Sainz wants to join Alonso at ‘young drivers’ test

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr says he should be able to participate in the post-season test at Yas Marina which Fernando Alonso has been allowed into.

Renault confirmed yesterday the 39-year-old, two-times world champion, who will return to F1 next year following a two-year absence, has been given permission to participate in the test, which is intended for rookie drivers.

Sainz, who will switch from McLaren to Ferrari at the end of the season, wants to have the same opportunity with his new team at the test on December 15th.

“I’m willing to test for Ferrari,” said Sainz. “I think it’s no secret, especially now that the hand has been opened up by the FIA for drivers that are not rookies or not young drivers to test. I don’t see why the FIA wouldn’t maybe open the hand a bit also to other drivers.”

Ferrari has already announced Robert Shwartzman and Antonio Fuoco will drive for them in the test. Junior drivers Callum Ilott at Mick Schumacher will also test for their customer teams.

“Personally, I wouldn’t take any young driver out of the seat,” said Sainz. “I think Callum, Mick and Robert Shwartzman, I think they are all still going to test. So if I jump into a Ferrari I’m not going to not allow them to test and they’re going to still be testing.”

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul said they had been given permission to run Alonso in the test by the FIA “in recognition of our commitment to young drivers throughout junior motorsport and to Fernando’s own dedication to furthering the careers of young talents”.

Sainz believes Ferrari should get the same dispensation for him to drive.

“I think Ferrari is one of the teams that are promoting young drivers the most right now,” he said. “So I don’t see why I shouldn’t get the chance also to test.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, to be honest. I don’t know what’s the FIA’s decision but you can tell that I’m going to try and be there as much as I can.”

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2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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32 comments on “Sainz wants to join Alonso at ‘young drivers’ test”

  1. Yup he is like 15 years younger…

    1. He should turn up as “Carlos Sainz Jnr Jnr”, shuffling around on his knees and talking in a high voice.

  2. Well, can’t really see why he shouldn’t when Alonso is somehow allowed (yes, Alonso wasn’t in F1, but that’s his own doing, no fault of Ferrari/Sainz jr.); and what about Vettel/RP, or even Ricciardo/McLaren then? Still think that allowing these guys in at all is rather weird though.

    But, with so many teams not running anyone at all anyway, I think that is the real issue – how to make it worth their while to give promising young drivers the opportunity to drive those cars and show a bit of their talent and work approach, getting them to experience some of what F1 means.

  3. Hehehe, Alonso is back causing trouble already

    1. Just wait until Briatore arrives.

  4. A can of worms has opened thanks to both Renault and FIA, but more so the latter.

  5. Alonso has been out of F1 racing for a couple of years. He qualifies as a new driver for the 2020 machinery. I don’t understand these ageist comments. I am really disappointed with Sainz here.

    Perhaps F1 should change the naming to “new drivers test” instead of “young drivers test”? And yes, you would qualify as a new driver for the 2021 season if you haven’t taken part in a full 2020 season. Hulkenberg would also be able to take part of the “new drivers test” in that respect.

    1. someone or something
      4th December 2020, 9:08

      So would Hamilton.

      1. Hamilton would not exactly qualify as a stand-in driver for the 2020 season.

        1. someone or something
          4th December 2020, 10:29

          you would qualify as a new driver for the 2021 season if you haven’t taken part in a full 2020 season

          Your words, not mine.

          1. Did you feel proud or smart after writing that?

            The comments here sometimes, Jesus Christ.

          2. someone or something
            4th December 2020, 13:29

            @ Postreader
            I could ask the same about your choice which hill to die on. Are you Oliver’s sock puppet, or did you just choose to be offended in his stead, when there was actually nothing to be offended about?

            I just took the proposal at face value and provided an example highlighting why it would be flawed. The second exchange came about when he defended his proposal with a wording that, in my opinion, was not a rephrasing of what he’d written earlier, but a different proposal altogether.

            Now tell me at what stage this justifies going passive-aggressive without even having taken part in the conversation?

          3. My plea is that the “young driver test” naming is missing the point. Your age does not reveal anything about your experience with this year’s F1 car. And how do you define “young”?

            Instead it should be called “new driver test”, referring to those that will be a new full time racing driver in the upcoming Championship. Alonso would thus be more entitled to the “new driver test” than Sainz who is competing as a full time racing driver in the current Championship. My 2 cents.

          4. someone or something
            4th December 2020, 17:16

            @ Olivier
            Completely agree with you in that regard.
            The current situation is simply not satisfactory, because the test format doesn’t really live up to its name. Instead of giving 10 or more young, fresh drivers a chance to prepare for F1, we get drivers like Gary Paffett, with decades of experience, who will most likely never, ever race in F1.

            Now we have a situation where the rules have been (exceptionally) relaxed a little, but instead of getting a bunch of young, inexperienced drivers (who may or may not be about to start their careers in F1) plus a not-so-young driver, who is preparing for his comeback after missing two seasons, we get even more vastly experienced drivers (Buemi and Kubica), whose chances of ever returning are basically zero. They’re there because their teams want feedback from experienced drivers instead of rookies, which is the exact opposite of what the test is meant for.

            So, yes, a new definition would be nice, a definition that ensures that the teams only field drivers that benefit from the test. But the examples of Hamilton and (at the other extreme) Fittipaldi (maybe spare a thought for Hülkenberg) highlight the need for a very precise wording in order not to produce farcical results. Where does one draw the line? How many races in what timeframe before you’re out? How do you prove you’re preparing for a comeback? We have little reason not to think Alonso will return full-time in 2021, him having signed a contract and all. But what’s stopping Alfa Romeo from signing Kubica for 2021 so he can drive the test instead of a less experienced, less lucrative driver, and then ‘firing’ him before the season really begins?
            This is F1, after all. As soon as you no longer go for a loophole which exists, you are no longer an F1 team.
            My pile of change.

