Despite the fact that Renault has been pushing for it for some time, there were audible groans in Bahrain yesterday when the French team confirmed that two-time world champion, Fernando Alonso, a veteran of 311 Grands Prix over 17 seasons with Minardi, Renault, McLaren and Ferrari will take part in the ‘Young Driver’ test that follows next week’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
While a number of drivers and team bosses mocked the decision to allow the veteran to participate in the one-day test, ahead of his move to Ferrari, Carlos Sainz admits that he too would like to take the opportunity to make his debut with his new team.
“I’m willing to test for Ferrari, I think it’s no secret,” he told reporters, “especially now the hand has been a bit opened by the FIA for drivers that are not rookies or not young drivers to test. I don’t see why the FIA wouldn’t maybe open the hand a bit also to other drivers.
“Personally I wouldn’t take any young driver out of the seat,” he added. “I think Callum, Mick, Robert, I think they are all still going to test, if I jump into a Ferrari I’m not going to allow them not to test,” he insisted.
“I think Ferrari is one of the teams that are promoting young drivers the most right now, I don’t think why I shouldn’t get the chance also to test.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, or the FIA, but you can tell I’m going to be there as much as I can,” he added, the Spaniard having been given permission by McLasren to test for his new team should the opportunity arise.
“I’m not going to say what we are going to do,” said Sainz. “But I’m telling you that I’m very willing to be on that Abu Dhabi test, especially because my contract allows me to do so.”
“From my side I was never going to participate,” said the Australian. “It was always from 2021 onwards, so I don’t really feel like personally I’ve lost out because it was nothing I ever expected to do.
“I think Fernando, obviously he’s been maintaining a lot of health and fitness. He looks in pretty good shape and pretty young. So, I think to the naked eye, he certainly passes as a young driver!” he laughed.