De Vries and Vandoorne to test for Mercedes in Abu Dhabi

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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The Mercedes Formula 1 team will give testing opportunities to its Formula E drivers Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne at the Yas Marina Circuit next week.

The December 15th test was originally designated an event for young drivers. However the FIA has informed teams that drivers who have started more than two F1 races will be allowed to participate if they have not raced in the series this year.

That opened the door for Vandoorne, who raced in F1 for McLaren between 2016 and 2018. He was passed over for a promotion to Mercedes’ race team last week when Lewis Hamilton was unable to participate in the Sakhir Grand Prix. George Russell was given the opportunity instead of him.

Last year’s Formula 2 champion De Vries has not raced in Formula 1, and joined Vandoorne at Mercedes’ new Formula E team for the 2019-20 season. He finished the championship 11th after scoring his best result, second, in the final race.

De Vries, who like Vandoorne was previously a member of McLaren’s junior driver programme, will have his first run in a Formula 1 car. “[I was] buzzing from the day I was informed,” he said on social media. “This will become my Formula 1 debut. Can’t thank Mercedes enough for the faith and opportunity. Dreams come true.”

Other teams are taking advantage of the opportunity to run more experienced drivers. Fernando Alonso, who will return to F1 next year with Renault, will test alongside the team’s junior driver Guanyu Zhou.

Former F1 drivers Robert Kubica and Sebastien Buemi will also test, for Alfa Romeo and Red Bull respectively.

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2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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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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7 comments on “De Vries and Vandoorne to test for Mercedes in Abu Dhabi”

  1. As I mentioned a few days ago, it could well be that another reason for not having Vandoorne race, but rather Russel (apart from many others) was also that it would have meant they would have had to change plans for this test, since Vandoorne would not have qualified had he raced in F1 in 2020.

    Apart from that, good that Mercedes puts in drivers they know and work with but at least one of them counts as a realy young driver (de Vries) without previous F1 experience. Unlike all those others who have seasons of races under their belts.

    1. @bascb According to this article on Autosport, Aitken is eligible to run for Williams because he’s done less than two race weekends in 2020, and Vandoorne would also qualify if he had stepped in for Hamilton for Sakhir.

      I like that Merc are giving Nyck a shot. Which reminds me, what has happened with the McLaren Young Drivers’ Programme? Norris is now in F1, de Vries is now a Merc employee, so is the programme currently dead? I guess Ricciardo and Norris could well be a long-term pairing for them, but still.

      1. Interesting. I think the McLAren program dried up when McLaren found themselves without room to put them and also ran out of money to do much in the way of supporting others while they struggled with their own trouble @wsrgo

  2. Russell and Vandoorne in the Mercs is something I’d love to see.
    Only after Lewis decides to call it a day of course!

  3. Could you guys kindly post the full test line-up? So far as far as I know it’s:

    Mercedes: Vandoorne, de Vries
    Red Bull: Buemi, Vips
    Ferrari: Shwartzman, Fuoco
    Renault: Alonso, Zhou
    AlphaTauri: Tsunoda, Sato
    Alfa Romeo: Ilott, Kubica
    Haas: Schumacher(?)

    Are Williams taking part? I know Racing Point and McLaren are not.

  4. De Vries: 25 years old
    Vandoorne: 28 years old

    what actually constitutes a “young driver”. Under 40 is young to me :)

  5. Did you all know that some experienced drivers participated in the YDT back in 2013?

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