OFF SEASON TESTING:
Pt 1 & 2 Abu Dhabi Rookie and Pirelli Tests
It is still a month away, but teams are getting ready for the first sessions of F1 post season testing. The testing schedule is for 4 days at the Yas Marina Circuit, immediately following the Abu Dhabi GP, starting on 16th November 2010.
The first two days of the test are for the F1 rookies and inexperienced drivers to show their skills, and try to impress those that make the decisions. Due to the lack of availability of Pirrelli rubber this part of the testing will be the last time the current Bridgestone tyres will be seen in use ......
Not sure of the FIA definition of a rookie in terms of eligibility for the tests, but I have a feeling it is anyone with a superlicence who has not competed in more than 2 GP's in the preceeding year.
The final two days being when the F1 teams will have their first opportunity to test the proposed Pirelli 2011 rubber and collect plenty of data and improve their understanding of the new tyres to be able to adapt their 2011 cars final designs. From what I understand each team will be issued with 2 sets of the new Pirelli rubber.
For the Pirelli Tests on the final two days, it will no doubt be the mainstream drivers, all anxious to trial the tyres they will be using in 2011, who carry out the driving duties, but the teams are currently starting to announce their driver lineups for the rookie tests.
McLaren will use its 29-year-old reserve driver Gary Paffett on at least one day, according to a report by Auto Motor und Sport, and perhaps British GP2 driver Oliver Turvey, on the other.
In the Ferrari will be Jules Bianchi, the 21-year-old French GP2 driver who is under contract to the Italian team and a part of their junior programme. He will be joined by the first three from the Italian F3 Championship
Red Bull will run reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo, and another Red Bull Junior, Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne, will be in the Toro Rosso.
Renault will run the new Renault World Series champion Mikhail Aleshin, likely backed up with a driver from its Gravity management driver pool, such as the Chinese Ho-Pin Tung.
The new F2 champion Dean Stoneman, 20, will be in the Williams car for one day, with Pastor Maldonado the other driver for the team, (in effect his F1 race drive evaluation.
In the Virgin car will be the teamís current Friday driver Jerome díAmbrosio, and Brazilian test driver Liuz Razia.
In the Force India will be reserve driver Paul di Resta, who is tipped by some to move into the 2011 race seat should a vacancy arise.
Lotus, HRT and Mercedes have not yet to my knowledge, mentioned any names in connection with the rookie tests, although Haug has said that for Mercedes it will likely be drivers from 'the Mercedes programme'.
Sauber will be running its 2011 race rookie Sergio Perez, and the teamís test driver for next year Esteban Gutierrez.
So a summary of that to which we can add further names as announced is:
Plus 1,2,3 from Italian F3 Championship:
Ho-Pin Tung / Gravity Management driver 'pool'?
Paul di Resta
Felix da Costa?
2011 Pre Season schedule.
I understand that the current schedule for pre season (2011 testing), starting with when the teams will likely be launching their 2011 cars will be as follows:
1-3 February Valencia p (Ricardo Tormo circuit)
10-13 February Jerez .
18-21 February Barcelona
3-6 March Bahrain Sakhir circuit.
This Bahrain test will be held the week prior to the 2011 GP season opener,scheduled for the Sakhir venue from 11th to13th March. Ironic now with all the testing restrictions in place, this schedule for Bahrain actually breaks previous testing rules that no team was to test at a GP venue in the two weeks prior to the GP..... now they all are!