Next week’s one-day test sees teams allowed to field two cars, and while no development work is allowed, it gives the opportunity for newcomers like Mick Schumacher to acclimatise themselves with their new teams.
Being a Young Driver Test it is ostensibly a test for young talent, at a time in-season testing is not allowed and even pre-season testing has been reduced to three days.
However, everything was turned on its head when approval was given for two-time world champion, Fernando Alonso to drive for Renault as he prepares to make his come-back after two years away from the sport.
According to the FIA’s own regulations, the purpose of the test is “for the sole purpose of providing young drivers with the opportunity to test a current F1 car”, the governing body deeming that participating drivers should not have competed in more than two F1 races “unless otherwise approved by the FIA”.
With the FIA having decided to approve Alonso’s inclusion in the test, while also giving the green light to Robert Kubica, Ferrari attempted to have its new recruit, Carlos Sainz take part in the test, as did Racing Point with Sebastian Vettel.
However, writing to the teams, the FIA’s race director, Michael Masi said: “We would like to clarify that for drivers who have participated in more than two F1 races in their career, the FIA’s approval…will be subject to the condition that they have not competed in any Formula 1 races during the 2020 season”.
Quick to seize on the ruling was the infamous Horse Whisperer, long associated with the Maranello outfit.
“Abu Dhabi, Young (?) Driver Test. Who can drive?” the Horse Whisperer tweeted today. “Alonso (312 GPs) yes, you can; Buemi (55) yes, you can; Vettel no, you can’t; Kubica yes, you can; Sainz (117) no, you can’t. What is the logic behind?”