Ferrari confirms pre-season test plan for Sainz with 2018 car


Carlos Sainz said earlier this week that testing a 2018-spec Ferrari was an option to get himself acquainted with his new team, and Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto has confirmed that such a plan will likely take place at the start of 2021.

Pre-season testing will be limited to a single three-day test in February, most likely to take place in Bahrain, but each outfit will only be allowed to run a single car.

Teams will therefore head to Melbourne in March with relatively little mileage, an issue more impactful for those drivers - like Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo or F1 returnee Fernando Alonso - who won't be familiar with their new team environment.

Alonso has been logging in miles with Renault recently and Ferrari says it will likely dust off one of its 2018 cars at the start of next year to allow Sainz to familiarize himself with the Scuderia's procedures and crews.

"Certainly one and a half days [for each driver] is very short, it’s very little time," said Binotto.

"Obviously, we are trying to organise something for Carlos, to make sure he can speed up his integration with the team, with the engineers, with the car, with our way of working, our procedures.


"The simulator will be important in that respect – with the simulator he may work with his race team, his engineers, his technicians.

"We are currently trying to organise, January time eventually, to run with an old car, just to make sure again he gets used mainly to our team and procedures and know the people."

Unfortunately, not all teams will have the luxury of running a 2018-spec car ahead of the start of the 2021 season.

McLaren, which is switching to Mercedes power for 2021, does not have at its disposal a Renault-powered MCL33 that it could roll out to help new recruit Daniel Ricciardo warm up with his new team.

"In terms of running an old car, unfortunately, we don't have this possibility at the moment," said team boss Andreas Seidl. "We are not geared up for it due to the recent power unit changes we had at McLaren.

"In the end, we have certain resources within the team that are limited, at some point, and we simply need to make decisions of how we want to use these resources for the maximum outcome in the end in terms of results.

"And we clearly made the decision that the investment into putting something up like this has less priority compared to other things. And this is how we ended up at the position where we are right now."

Read also: Ferrari changes stance - now open to F1 engine freeze!

Seidl underscored McLaren's ability to rely on other means to get Ricciardo up to speed with his new team.

"I'm working on the plan together with all departments," he said. "The technical side, but also on the communication side and the marketing side, to get Daniel integrated from the first of January onwards, as quickly as possible.

“I think we have a good plan in how we want to do that. Of course, it's challenging, with only having three days [of testing].

"But these are the regulations, how they are. So I don't waste any energy thinking about how bad that is, it's the challenge we're in. And we simply have to get on with it.

"Daniel is a very experienced driver. We have a lot of experienced guys in the team. And we approach this with a lot of positivity.

"I'm sure we will be in good shape once we go to the first race next year."

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