HRT has announced it will sit out next week’s rare in-season F1 test at Mugello.
For the first time in years, the sport has relaxed slightly its strict testing ban in order to give teams the chance to run between grands prix. The three-day session at Ferrari’s Italian circuit will begin next Tuesday, during the three-week gap between Bahrain and Spain.
Struggling backmarkers HRT, however, will not be there, opting instead to be “completely focused” on relocating to its new Caja Magica headquarters in Madrid.
Every other team will be at Mugello, 30 kilometres from Florence — the first in-season test for four years. 26 drivers will be in action, as will a lot of update packages following F1’s return from the hectic ‘flyaway’ season.
Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, Sauber, Marussia and Toro Rosso will use their regular race drivers.
Running regular racers and a tester will be Lotus (Jerome d’Ambrosio), Williams (Valtteri Bottas) and Force India (Jules Bianchi). Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said Caterham is “using the opportunity to earn some money” by accepting the sponsorship of the Venezuelan Rodolfo Gonzalez.
McLaren has scheduled to run its testers Oliver Turvey and Gary Paffett, although Lewis Hamilton has indicated he might gatecrash the programme in order to help solve the MP4-27’s newfound tyre problems.