Young Driver Test dates announced
The Young Driver Test will take place at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit once again, despite the grand prix no longer being the final round of the season.
The season finale takes place in Brazil on November 27 this season, but FOTA has decided to remain in Abu Dhabi following the penultimate race on Novermber 13 in order to give young talent an opportunity in the Formula One cars. The test will begin on November 15, lasting for four days, and Yas Marina operations director Mark Hughes said the circuit had been keen to be the host track once again.
"We are delighted to be hosting the Young Driver Testing," Hughes told The National. "We have been working very closely with Fota to ensure they get the dates they want. We are very proud about being a testing circuit and we look forward to the teams enjoying the facilities."
Current drivers Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Perez, Jerome d'Ambrosio, Paul di Resta and Daniel Ricciardo all ran in the first Young Driver Test at the Yas Marina Circuit in 2010, and Maldonado said it allowed him to gain vital knowledge.
"It was a very positive experience," Maldonado said. "Because at the end of the GP2 year to stay at the same track and drive Formula One on it allows you to better compare the different cars and categories, and understand things better."
Perez also said that it helped prepare him for a Formula One seat for this season. "What Yas Marina did was very good and for me, personally, it was very helpful," Perez said. "It gives drivers a better idea of what to expect the following year."
Sam Bird drove for Mercedes for the first time during last year's test and he told ESPNF1 that he'd like to do the same again as the opportunity had proved successful.
"We need to wait and see if I'm actually including in the tests, whether Mercedes would like to let me test again," Bird said. "It was a phenomenal experience and I thank Mercedes for giving me the chance and off the back of that I now work closely with the team and do some stuff for them. So it was a brilliant experience, one that I will always remember."