sometimes talent, sometimes backing, sometimes both, all depending on the situation), a Renault connection is a good deduction to make.

          Maybe, by 2015 we will see CEPSA replaced by Renault or Total, as Sainz Jr is let go. This must be his last chance (despite being younger than Kvyat), while Felix da Costa is probably resigned to being a long term test-driver/DTM driver/Buemi replacement, which is still not too bad a deal. We could end up with Kvyat-Ricciardo (Felix da Costa) and Gasly-Olsen come 2016/17.

          After all that, it is true to say that if Vergne disappoints and is fired after Canada or August (Canada for the 1 year irony!), then whoever is picked by Marko to replace him (as it would be for 2.5 years like Jaime, not for the rest of 2014 and a new replacement in 2015) would have to bite his hand off and accept the seat, even if it is Gasly, who 1 year ago would have still been driving a Eurocup FR2.0 car! Reminiscent of Kimi! TBH, his job would be as hard, if not harder than Kimi actually.. while Kimi jumped straight to F1 and did a full pre-season testing, Gasly has probably the same mileage, yet done in a FR3.5 car, which is not quite an F1 car… It took Alguersuari the rest of 2009 to come up to speed, so he effectively started fully in 2010.

          @me4me Indeed, it is fair to say that we don’t know, but it is likely that Red Bull/Marko know from their extensive simulator testing data. McLaren used it to help them put in Magnussen in place of Perez, as Perez was disappointing (they don’t even have a simulator at Sauber, which has also hampered Gutierrez), and Magnussen scored as high, if not higher than, Hamilton in the simulator.

  9. F1Picko (@supercoolf1fan22)
    16th December 2013, 16:32

    Antonio Felix da Costa is doing it for RBR as well

  10. um, no article here about the test which is already approaching it’s last day???

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