The decision may sound strange, but it may be reminiscent of the financial difficulties facing McLaren this year: the team have announced that they will not participate in the young driver tests in Abu Dhabi, after the last Grand Prix.
The official reason given is the fact that McLaren does not have official young drivers. Sergio Sette Camara was hired by the team last year but is now a reserve driver for Red Bull. McLaren could still have run its development driver Oliver Turvey, qualified since he has never raced in Grand Prix. Or even sell his seat to a wealthy young pilot.
And yet none of this was chosen by Andreas Seidl, McLaren F1 team manager. For financial, logistical reasons too, perhaps sporting (McLaren will use a Mercedes engine and not Renault next year) and perhaps health – because the United Kingdom imposes a quarantine of two weeks for any traveler returning from the Arab Emirates united, which would mean staff would be forced into self-isolation until December 30.
“The rules are clear, so we do not intend to participate in this test on our side” Seidl confirmed.
At the same time, Seidl pointed out why McLaren opposed Fernando Alonso’s young driver test, which Renault reportedly wanted to run in Abu Dhabi.
“I cannot speak of what was discussed within the F1 Commission. Because it says in big print at the bottom of the agenda that it’s confidential. I can only speak about how we see the test of young pilots in Abu Dhabi. It is clear that we all voted in favor of a rule change early in the year this pandemic began, which resulted in these tests being clearly defined in sporting regulations for the sole purpose of testing. young pilots. “
“I think that the regulations stipulate that it cannot be a question of pilots having made a maximum of two Grands Prix. And then he gives the possibility to the FIA too, at its own discretion or at its sole discretion, to make exceptions. “
“But again, that doesn’t change the sole purpose of this test, which is a test for young drivers. So I think there really isn’t much to discuss on this topic. “
“Fernando is a great F1 driver, with an impressive track record. And I do not really see how it corresponds to the only status of young pilot. “
“On the other hand, if he were to be defined as a young driver, to be honest I think that would just be a great message to all of us, because I also consider myself a young member of the team. F1, which makes me feel good! At the same time, this does not justify this test taking place. “
Like McLaren, Racing Point has also announced that it will not participate in the young drivers’ tests. The reason given is the same: Racing Point’s pool is small!