The Marussia F1 team will buck the trend by running young drivers at next week’s three-day ‘Young Drivers’ test at Silverstone.
The team has confirmed that reserve driver Rodolfo González will drive for two days, while this year’s GP3 Series title leader Tio Ellinas will drive for one day.
The focus of the 17-19 July gathering has changed to allow the teams maximum track time to understand the new Kevlar-belted tyre compounds that will be introduced by Pirelli for the rest of the season, starting with next month’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
This means the teams can run either their existing frontline drivers and/or their selected ‘Young Drivers’ at the test. Should they run their usual drivers, the teams will be prohibited from testing any new development parts.
Conversely, running less-experienced pilots gives the team free rein to try new components, but potentially at the expense of less-detailed or accurate feedback from these drivers.
Marussia has opted to give its two young chargers a go, and opted against running Jules Bianchi or Max Chilton for the three days.
Marussia’s two ‘Young Drivers’: Tio Ellinas (L) and Rodolfo González (R)
Ellinas’ outing comes on the back of his being the highest-placed GP3 Series driver in Marussia’s Manor Motorsport-run team last year. The Cypriot currently leads this year’s championship standings.
Venezuela’s González – who will drive on the final two days of the test – comes armed with plenty of much-needed sponsorship income, and it’s safe to say that his involvement will offer the tail-ender team more of a financial, rather than technical, benefit.
González is a very experienced, although ultimately his three seasons spent in the GP2 Series have delivered very little – just three points finishes – in comparison to the financial clout he carries. To-date in 2013, the 27-year-old has driven in three Friday Practice sessions in the team’s MR02, running comfortably slowest in each outing.