The final 'Young Drivers' test session gets underway

The final ‘Young Drivers’ test session of the 2012 season gets underway today at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, which played host to last weekend’s Grand Prix, which saw Kimi Raikkonen finally break through with a long-overdue win for the Lotus team.

Having elected not to participate in the earlier test sessions at Silverstone and Magny Cours, six teams will be in action over the next three days.

Championship leaders Red Bull Racing will run their newest protégé, the highly-rated Portuguese driver António Félix da Costa, over the Tuesday and Wednesday sessions, before he hands over to Dutch driver Robin Frijns.

Felix da Costa, 21, has split his 2012 commitments between the GP3 Series and WSR 3.5 championships with the Carlin and Arden Caterham squads respectively. He claimed three wins in the former championship en route to finishing third overall, and also won four of the twelve races he contested in the latter championship, finishing fourth. After being signed up to Red Bull’s driver development program in June this year, he drove a Red Bull F1 showcar at a recent demonstration event in South Korea.

da Costa is highly rated as a hot F1 prospect Robin Frijns won this year's WSR 3.5 championship crown
Felix da Costa (left) and Frijns (right) are widely believed to be F1 prospects in 2013

Frijns earns his drive after winning the WSR title at the season finale at Barcelona. However, this did not come without controversy, for he earned the crown after making contact with chief championship rival Jules Bianchi, who failed to finish the race.

Frijns is also set to drive for Sauber on the opening day of the test, before he hands over to the team’s regular reserve driver Esteban Gutiérrez. It is widely believed that Sauber has signed a long-term deal for Frijn’s services, which could possibly entail him being promoted to the Swiss team’s race line-up as soon as next year. A lot, therefore, will be riding on his performance behind the wheel this week.

Kevin Magnussen will have his first F1 outing for McLarenMcLaren, as expected, will split its running between its two longstanding reserve drivers, Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey.

Both will have the equivalent of one day’s running in the MP4-28, as the team is also giving Kevin Magnussen – son of the team’s former driver, Jan, and also winner of last year’s British F3 crown – his maiden F1 test outing.

Davide Valsecchi won this year's GP2 Series titleNo doubt with many members of its crew sporting some serious hangovers, Lotus will also run three drivers over the course of the test session. Opening the team’s program will be Nicolas Prost, son of four-time champion, Alain Prost. The Frenchman will then hand over to DTM racer Edoardo Mortara – getting his first F1 outing – before the final day’s running is performed by Davide Valsecchi, winner of this year’s GP2 Series championship.

Luiz Razia Johnny Cecotto Jr
Razia and Cecotto Jr have both tested previously for Force India

Scuderia Toro Rosso will run two drivers over the course of the test, taking on two longstanding GP2 Series runners, Luiz Razia and Johnny Cecotto Jr, son of former motorbike ace Johnny Cecotto Sr. Razia will run on Tuesday and Thursday, while Cecotto will pilot the STR7 on Wednesday.

And finally Caterham will give its regular reserve drivers a turn in the CT-01. Dutch GP2 racer Giedo van der Garde will get behind the wheel on Tuesday and Wednesday, before he hands over to American driver Alexander Rossi, who this year raced in the WSR 3.5 championship. The outing will serve as a warm-up drive for Rossi ahead of his near-certain appearance for the team in Friday practice at the upcoming United States Grand Prix.

Alexander Rossi
A protégé with Caterham F1, this ambitious man will be the next American in F1

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.