As far as autosport understands, Hamilton and Rosberg are due to drive for Mercedes during next weeks Pirellii test, Ferrari and Red Bull have confirmed their reserve drivers will be on duty. It is a bit surprising that the likes of Vettel and Alonso are sitting this one out as although there will be limited benefit to teams due to Pirelli conduting the test, it is still a chance to drive the 2014 tyres for the first time.
Yeah, it’s a bit akward for them not to show up. Maybe Vettel and Alonso don’t want to be disturbed during their holiday? For the rest I don’t think you can learn that much with those old cars, I mean V8 and coanda exhausts, the front wings are wider, that sort of stuff.
I reckon the teams are going to the test just to please Pirelli, McLaren and Force India managed to crawl away and the others found it to expensive.
Alonso probably wouldn’t drive even if it was the 2014 car. He seems to really need a break after the second half of the season. And no wonder, his car has kind of letting him down. Vettel usually dissapears in the winter as well, so no suprice there.
They’re not going to use the 2014 cars.
Firstly, the FIA will only permit teams to use their new cars in designated pre-season tests. Since only four teams are attending this test, letting them use their 2014 cars would be an unfair advantage.
Secondly, this is a blind scientific test for Pirelli. They need to know how their 2014 tyres will behave, and one of their biggest complaints is that they have been forced to develop tyres on cars that are two or three years out if date. They already have a year’s worth of data on the 2013 tyres when used on 2013 cars, so if they put 2014 tyres on 2013 cars and compare the data to their findings from the 2013 tyres, they will get a much more accurate picture as to how the tyres will behave. And they will then use all of their findings to make the final build of the 2014 tyres.
Also, don’t they get enough time on the actual 2014 tyres in the pre-season tests? Alonso doesn’t even turn up on the first shakedown day, and it doesn’t seem to hamper him come the first few races of the season. These guys are old hands now and probably know what they need to be ready. I’m surprised Mercedes are running their two top drivers, instead of Bird or a simulator correspondence driver such as Buemi at Red Bull, but if you pay them megabucks and it helps them, then why not. Toro Rosso guys Vergne and Kvyat could probably do with the track time.
I’m actually surprised the other teams don’t run their race drivers. It seems like a good opportunity to learn the differences between this year’s and next year’s rubber, especially with a car you know well. And even if the engineers themselves might not learn much as it is a Pirelli test (though there is no need for it this time, as all teams have been invited), it might still be useful for the race drivers to get an early feel for next year’s tyres.
I find it especially strange that Red Bull does not send Vettel, with all the fuss Christian Horner made about Mercedes using their race drivers in the Pirelli tyre test early this year. Instead, they send Buemi who has not done a single kilometer in the RB9.
Actually, I expected Mercedes to field Bird (maybe they still will – it’s a three day test) after losing him the young driver’s test earlier this year. I wonder what colour helmets the Mercedes drivers will use, though :-)
Ferrari have said the test (for them at least) is also about simulator correlation. It makes sense to send drivers who have experience in the simulator with the 2013 cars, while drivers like Alonso and Vettel are probably focusing on 2014 simulator work.
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© 2014 Keith Collantine