Sainz and Vettel criticise Alonso testing decision as illogical and unfair

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr and Sebastian Vettel are disappointed they will not be allowed to take part in next week’s post-season test at the Yas Marina Circuit.

The day of running on Tuesday was originally designated a Young Drivers Test. However the FIA subsequently notified teams it would also be open to any former drivers who did not participate in this year’s world championship.

Experienced drivers including Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Buemi and Robert Kubica will therefore take part. Sainz said it is illogical drivers such as himself, who are changing teams for next year, will not be able to use the test to acclimatise to their new cars.

“There hasn’t been any logic explained to me, because, first of all, I think there’s very little logic behind it,” he said. “I think not many people really understand what’s going on.

“Of course I’m disappointed [at] not being able to test, but I have to accept it and turn the page. I will make sure I’m prepared as much as I can for next year.”

Teams are ordinarily only allowed to run one car per test, but are being permitted to use two next week. As pre-season testing next year has been cut from six days to three, Sainz said experienced drivers should have been allowed to participate.

“If it’s only one and a half day testing for each driver next year, the logical thing would have been to open up the hand to some or to all of the drivers who wanted to take part in the Abu Dhabi test. Especially knowing it’s two cars per team.”

Sainz said the test would have been useful to begin acclimatising himself to the Ferrari cockpit and adjusting it to his needs.

“To at least fit the driver into a car, knowing that next year is the same chassis and see that everything is more or less working well, with the safety aspects from the jump-out test to the fitting of the car itself, it’s obviously primarily important. Those are the things that thanks to the Abu Dhabi test, we would have been able to sort out and get a bit of a head start on.

“Unfortunately, it’s not happening and obviously I’m disappointed, but [it’s] nothing I can change.”

Sebastian Vettel, who will move from Ferrari to Racing Point after this weekend’s race, also criticised the FIA’s decision, describing it as unfair.

“It’s not my decision to take [but] I think if you allow Fernando then basically you have to allow everyone.

“I think the governance should take a fair decision which in this case I don’t think they did otherwise Carlos and some others and myself would have had the opportunity to test.”

“I haven’t looked at the full explanation but it’s also a bit pointless because we are not allowed to test,” he added.

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2020 Abu Dhabi 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
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28 comments on “Sainz and Vettel criticise Alonso testing decision as illogical and unfair”

  1. Ha, makes sense that they would both dislike this, since neither of them can!
    I think that on the other hand neither Seb nor Carlos would be able to do so anyway, since their teams would have to release them before the end of the year, and I think Ferrari have already mentioned that they wouldn’t and I see no pressing reason for McLaren to do it either.

    And yeah, I kind of agree that having the likes of Alonso, but also Kubica, Buemi, possible Vandoorne and in years past Paffel already make a joke of the term “young driver test”.

    1. Who was the “young driver” that McL kept bringing to their tests? besides Pedro de la Rosa…

      Was it Gary Parfett?

    2. @bascb I would agree that, based on what we have heard from McLaren and Ferrari, it is rather unlikely that their teams would allow them to participate in that test – in that sense, they can launch criticism knowing that, to some extent, it doesn’t really matter.

      @faulty you are correct that McLaren used to employ Gary Paffett as their test driver, and he used to drive for them in the “young driver” tests which were held in the past. He has also taken part in tests for Williams, which hired him in 2016 after he left McLaren in 2014, back in 2017 (although that was the general post-season test, rather than a specific “young driver” test session).

  2. Very easy, you raced in F1 this year and have done more than two races overall in F1.
    In Seb’s case, he’s automatically out of the question since his future team won’t even participate in the test anyway, the same with Ricciardo and Mclaren.

    1. To be fair, both Racing Point and McLaren chose not to attend based on the “rules” at the time. Had they been told that their respective incumbents could test, I’m sure they would have committed to running.
      On Seb’s side, the bigger stumbling block would be Ferrari releasing him before Dec 31st.

  3. Does not seem illogical to me.
    Those that haven’t had a contract in over 2 years are allowed to test, those that have been racing all year in F1 are not. The justification for this is probably that significant difference between the current cars and those even just 2 years old.
    The only really illogical thing is calling it Young Drivers Test.

    1. @x1znet Agreed and was thinking the same. Lol perhaps they need to change the name of the test.

      1. Makes perfect sense. That in itself is why it won’t be taken up.
        No confusion, no press. No press, no notoriety. No notoriety … why is anyone interested.?

    2. Those that haven’t had a contract in over 2 years are allowed to test

      So how does that cover Robert Kubica testing?

  4. I think it is logical for this one day test to be for those who have not raced this season, as per the rule. Especially because of what Sainz has said about only three pre-season days next year. If he thinks he’s ‘left out’ by not being able to sit in a 2020 Ferrari for a day, how about FA who hasn’t sat in an F1 car for a few years? I’d say that’s more important than drivers who have just come off a season getting a day. And you make a good point @bascb would they even be released so quickly after the season by their current teams?

