Formula 1 team, Ferrari, will carry out a five-day testing program next week (January 25-29) with its regular drivers as well as several members of the young drivers’ school at the private circuit that the team has in Fiorano, Italy.
On Wednesday 27 January it will be the turn of Carlos Sainz, in his debut at the controls of a Prancing Horse. This is sure to be an emotional moment for the Spaniard and a historic one for his country’s motorsports, as he becomes the third Spanish driver in history to compete for the Maranello team, after the Marquis de Portago and Fernando Alonso.
Just one day later (Thursday, January 28) and the #55 will once again get behind the wheel of a 2018 SF71H, following regulations which determine that teams can only use cars which are at least two years old at this type of testing sessions.
We also know that, 24 hours before Sainz’s premiere, his new partner in the Italian formation, Charles Leclerc, will be performing his own tests. Apparently, the young Monegasque is already free from the coronavirus infection that has kept him confined to his home in the Principality.
A crucial test for Carlos Sainz
Both Leclerc and Sainz will thus be climbing back into an F1 car 46 days after their las GP in Abu Dhabi, on December 13, at the Yas Marina circuit. That makes these tests particularly important, even more so considering that Sainz is starting out at a completely new team.
On top of this, official preseason training sessions – delayed until mid-March – have been cut down from six to just three days for each team this year. Each rider will, therefore, only have a day and a half to familiarize himself with his new machine before the 2021 World Championship kicks off at the Sakhir Grand Prix on March 26.
Carlos Sainz will have the first opportunity to experience ‘in situ’ the operation systems and technology of the red cars. Also, he will be able to start building a relationship of trust with his track engineer, a key aspect of obtaining good results during the season.
Schumacher and Alesi: Some of the famous surnames at the test
Three members of the Ferrari Drivers Academy will be in charge of firing up the sessions at Fiorano on Monday 25 January. Local Giuliano Alesi will be the first to take to the track onboard an SF71H, three decades after his father, Jean Alesi, did so with the F1-90 on the very same circuit.
New Zealander Marcus Armstrong will take over for his debut with a Formula 1 car after signing for DAMS to compete in Formula 2 in 2021. Robert Shwartzman, who already drove that same model on September 30, will close off that intense day of testing.
Next in line at the controls of the SF71H are Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott, ultimate rivals for the 2020 Formula 2 title, which finally went to the German. The son of the legendary seven-time champion, who will have his F1 debut this year with Haas, is scheduled for his testing session on January 28.
On Friday morning, Schumacher will be giving up the seat for the Briton, now a test driver at La Scuderia, who will finish off his testing during that afternoon, putting an end to Ferrari’s test week in Fiorano.
The three official Formula 1 test days will take place from March 12 to 14 in Bahrain. There, the new Ferrari drivers will finally be able to sit behind the wheel of the SF21.