Driver line-up confirmed for Yas Marina test, two teams won’t attend

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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The driver line-up has been confirmed for Tuesday’s young driver test at the Yas Marina circuit.

The test was originally designated as an event for junior drivers who had not competed in more than two F1 races. However a dispensation has been granted allowing teams to run more experienced drivers providing they did not compete in this year’s championship.

Renault has therefore taken advantage of the opportunity to give Fernando Alonso a day in the RS20 ahead of his return to the team next year. In a break with usual practice, teams are allowed to use two cars instead of one during the test, so Renault will also run Formula 2 driver Guanyu Zhou in their other car.

Among the other experienced drivers returning to test are Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes), Sebastien Buemi (Red Bull) and Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo).

Yuki Tsunoda, who has been widely tipped to join AlphaTauri’s line-up alongside Pierre Gasly next year, will test the team’s 2020 car for the first time having driven a two-year-old car at Imola in October. He will be joined by Marino Sato in the team’s line-up.

Two teams are not taking part in the test. McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl previously said they would not run a car as they expected the test would only be open to rookies. Racing Point are also not participating. Both have new drivers joining them for 2021 who are not eligible to participate in the test.

Abu Dhabi testing line-up

MercedesStoffel VandoorneNyck de Vries
Red BullSebastien BuemiJuri Vips
McLarenNot participating
Racing PointNot participating
RenaultFernando AlonsoGuanyu Zhou
FerrariRobert ShwartzmanAntonio Fuoco
AlphaTauriYuki TsunodaMarino Sato
Alfa RomeoRobert KubicaCallum Ilott
HaasMick Schumacher
WilliamsJack AitkenRoy Nissany

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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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17 comments on “Driver line-up confirmed for Yas Marina test, two teams won’t attend”

  1. The fact RP and Mclaren don’t participate in this test automatically ruled both Seb and Dan out even before Alonso/Renault received the ‘special’ permission from FIA, which of course, subsequently led to Kubica, Buemi, and Vandoorne getting chosen.

    1. Not really. For both of those it would have been exactly the same point as why Sainz was not allowed in – he just raced the whole season in 2020 @jerejj.

    2. Not really. They are already out there I imagine they would have just kept the crew out there for another few days.

  2. No Mazepin? LOL. Good.

    1. [Decision] Terminated XD

  3. Didn’t know Marino Sato was part of the Red Bull program

    1. @t1redmonkey He isn’t. I think this is a purely financial move, kind of like what they have done in the past with Sean Gelael.

    2. @t1redmonkey I wouldn’t read too much into driver affliations from this. My understanding was that the test was due to be cancelled to save money but some tests complained that it was a profit generator for them so some seats will have been bought.

  4. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    14th December 2020, 23:23

    Shame on Mclaren & Racing Point for skipping this young driver test. Even if their existing/new drivers were not allowed they could other promising drivers have a taste of F1.

    FIA should make participation mandatory for all teams. All teams complaint about limiting testing and how it impacts rookie/new talent development yet some teams don’t participate or put experienced drivers in the car.

    Specific shame on Renault & Alonso blatantly abusing this YOUNG driver test for personal gain. Alonso lying through his teeth, as he always has done, saying there is not much value in the test – why then make the effort to break/bend the rules to get in.

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer I think mandating that teams must run young drivers in this test is a step too far in my view (but I can see your point). This will then force teams to either run young driver programmes (add costs), have a direct relationship with another team (eg Haas, Alfa Romeo) which may not be feasible or risk a third party driver taking feedback elsewhere for no real gain.

      I agree with you on Alonso though, this is a blatant misuse of the rules. He tried to say that it won’t be too helpful, but he wouldn’t be doing it if there was no payback especially as he would have had to stay in the F1 bubble for 2 weeks to do it.

  5. Remember in the early 2000s when they could run an extra car with a reserve driver on friday practice. Maybe its something they could do from time to time to get test/reserve drivers to actually know how an F1 car feels. I listened to a podcast with Björn Wirdheim, who didnt have the funds to brake through but was reserve driver for Jordan and Jaguar, he had in his contract to do every friday practice, which helped his development alot for the forthcoming career, not the paper product that the reserve drivers are today.

    1. A third car would cost loads of money. Last year we had 2-day tests after some races, this is a good initiative and a chance for youngsters.

  6. Hass need to sell that 2nd car slot for dollar dollar

  7. Williams … Jack Aitken

    If the rule is “a dispensation has been granted allowing teams to run more experienced drivers providing they did not compete in this year’s championship” then how is it Jack isn’t considered to be a competing in this years championship. In case anyone is wondering, I wouldn’t want him to miss the opportunity to do more driving in an F1 car, I just think they need to clarify their rules more precisely so as to allow Jack and maybe Pietro the right to drive in the test sessions.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      15th December 2020, 9:03

      Valid logic except for the fact that Jack Aitken doesn’t need dispensation as he actually qualifies as a Young Driver by not having raced more than 2 F1 races unlike Alonso.

    2. @drycrust What @jelle-van-der-meer points out.
      A driver who either hasn’t done a race in F1 this year or has done at max two races in F1 is eligible, i.e., a driver is eligible if at least one of these apply.

  8. Alonso returning at a young driver test, and Petr Cech in football returning for Chelsea U23, what a week…

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