Three teams – Williams, Marussia and HRTF1 – will today kick off a two-day ‘Young Drivers’ test session at Silverstone in lieu of making the traditional post-season trip to Abu Dhabi’s four-day test event later in the year.
Williams’ regular Friday practice driver Valtteri Bottas will gain more valuable miles in the team’s FW34 challenger over the two-day test session.
HRTF1 is also running just the one driver, giving Chinese driver Qinghua Ma his first outing in F1 machinery. The 24-year-old reigning Chinese Touring Car champion was signed up earlier in the season as part of the team’s driver academy.
Marussia is the only one of the three teams to split its running between two drivers, calling upon the services of Carlin GP2 Series team-mates Rio Haryanto and Max Chilton. Chilton will book-end the event with drives on the Thursday morning and Friday afternoon, while Indonesian Haryanto will get behind the wheel on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
Part of the test event’s driving duties were meant to be allocated to the team’s test driver, María de Villota, who suffered career-ending injuries – including the loss of sight in her right eye – in a freak testing accident for the team just over a week ago at Duxford Airfield.