F1 return: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas to drive in Mercedes test
World champions Mercedes conducting two-day test at Silverstone next week; Brundle, Davidson have their say on F1 return
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 04/06/20 6:03pm
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will step up their preparations for Formula 1's return when they get behind the wheel of a Mercedes during a two-day test at Silverstone next week, the team have confirmed.
Bottas will drive the 2018 Mercedes W09 on Tuesday next week, with six-time world champion Hamilton in the car on Wednesday "as the team practises protocols ahead of returning to racing in Austria next month".
Makes so much sense for any teams that can run their drivers in 2 year old cars to do it. Blows off the cobwebs, gets the nerves and reflexes warmed up and firing before Austria! Fairly sure Ferrari will do this behind closed doors at Fiorano too... #F12020 https://t.co/5E1XhoLzNV— Karun Chandhok (@karunchandhok) June 4, 2020
F1's regulations do not allow for official in-season testing of current cars, but Mercedes are able to rack up as much mileage as they want in an old car.
F1's return: 'Shock to the system' for drivers
Mercedes' test was confirmed after Sky F1's Martin Brundle and Anthony Davidson insisted drivers are in for a "real shock" when F1 returns next month, after such a long period away from the wheel of motorsport's fastest cars.
Stars such as Hamilton and Max Verstappen are set to get racing again on July 5 in Austria when the delayed 2020 season starts - four months after testing and 217 days after the last F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.
There have only been two longer absences between consecutive races in the sport's history, both more than half a century ago.
"I think the biggest challenge for everyone will be jumping in that car for the first time and getting out there in Austria," Ant said on the Sky F1 Vodcast.
"I think the first time they go through a series of higher speed corners and feel that G-force again, it's going to be an absolute shock to the system. They've hardly been driving road cars, let alone Formula 1 cars.
"Speaking to a couple of GT drivers who were out testing this week, they were saying it was a total shock to the body. They've been playing all their simulation games, trying to keep their hand-eye coordination as best as they can - but to actually experience G-force again was a real shock.
"Austria is a tricky circuit and we see at the best of times drivers going off. I think we're going to see a lot of mistakes, and some super rusty drivers in wheel-to-wheel."
Hamilton admitted drivers would be "rusty as hell" once the sport returns, while soon-to-be Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz recently stated it would take him at least 10 laps to find the limit of the car again.
Brundle stated that drivers can get a "slight bit of self-doubt" after such a long lay-off and agreed with Ant that "as hard as you work in the gym, you can't replicate 5g under braking or through a corner with all of your internal organs moving around".
"It'll be a shock," he added. "I know what it's like when you go out for your first run of the year, everything seems to flash past your eyes a bit too fast. But you very quickly dial into it.
"I think it's dream ticket for most of them. Lots of racing, back up and running, it's what they were born to do, they won't have to talk to a load of journalists like us, they're not going to have to do a lot of fan forums, all they're going to do is drive their Formula 1 cars. Lucky boys!"