Buemi and Kubica to join Alonso at Young Drivers Test

2020 F1 season

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Red Bull and Alfa Romeo have joined Renault in announcing they will run experienced drivers in the post-season test which was originally designated for rookies.

Sebastien Buemi, Red Bull’s official reserve driver, will appear for the team in next week’s Young Drivers Test. The team will also run a second car for Junior Team member Juri Vips, who will make his debut in an official F1 test.

Buemi, 32, started 55 F1 races between 2009 and 2011, and won the 2015-16 Formula E championship. He is eligible to participate in the test as the FIA confirmed it will be open to past F1 drivers who did not compete in the championship this year.

Renault confirmed last week they will run two-times world champion Fernando Alonso in the test on December 15th

“I haven’t driven the car since the Pirelli test last year in Silverstone, so the test in Abu Dhabi is very important to me,” said Buemi. “I spend a lot of time working in the simulator and if you get the opportunity to drive the real car it’s much better for the correlation.”

Vips did a part-season in Formula Regional European this year and appeared in Formula 2 as a substitute for the injured Sean Gelael at DAMS.

The 20-year-old from Tallinn in Estonia said he is “extremely grateful for the opportunity that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing have given me to drive the RB16.

“This will be the first time I get to drive a current Formula 1 car as I did my 300 kilometres in an RB8. There will be a lot to learn but I will make sure I prepare as much as I can and it has been good for me to be with the team as reserve driver for the last few races.”

Alfa Romeo have also confirmed their drivers for the test. Robert Kubica, who last raced in Formula 1 in 2019, will drive alongside Formula 2 racer Callum Ilott.

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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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42 comments on “Buemi and Kubica to join Alonso at Young Drivers Test”

  1. It should be named as ‘Sim to Car F1 Test Days’.

    1. I get why Alonso (returning next year) and Kubica (pay driver) are getting a test. But how did Buemi end there? I think he’s one of those that should be in F1 and isn’t, but I’m confused as to why Red Bull brought him instead of one of their many average junior drivers.

  2. No school like the old school…

  3. Running Buemi is worse than running Alonso, but Buemi will not cause anywhere near the reactions that Alonso did.

    1. Buemi is a simulator driver, which can be useful for sim to track correlation. That’s the reason for Kubica, I presume.

      1. @jeff1s Kubica is there because of Orlen’s sponsorship Zloty’s…

        1. Just because he brings sponsorshi, like all of the motor racing drivers?

          1. @jeff1s in this case, the indication is that their sponsorship is explicitly linked to a requirement to the team to have to place Kubica into the car for a certain amount of mileage per year.

    2. Also Red Bull will run a second car for a rookie that helps.

  4. I understood that Alonso was given permission to drive as his last race was longer than two years ago, but why is Kubica allowed to drive?

    1. I think the clarification stated that you could take part provided you weren’t a 2020 driver.

  5. José Lopes da Silva
    9th December 2020, 13:16

    I want Alain Prost in the Renault and Mika Hakkinen in the McLaren.

    1. Alas, all this comes a little under a year too late. Just imagine: seeing Sir Stirling Moss back on the track.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        9th December 2020, 16:52

        Indeed. And why not a test for Emerson Fittipaldi in the Haas, to compare with his grandson?

        1. Good idea! Problem is there is not much time for Emerson to learn the manual of the car :)

    2. JAck Stewart seems to be free that weekend.

    3. I think Luca Badoer is also free to test that new Ferrari

    4. José Lopes da Silva, I know you meant it as a joke, but as an aside, you’re actually not quite as far off as you might think with Mika Hakkinen doing testing for McLaren.

      Back on the 30th November 2006, Mika Hakkinen took part in the post-season tyre test that the teams ran to gather test data on Bridgestone’s prototype tyres for the 2007 season, where he replaced McLaren’s normal test driver (which, at the time, was Pedro de la Rosa) that day.

      Furthermore, he covered a fairly significant number of laps too – 79 laps in total, which was the second highest number of laps that any McLaren driver was able to complete in a single day during that test – with the eye of returning to the sport with Williams in 2007 (although that deal fell through in the end).

