With four Formula One teams preparing to test Pirelli’s 2014 prototype tires next week in Bahrain, all but one of them have confirmed their respective driver rosters for the three-day session.
Red Bull reserve driver Sebastian Buemi will handle all three days at the Bahrain International Circuit for the World Champions, while its junior squad, Scuderia Toro Rosso, will trot out their 2014 race driver duo, veteran Jean-Eric Vergne (pictured) and incoming rookie Daniil Kvyat.
An STR release states that Vergne is slated to test for the first day and a half in the team’s 2013 challenger, the STR8, before Kvyat steps into the cockpit for the remainder.
Ferrari will also have a two-driver lineup in Bahrain with its development driver, Pedro de la Rosa, in the F138 for the first two days and Marussia race driver Jules Bianchi in for the third and final day.
In addition to Bianchi’s work with Marussia (where he will compete for a second season in 2014), he is also a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy.
“With a nod to the activity surrounding young driver development undertaken by the Ferrari Driver Academy, it will be an opportunity to demonstrate the progress he has made this year in Formula 1,” the Scuderia said in a release regarding Bianchi’s role in Bahrain.
Mercedes is now the lone squad that has yet to announce its lineup for next week’s four-team test.
“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.
“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”
The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).
“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.
“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”
“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”
Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:
Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).