    Much ado about nothing for me and I think this will be forgotten quite quickly. It’s not a game changer and they’ll all be in totally different feeling cars next year once their floors have been diminished and they’ve done alterations to claw some downforce back. I’m sure setups will be different next year than this as will be the tires (not sure about the tires though).

    In general I still find it strange and a bit depressing that they get so few test days throughout a year in general, in spite of the needed cost savings.

    1. @robbie it’s the confluence of the desire to expand the calendar to increase revenues, whilst at the same time reflecting the fact that testing is a net cost for the team.

  5. I’m wondering if Alonso is still Sainz’s hero and inspiration after this.

    1. @wsrgo Why wouldn’t he be? FA didn’t give himself permission to test, the FIA did. Or maybe you’re just being tongue in cheek?

      1. @robbie Yeah mate, it was worded wrongly, it should have been from Sainz’s perspective and not Alonso’s. And it was tongue-in-cheek, 100% :D

  6. I agree the rules seems to be unclear or at least the term “Young driver test” is misleading.

    But it’s quite a bit of bad-faith from Vettel and Sainz. It’s obvious that all the drivers allowed (Alonso, Buemi etc) did not drive in F1 for some years while they were (and are this WE) the full year in F1. The difference is clear and it’s not illogical to have an extra “Discovery / Refresh” test day for driver that were not in F1 the year before.

    1. It’s obvious that all the drivers allowed (Alonso, Buemi etc) did not drive in F1 for some years while they were

      Robert Kubica?

      1. Was he in F1 in 2029 ?

        1. Are you being sarcastic? Cause if you’re not, yes, he very much was. (in addition to partaking in several FPs this year)

  7. At the end of the day, they cant test end off, as most people have said the cars will be marginally different next year then from this years car. I do however think the Young Drivers Test should be scrapped at the end of next year, and have it as a 2022 car test, have a bog standard car that the FIA supply and every driver gets 3 laps each to acclimatise to the new car

  8. The decision by Renault to run Alonso had NOTHING to do with getting him mileage… it’s simply to gain a sporting advantage by getting his feedback on this years car ahead of a winter of development

    The FIA must surely know this and should have seen straight through it denied the request

    Yet another example of the FIA not enforcing their own rules. It’s a disgrace, glad Todt is leaving soon, let’s hope his replacement is an honest man and can bring some respect back to them

    1. @the-edge Spot on! Its all about having Alonso provide feedback for the team to process over the winter

      1. @the-edge Pretty sure he’ll be spending some time just getting up to speed, and then yeah sure ok a bit of feedback on a car that is about to be altered floor wise so…yeah I think FIA is well aware of that, and well aware that he’s been out of an F1 car for a while, and well aware that the ‘sporting advantage’ is minuscule and irrelevant, which is why they allowed it. And btw they have enforced their own rules. At their discretion they can allow drivers who have not raced in 2020 to do this day.

        Horner, as one example, has no issue with it, including if indeed FIA had breached their own rule and allowed Sainz, Vettel, and Ricciardo to do the day. Imho for FA the FIA has allowed him one orientation day as a 2- time Champ and a big icon in F1, to shake out a few cobwebs. But hey, if he can take this one day and turn it into an advantage for himself and Renault for next year in cars that will feel very different and require whole new setup work then all I can say is wow…he must be a genius.

        Other than two drivers that have cried ‘unfair’ are the teams up in arms about this? Do they see this as some unfair advantage? Doesn’t seem like it from what I can tell and as I say Horner told Sky last weekend he has no issue with it including some drivers that have actually raced this season but are changing teams. Let’s be mindful too that Renault loses the continuity from this year to next they would have had had DR stayed.

  9. To at least fit the driver into a car, knowing that next year is the same chassis and see that everything is more or less working well, with the safety aspects from the jump-out test to the fitting of the car itself, it’s obviously primarily important

    You don’t need to drive a car to do these things, so just sit in the garage!

  10. Yep. Whiney Sainzy. Common sense and basic logic has departed from most of the world these days.

  11. Come on! Testing rules are fair and logical. Those F1 drivers who drove in this year’s championship have enough tests. Let the others test, too!

  12. Not sure what the problem is here.

    When Rubens moved to Indycar a problem he complained about was being unable to get the extra rookie practice session time. Seems fair to me that Alonso should be able to participate in this test.

  13. This is about safety too.

    You don’t want Alonso having an unfair advantage that gives him an advantage over current drivers and rookies next year, but you want drivers coming into the sport to be properly prepared.

    The Grosjean crash shows how easily it can go wrong in these cars.

  14. Nothing illogical, the rules are clear; no driver who participated recently in this season can test.

    The only illogical thing I suppose is naming it “young drivers test”

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