Mercedes hands Barcelona test outing to Mazepin

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Formula 2 racer Nikita Mazepin will drive for Mercedes alongside Valtteri Bottas at this week's two-day test in Barcelona which kicks off on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Russian - who tested for Force India in the past - will be handed one day of running onboard the team's W10 although Mercedes has yet to decide on which day he will take to the track.

Mazepin, whose credentials include a runner-up spot in the last year's GP3 championship, is currently conducting a private testing programme in collaboration with Mercedes and funded by his father, Belarus-born Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, a core shareholder of chemical giants Uralchem and Uralkali.

As a sponsor of Force India in 2018 through Uralkali, Dmitry Mazepin put himself on the ranks to acquire the Silverstone-based team last summer.

However, his offer was rebuffed by Force India's administrators in favour of a superior proposition submitted by a consortium of investors led by Lawrence Stroll, a deal which led to the creation of Racing Point.

Nikita Mazepin's training programme with Mercedes includes 12 days of running on various tracks at the wheel of a 2017-spec W08.

Mazepin won't be the only F2 racer or young charger entrusted with an opportunity to test the waters of Formula 1 this week.

McLaren is expected to provide some F1 mileage to junior driver Sergio Sette Camara, while current F2 championship leader Nicholas Latifi will be running with Williams.

Ferrari has included former academy member Antonio Fuoco in its line-up, while Scuderia junior Callum Ilott joins Alfa Romeo this week.

Jack Aitken, Pietro Fittipaldi and Dan Ticktum will be givven an opportunity to boost their F1 experiience in Barcelona, respectively with Renault, Haas and Red Bull Racing.

Racing Point will entrust its RP19 to simulator driver Nick Yelloly who has now steered his career towards GT racing. The 28-year-old Brit finished runner-up in the Porsche Supercup series last year.

Racing Point and Ferrari will both run additional cars on Tuesday and Wednesday devoted to Pirelli's development programme.

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