    2. Since it is indeed named “young driver test” ageist comments seem very appropriate to me.

    3. Why are you disappointed with Sainz? he makes a good point and he’s not disrespectful in any way. If Alonso is able to test, so should he.

      I don’t see anythng in Renault and Alonso that would qualify them to this exceptional situation “in recognition of our commitment to young drivers throughout junior motorsport and to Fernando’s own dedication to furthering the careers of young talents”. As much as I love the old fox here, this just feels like Renault given a hand by FIA in case Red Bull need the engines or something like that. More a political thing than anything else.

    4. There is only one institution to be dissappointed in and that is the FIA. Anyone with more than one braincell could see coming that if you bend the rules for one driver, several others will follow.

    5. Olivier this is nonsense. There are quite clear rules in place to qualify for a Super Licence and there is no need for additional running if you have held a licence in the last three seasons you automatically qualify. The idea that Alonso meets the qualification standards but at the same time isn’t good enough would imply the standards are wrong but the reality is it’s just another case of Alonso thinking that the rules only apply to others and not himself.

      Am I surprised Alonso/Renault tried to get this advantage for themselves? No. Am I surprised that the FIA blatantly went outside of the agreed rules for the test? Absolutely. It shows the FIA has no teeth – they had an easy way to simply avoid any controversy here by saying that the rules were agreed ages ago and that’s that. I don’t think they have any real option now other than to allow Sainz, Ricciardo and Vettel to test with their new teams if they want (in Ricciardo’s case I’m not sure that there is such a huge benefit given the engine change coming – but there’s still some benefit in terms of personnel and procedures)

  6. Renault could have used a couple of FP1 sessions this season for Alonso instead of abusing a young driver test. He should drive around with a big R for Rookie the entire season after this test.

    Fernando in F1:
    314 entries (3rd)
    311 starts (3rd)
    2 WDC (combined 11th)
    32 Wins (6th)
    97 Podiums (6th)
    1,899 Career points (3rd)
    22 Pole positions (13th)
    23 Fastest laps (combined 10th)

  7. Its really a big joke and embarassing for Alonso, even for the sport itself; still don’t understand why bringing the prima donna back when there are plenty of good young drivers who deserve their turn.

    1. @f1sauber because he’s better than most and one of the sport’s biggest talents? I don’t think how you can overlook Alonso if he’s available for a drive.

      1. @fer-no65 “because he’s better than most and one of the sport’s biggest talents” and yet this article is literally about how the FIA has agreed to change the rules of the young driver test so that he can get some extra practise time (perhaps Stroll should also get to join the test).

  8. The real problem here is that pre-season testing for 2021 is three days only.

    Understandable why that is the case, but that’s the issue here.

  9. “in recognition of our commitment to young drivers” how many of these young drivers have graduated through the program into a Renault car? I can’t think of any

    1. @hollidog Basically this reads ‘in recognition of our commitment to young drivers, FIA allowed us to pick a senior driver with multiple championships on his back to participate in the young driver test’. Absolutely pathetic piece of PR. Also, the way they justify Alonso taking part because of ‘Fernando’s own dedication to furthering the careers of young talents’ is just ridiculous… he’s literally taking the place away from a potential new young driver to gain experience.

  10. Abiteboul wants his new driver to drive, but will not release Dan to join McLaren. Typical.
    If it is good for FA, then good for the others swapping chassis.

  11. Lewisham Milton
    4th December 2020, 13:03

    It’s refreshing to see drivers moving between teams and not just within whichever of Ferrari, Red Bull or Merc signed them up in F3 or karts…

    I’d like to see young Sergio at the test, driving for Red Bull, and the team could see if they’d get along or he’d do or say something unforgivable like Gasly did.

  12. Given Alonso’s been out for so long, and (from what I read a few weeks ago) pre-season testing has been cut down to just three days for 2021, allowing him to take part makes sense.

    Allowing a regular race driver who’s just done a full season doesn’t make sense.

    1. Given Alonso’s been out for so long, and (from what I read a few weeks ago) pre-season testing has been cut down to just three days for 2021, allowing him to take part makes sense.

      Allowing a regular race driver who’s just done a full season doesn’t make sense.

      From your perspective, it does make sense. But in that case, it should be a “new driver” test, instead of a “young driver” test, where anyone joining F1 for 2021 is allowed to participate. Which in turn reduces the likelyhood that a team will run a young driver – because that is no longer required to be in the test. Why use a driver with no experience when you can run a veteran who has had a year out, and can give accurate feedback straight away?

      I think the issue here is that Alonso, one of the most successful and experienced F1 drivers ever is being allowed into a rookie test. I can understand why others are objecting.

    2. @neilosjames Renault are choosing not to give him other opportunities to drive the car (e.g. FP1). If it’s so important that they can bend the rules of a young driver test why was it not important enough for Renault to actually run him when the rules already allow it?

      1. Maybe there are contractual obligations with its existing drivers that requires a certian number of FP outings in a season. Also, it is a close fight to third place and FPs are needed for working on the setup.

  13. I dont think Sainz Jnr is a long term prospect at Ferrari. He is probably a seat warmer for these FDA drivers. Therefore it is important for Ferrari to give these drivers some mileage.

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