FIA to keep an eye on teams at Young Drivers Test

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FIA observers will monitor next week’s Young Drivers Test to ensure teams are not conducting development work.

The FIA will allow teams to use their regular race drivers instead of junior drivers at the test to help Pirelli solve the problems which led to the punctures during the British Grand Prix.

Ordinarily drivers may not participate in the test if they have “competed in more than two F1 world championship races”, according to the regulations. Drivers who fulfill that criteria will be allowed to conduct development work for teams as they normally do at the test.

Although the test is billed as being for the benefit of young drivers, teams also use the rare opportunity to run their current cars outside of a race weekend to gather valuable testing data.

The test will take place at Silverstone on July 17th to 19th and will be open to the public.

The teams are yet to confirm who will run for them at the test. Prior to the FIA’s ruling Red Bull had announced Antonio Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Jnr would drive for them, but they may now choose to give seat time to Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

Despite the change in purpose of the test, Mercedes’ ban from attending it remains in place.

Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

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Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have both completed one-day tests for Williams in a 2014-spec Formula 1 car as part of the team’s evaluation for its 2018 line-up.

Williams is known to be considering a number of drivers to partner Lance Stroll at the team next year, including existing racer Felipe Massa.

Massa is thought to be going up against Kubica and di Resta for the 2018 drive, with the latter duo taking part in a private test at the Hungaroring in Budapest this week to aid the team’s evaluation.

After missing out on a 2018 Renault drive due to lingering questions about his physical condition six years after his rally accident, Kubica tested for Williams at Silverstone last week before getting back behind the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car in Hungary on Tuesday.

Kubica’s test was called “productive” by Williams, with the Pole handing duties over to Mercedes DTM racer di Resta on Wednesday.

Di Resta raced in F1 with Force India between 2010 and 2013 before returning to DTM, but made a surprise return at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Williams when Massa was taken ill. Di Resta impressed on short notice, putting himself in contention for a full-time return to F1 in 2018.

Williams has one of the few remaining seats on offer in F1 for 2018, with Massa’s future known to be in question after a quiet campaign thus far.

The Brazilian had been due to retire from F1 at the end of last year, only for Williams to recall him after Valtteri Bottas’ late move up to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement.

Massa has made clear he would like to keep racing in F1 next year, but only if the deal is right and if Williams is determined to keep him.

While Massa, Kubica and di Resta appear to be the three leading contenders for the seat, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe made clear in Japan there was a “large range” of drivers under consideration.

“You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at, but honestly, the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so, and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”