      Although not a “young driver” test in that sense, Prost did actually undertake some tests for McLaren after he retired too – he tested their 1994, 1995 and 1996 cars (there is footage of Prost testing the MP4/11).

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        9th December 2020, 23:35

        Sure. Hakkinen Said later that there was and issue with the car which the tean onlt found later and that made hum reconsider the while comeback idea. And that’s my point: Mika still owes us a propor farewell. He is still on a sabbatical. While Prost should do a test like Lauda, Patrese, Fittipaldi and others did.

  6. This is the oldest young driver test in history. Surely they need to just rename it at this point. It’s a bit embarrassing.

    1. The post-career testing..

  7. I’ve seen less ridiculous headlines on the 1st of April

    I don’t know if the teams are doing this in protest to Alonso testing out if they can actually get more meaningful data from running an experienced driver but either case is outside the spirit of why young driver tests are run

  8. I think this is a real shame, and against the spirit of the rules. So many world-class talents get no wheel time in F1, and are losing their possibly one chance for that experience.

    I understand the value of this loophole for the teams, but Masi and his crew should’ve identified the gap and filled it.

    1. Pretty sure this isn’t Massi’s job.

    2. Young drivers are so old these days.

  9. Anyone remember the short-lived GP Masters series? Nigel Mansell won it from Emerson Fittipaldi at Kyalami in 2005

    This ‘Young’ Drivers Test seems like that

    1. It is only 3 out of 20 drivers who are taling part in the the test, not all 20 like gp masters.

    2. Jose Lopes da Silva
      10th December 2020, 9:41

      Great ideia! They could do a support race with the “young drivers”, and invite other drivers to make it 20. I’d like to see Rosberg testing, too. Both Rosbergs.

  10. COVID isn’t likely to go away in a meaningful sense until the second half of 2021. I wonder if these announcements in part reflects teams wanting to make sure they have an experienced back-up ready with recent car experience to drop in should their drivers be side-lined next season? If you’re going to have an experienced driver as your nominated reserve driver, better make sure they’re ready if you need them.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      10th December 2020, 9:47

      Makes sense, and in fact I don’t feel annoyes by the obliteration of the “young drivers” concept. I’d like to see Buemi again. Unfortunately there are only 17 seats.

      Red Bull is criticised for ending F1 careers, yet the grid is counting on Vettel, Ricciardo and Sainz. It’s 7 “red bull” drivers out of 17.

  11. What about the post-season test?

    1. @Dave This is about the post-season test.

      1. Now I don’t get why the Young Drivers Test and Post Season Test aren’t separate.

  12. I don’t know why F1 and FIA even have rules. Perhaps they see it as grass, as when there’s strong wind it bends, but survives unlike the rigid tree? Perhaps they were smoking some too… There is no rule they are not willing to change, even mid-season (like the qualy system a few years back), so mockery does not come as a surprise. A bit humiliating for the likes of Alonso and Kubica though, one would think. What’s next, they’ll ask for their own cradles in a kindergarten?

  13. Why are they calling this a “young drivers test” then?

    1. Because 17 of the drivers testing are young drivers and 3 experienced drivers are also in because that the rules allow it. People are reacting like all 10 teams are going to run 2 drivers over 35 years old.

  14. Well, teams have their rinos (reservdrivers in name only) which they don’t use, why would they care about using young drivers in the young drivers test?

  15. This is just getting ridiculous now. Surely this test should be evaluating new comers, not talented has-beens. I’m surprised Mika Hakkinen hasn’t been invited… How is anyone supposed to get experience with the lack of testing…

  16. This has just gotten to the point of being really silly.
    I realise that because there is so little testing, teams want to get any advantage they can but it must be heartbreaking for the group of talented youngsters that are going to miss out because the FIA can’t even manage to apply a very simple rule.

  17. José Lopes da Silva
    9th December 2020, 23:37

    Sure. Hakkinen Said later that there was and issue with the car which the tean onlt found later and that made hum reconsider the while comeback idea. And that’s my point: Mika still owes us a propor farewell. He is still on a sabbatical. While Prost should do a test like Lauda, Patrese, Fittipaldi and others did.

Comments are closed.