McLaren and Force India have become the latest teams to announce the young hopefuls who will drive for them in next week’s F1 rookie test in Abu Dhabi.
Teams will be running drivers who have contested three or fewer Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit following this weekend’s title decider, with some racers getting acquainted with their new employers and many hunting for an F1 berth for 2011.
McLaren will run GP2 rookie Oliver Turvey, alongside veteran test driver Gary Paffett. 23-year-old Turvey has enjoyed a solid first season in F1’s support series, taking three podiums and sitting seventh in the championship ahead of this weekend’s final round of racing. It will be the Cumbrian racer’s second run for McLaren, having tested for them at last year’s young driver test.
Vijay Mallya’s team will be running Dutchman Yelmer Buurman and Portuguese teenager Antonio Felix da Costa in Abu Dhabi, whilst current tester Paul di Resta is also expected to get track time. With Tonio Liuzzi supposedly on his way out of the Silverstone-based outfit and di Resta set to take his race seat this could be seen as an audition for Force India’s 2011 test driver.
23-year-old Burman has spent the last three seasons in the football-themed Superleague Formula championship, finishing as runner-up in 2008. The rapid Dutchman has also raced in GP2, where he was team-mate to Sebastien Buemi in 2008.
“I am unbelievably happy with this chance,” said Buurman. “F1 remains my ultimate goal and testing for such a good team like Force India F1 Team is a dream come true.
“I am well prepared and I will do my very best to show that I am more than quick enough.”
Da Costa meanwhile will become the youngest Portuguese driver to sample F1 machinery when he takes part in the test. The 19-year-old raced in the F3 Euro Series in 2010, scoring three race wins on his way to seventh overall. Former Jordan peddler Tiago Monteiro is part of the teenager’s management team.
“It will be a memorable day in my career and I hope the first of many more at the wheel of a Formula 1 car,” said da Costa.
“Force India is a fierce and very consistent team, with lots of ambition that has been evolving throughout the last few years, so I expect to have a good performance and be able to show my potential.”
Force India: a fierce team. Wonderfully described, Antonio.
Other drivers set to take part in the test include well-funded GP2 champ Pastor Maldonado, Sauber’s new signing Sergio Perez and Ferrari protégée Jules Bianchi. Renault have Jerome d’Ambrosio and Mikhail Aleshin on board, whilst Formula 2 title winner Dean Stoneman will drive for Williams. Dean had a chat with Badger over the weekend about his maiden run in an F1 car, and we’ll bring you that, along with all the other goings on at F1’s young driver test, next week.
That is if you can handle anymore Formula One after Sunday’s title decider.