Rewind to 2008 and that was the last time that Formula 1 runners were allowed the luxury of an in-season circuit test for their racing drivers.
But kickstarting today, we have our first in-season test, with the F1 circus – with the exception of the HRT F1 team – heading to the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, near the Italian city of Florence, for three days of all-important running.
This is the one and only opportunity that teams will have to put some serious mileage on their cars ahead of the all-important European leg of the championship.
All will be bringing major updates to their cars, and some of the underperforming teams – most notably Ferrari – will be desperately hoping that these new components bring about a much-needed improvement in their competitiveness.
As always, RichardsF1.com will provide you with a daily round-up – and the best photos – from the three days of activity in Italy, so let’s take a look at who will be piloting the cars for the next three days:
|Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||Tue, Wed AM||Mark Webber|
|Wed PM, Thu||Sebastian Vettel|
|Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||Tue AM, Thu||Oliver Turvey|
|Tue PM, Wed||Gary Paffett|
|Scuderia Ferrari F2012||Tue, Thu||Fernando Alonso|
|Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W03||Tue AM, Thu||Nico Rosberg|
|Tue PM, Wed||Michael Schumacher|
|Lotus F1 Team Renault E20||Tue||Jérôme d’Ambrosio|
|Sahara Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM05||Tue||Jules Bianchi|
|Wed||Paul di Resta|
|Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C31||Tue, Wed||Kamui Kobayashi|
|Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||Tue, Wed AM||Jean-Éric Vergne|
|Wed PM, Thu||Daniel Ricciardo|
|Williams F1 Team Renault FW34||Tue||Valtteri Bottas|
|Caterham F1 Team Renault CT01||Tue||Rodolfo González|
|HRT F1 Team Cosworth F112||Tue, Wed, Thu||Not Running|
|Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||Tue, Wed AM||Charles Pic|
|Wed PM, Thu||Timo Glock|