Former French grand prix venue Magny Cours has confirmed that a ‘young drivers test’ will take place at the circuit in central France next month.
We reported on July 19 that Ferrari and Mercedes were planning to run at the circuit in mid September after Monza, as per the F1 teams’ allowed days of testing this year for inexperienced drivers.
Other teams have either already run at Silverstone in July, or plan to stick to the original plan to test after November’s Abu Dhabi grand prix.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said in July that smaller teams had ruled out joining Ferrari and Mercedes at Magny Cours because they have “neither the material nor the staff to complete a parallel programme” just days before freight sets off for Singapore.
But Magny Cours announced that Force India will in fact be joining Ferrari and Mercedes at the test held between September 11 and 13.
“We have worked tirelessly to upgrade the venue, which has just been homologated to F1 standards for another four years,” said the circuit’s chairman Serge Saulnier. “This is an extremely positive step forward as we seek to return formula one racing to our circuit,” he added.
At least three teams are going ahead with the young driver test at Silverstone this week.
With November’s Abu Dhabi plans up in the air, there had been uncertainty the Silverstone alternative was going ahead at all until HRT said Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua will be running on Thursday and Friday. The French-language news agency AFP now reports that Williams and Marussia will also be in action.
Williams will be running its reserve and ‘Friday’ driver Valtteri Bottas, while the Marussia-sponsored GP2 drivers Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto will also be in action. AFP said Thursday’s running will be on the full British grand prix circuit, before a shorter 10-corner layout is used on Friday.
It is rumoured, meanwhile, that Ferrari will be running its young drivers neither at Silverstone nor Abu Dhabi, opting instead to test alone at Jerez at the end of the season.
A young driver test is going ahead at Silverstone next week.
Earlier, Mercedes’ Norbert Haug described as “ridiculous” the confusion surrounding the plans, after some teams baulked at running at Abu Dhabi as scheduled in November due to the calendar congestion in 2012. F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone then threw water on the alternate Silverstone plan because, technically, he controls a grand prix venue in the days before and after a world championship round.
The Spanish backmarker HRT, however, has confirmed it will definitely be in action at Silverstone next Thursday and Friday.
“An agreement has been finally reached”, the team said in a statement.
Boss Luis Perez-Sala added: “The fact that these tests will finally be able to take place at Silverstone is great news for us because it fits perfectly with the next step that we had planned for (Chinese driver) Ma Qing Hua’s development programme.”