Fresh from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, all 10 F1 teams are taking part in a two-day test at the Yas Marina Circuit starting Tuesday, when the drivers will get their first taste of Pirelli’s newly expanded range of 2018 F1 tyres.
Most media attention will be garnered by Williams, as they give former Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica another outing in their ongoing evaluation of the Pole for a potential F1 comeback next season.
The team have made clear, however, that he is not the only driver in the frame to replace Felipe Massa, and they will also be giving track time to Russian Renault reserve Sergey Sirotkin. Williams 2017 (and 2018) racer Lance Stroll will also be in action.
Sauber – the only other team yet to confirm their 2018 line-up – will run Marcus Ericsson plus F2 champion Charles Leclerc, the Ferrari junior who has been widely tipped for a seat with the Swiss squad next season – and who has already appeared in four FP1 sessions for them this season.
McLaren have been given permission to run two cars instead of the normal one, after their recent planned Sao Paulo tyre test was cancelled over security concerns. One MCL32 will, however, be dedicated exclusively to ‘blind’ tyre work with Pirelli.
Fernando Alonso will share driving duties on day one with test and development driver Oliver Turvey, while day two will be split between Stoffel Vandoorne and the team’s recently-announced 2018 reserve, F3 Euro champion Lando Norris.
Another F2 driver, Indonesia’s Sean Gelael, will get more seat time at Toro Rosso after his previous two tests and four practice appearances with the team this year, and confirmed 2018 racers Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley will also get behind the wheel of the STR12.
Force India, meanwhile, have announced that Russian Formula 3 driver Nikita Mazepin will enjoy another test outing with the team, driving the VJM10 on Tuesday before Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon take over on Wednesday.
Renault and Red Bull are set to stick to their respective race line-ups of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz, and Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Similarly Haas, Mercedes and Ferrari have not confirmed any additional test drivers for the session.