WATCH: Mercedes fire up W09 engine ahead of 'pre-season' Silverstone test
It's been well over three months since we heard the sound of a Formula 1 engine revving, but today Mercedes treated us to a taste of the rumble of their V6 power unit as they ramped up preparations for F1's racing return.
No F1 cars have run since winter testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya back in February, but after the confirmation last week that the 2020 season will get underway with the Austrian Grand Prix in early July, the teams have fired their factories back up and got back to work after what has become an extended winter break because of the coronavirus pandemic.
And as they ramp up their operations ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, Mercedes are heading to Silverstone this week for two-day private test. And before they set off, the team fired up the engine on the car they will be running at the British track.
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The regulations prevent any of the teams from running their 2020 challengers, but the rules do permit them to run older cars, hence why Mercedes will be using their 2018 W09 car at Silverstone on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas getting a day each behind the wheel.
When racing does get underway in Austria next month it will do so without fans at the track and under strict protocols to ensure everyone's safety. And after so long away from racing, the Silver Arrows are using the test to practise those protocols and shake off any rust among the race team. And as you can see in the clip above, all the technicians are wearing face masks as they go about their work on the car.
Meanwhile, Formula1.com has learned Ferrari will also conduct a test in the coming weeks (date and location TBC), giving Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel the chance to warm up ahead of their return to racing in Austria.