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Young drivers and 18-inch tyres on show at Silverstone test

08 Jul 2014

Formula One racing's third and final in-season test of 2014 begins at Silverstone on Tuesday, with a host of young drivers set to be given a run-out alongside the established stars.

But perhaps the most intriguing part of the test will be Pirelli’s trial of 18-inch tyres. F1 cars currently use 13-inch tyres, but the Italian manufacturer has suggested that running with larger wheels and tyres would lead to greater technology transfer between F1 tyres and road car rubber. Pirelli have stressed, however, that they'll only continue with development if F1's various stakeholders wish to proceed.

Lotus have been given the responsibility of demoing the concept tyres on their 2014 car on Wednesday when former Caterham and Marussia driver Charles Pic will be at the wheel. The Enstone-based team will have Pastor Maldonado at the wheel on Tuesday.

Amongst the rookies taking part in the test is McLaren’s promising 22-year-old reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne who will make his second appearance of the season in the MP4-29. The Belgian GP2 driver, who had his first run in the car at the Spanish test back in May, will drive on Tuesday before handing the car over to Kevin Magnussen on Wednesday.

Also running on Wednesday is Force India’s 23-year-old test driver Daniel Juncadella who will take over driving duties from Sergio Perez, while Caterham plan to run as many as three up-and-coming drivers across the two-day test. Joining British test driver Will Stevens will be Colombian racer Julian Leal and Indonesian pilot Rio Haryanto, both of whom are competing in GP2 this season.

As well as providing teams with an opportunity to give their reserve drivers seat time, the Silverstone test provides the teams with a final chance this season to trial new updates ahead of the second half of the season. After this, all test work will have to occur on Grand Prix weekends, in the simulator or in the windtunnel. That might explain why some squads, including Mercedes, Williams, Red Bull and Marussia, have opted to use only their race drivers for the test.

Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Felipe Massa and Jules Bianchi will all be in action on Tuesday, with Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas and Max Chilton taking over from their respective team mates on Wednesday.

Bianchi will undoubtedly be the test’s busiest driver. After driving his MR03 on Tuesday the Frenchman will jump into Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari F14 T on Wednesday. The 2007 world champion was expected to drive at the test, but sustained bruising to his knee and ankle in a heavy crash on the opening lap of Sunday’s race and has decided to focus on his recovery. Bianchi, a Ferrari Driver Academy member since 2010, will take over from the Scuderia’s development driver, Pedro de la Rosa, who’ll be in the cockpit on Tuesday.

Sauber, meanwhile, will run Adrian Sutil on Tuesday and test driver Giedo van der Garde on Wednesday.

As part of the regulations, each of the 11 teams has also agreed to dedicate one day of in-season testing this year exclusively to tyre development. Ferrari and Marussia are the designated teams on Tuesday, while on Wednesday it’s the turn of Red Bull and Lotus. will, of course, bring you the latest images and daily reports from the test.