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.

Ferrari signs Callum Ilott to young driver academy

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Ferrari has confirmed the signing of rising British racer Callum Ilott to its prestigious driver academy ahead of the 2018 season.

Ilott, 18, is a former member of Red Bull’s junior program, and has spent the last three years racing in the FIA European Formula 3 series, taking eight race wins.

After finishing the 2017 season fourth in the championship with Prema Powerteam, Ilott has now linked up with the Ferrari Driver Academy in the next step of his racing career, becoming its first British member.

“Ferrari Driver Academy is pleased to announce that British driver Callum Ilott is the latest promising young driver to be selected for its development program,” an announcement from Ferrari reads.

“18 years old, Ilott joins the FDA in his third season in car racing, having just finished the FIA F3 European Championship. He comes with a strong pedigree in international Formula 3 racing, having made the jump directly from karting as reigning European Champion.

“Ilott joins Charles Leclerc, Antonio Fuoco, Guan Yu Zhou, Giuliano Alesi, Marcus Armstrong and Enzo Fittipaldi in the programme, which supports talented young drivers on their career path in motorsport.”

Besides its existing roster, the Ferrari Driver Academy also played a part in the careers of Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and the late Jules Bianchi.