McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel have criticised the decision of the FIA to allow only select veterans of the sport to partake in a ‘young drivers test’ in Abu Dhabi.
The FIA had previously green-lit Renault driver Fernando Alonso’s participation in the post-season test event, originally intended to provide inexperienced, youthful talent with opportunities in F1, and this decision has proved to be the opening of Pandora’s box.
Ferrari promptly requested a similar opportunity for Sainz, who arrives at the team in 2021 after spending 2019 and 2020 with McLaren. After being denied this, the Spaniard said that there was “very little logic” driving the decision of the governing body, and criticised their verdict heavily.
Though he did stress that he must “turn the page,” Sainz did not forbear from arguing that he and other drivers switching teams for 2021 deserve a chance to get acquainted, especially after the original intent of the test has ostensibly been abandoned.
Drivers not approved for the young talent test will not get the chance to test in any fashion after the season’s conclusion, and Sainz says this is disadvantageous for drivers like himself. “I think there’s, there’s very little logic behind it,” he said to media including Motorsport Network, Racefans.net, Motorsport Week, F1 website and more.
“And I think not many people really understand what’s going on. Of course, I’m disappointed not being able to test, but I have to accept it, and turn the page. I will make sure I’m prepared as much as I can be for next next year, but for me, the logical thing would have been if it’s only one and a half day testing for each driver next year, the logical thing would have been to open a bit the hand, to some or to all of the drivers who wanted to take part in the Abu Dhabi test.
“Especially knowing it’s two cars per team, to open one of the cars to at least fit the driver into a car knowing that next year is the same chassis, and see that everything is more or less working working well, the safety aspects from the jump out test to the to the fitting of the car itself is obviously primarily important.
“And those are the things that thanks to the Abu Dhabi test, we would have been able to sort out and get a bit of a head start on and unfortunately, it’s not happening and obviously I’m disappointed but nothing I can change,” said Sainz, who, when speaking on the matter at the Sakhir GP, told media that he does not wish to strip young drivers of their opportunities.
Vettel, who is also switching teams for 2021 as he moves to Aston Martin, argued a similar point to Sainz, and criticised what he feels is an illogical ruling. “I think, if you allow Fernando, then basically, you have to allow everyone,” he said. “So I think the governance should take a fair decision, which in this case, I don’t think they did.
“Otherwise, Carlos and some others and myself maybe would have had the opportunity to test. I don’t know the background and why they just do case by case. But I haven’t looked at the full explanation. But it’s also a bit pointless, because we’re not allowed to test,” Vettel concluded.
The argument given from teams like Renault, who will be fielding both Alonso and Guanyu Zhou, is that the Spaniard hasn’t raced in F1 for two years. Sebastien Buemi and Robert Kubica are the other experienced campaigners to be running on Tuesday.
Extreme E team members of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg:
Seven-time F1 champion Hamilton was the latest to reveal his Extreme E outfit, Team X44’s line-up, with WRC champion Sebastien Loeb joining alongside Cristina Gutierrez, who finished fifth in the debutant list of 2017 Dakar Rally.
“I’m delighted to welcome Sebastien and Cristina to X44,” said Hamilton. “They are both incredible drivers and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do out there at each race. Cristina is an upcoming talent with a great future ahead of her, and Sebastien is a driver I have admired for so many years so I’m so proud and excited to have them on board.”
Hamilton’s former teammate Rosberg revealed his line-up as well for ‘Rosberg Xtreme Racing’, with World Rallycross’ Johan Kristoffersson partnering Molly Taylor. Here’s where you can find rest of the line-up: https://www.extreme-e.com/en/teams
Here’s last news on Extreme E