F1 testing underway in Bahrain – again

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This is something we haven’t written much about in recent years – actual, legal in-season testing in Formula One. But this year it’s back and happening in Bahrain, where two of the three 2014 preseason tests were held (Test one recap, test two recap linked here).

Some of F1’s rookies are getting a chance to run. Caterham’s Robin Frijns ran this morning for 63 laps before his day ended early due to a hydraulic system leak.

Meanwhile Sauber took the opportunity to move on from its dreadful Grand Prix weekend (for both Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez) and install test driver Sergey Sirotkin in the C33-Ferrari on Tuesday. This would give the Russian enough mileage to gain his FIA Superlicense, and participate in FP1 sessions on Grand Prix weekends later this year.

McLaren was due to have its reserve driver, rookie Stoffel Vandoorne, a late change was decided by the team to keep its race drivers in the car. Vandoorne won the GP2 Series season opener over the weekend in his series debut.

Nico Rosberg has handled Mercedes’ duties for the day, and after the team’s perfect weekend on track, they continue pounding and gathering even more data with the German having completed more than 100 laps on Tuesday.

Ferrari also has Fernando Alonso running today, as the team looks to iron out its issues after a challenging race weekend.

Red Bull has Daniel Ricciardo running, while Toro Rosso has rookie Daniil Kvyat on board today, having completed at least 67 laps. Williams has been running with Valtteri Bottas, Force India with Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean for Lotus and Max Chilton for Marussia.

More to follow later today.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.