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Young guns F1 test to take place at Magny Cours.. for three teams at least
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Aug 2012   |  8:32 pm GMT  |  23 comments

The fragmented approach of the F1 teams to the traditional Young Guns F1 test was highlighted today when it was announced that three teams, Ferrari, Mercedes and Force India would hold their test at former French GP venue Magny Cours in the week after the Italian Grand Prix.

This follows the decision by Williams, Marussia and HRT to do their Young Guns test at Silverstone last month to save money. In previous years the test has taken place at Abu Dhabi, following the Grand Prix.

The Young Guns test is an opportunity to give young drivers a chance to taste F1 machinery. Some teams, like McLaren, always use the opportunity to use test drivers Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey and get some serious work done, while other less well funded teams use it as an opportunity to get a few hundred thousand pounds from well-funded youngsters for some seat time.

Coming in mid-September, it will give teams a valuable opportunity to track test developments ahead of Singapore, a race for which most competitive teams bring a major upgrade package, and for the remaining races.

It has been an important test for Red Bull and Toro Rosso in the past as it gave them a good chance to have a look at Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne, both of whom got race seats at Toro Rosso on the strength of good performances in the Young Guns test.

Other teams may yet decide to join the three teams in France on September 11-13. Red Bull, McLaren and Toro Rosso are believed to be planning to stick with the Abu Dhabi test in November, but the Magny Cours test could develop into something bigger with other teams yet to declare their plans. It makes life more complicated for tyre supplier Pirelli, which has to ship tyres to three different venues, rather than simply to Abu Dhabi.

Magny Cours hosted the French GP until 2008, when it lost the race. There has not been a French Grand Prix since then. Although there were moves prior to the French presidential election this year to get a deal together to reinstate the race, with Paul Ricard looking likely, the trail went quiet when the Socialist Francois Hollande was elected.

Magny Cours was used for testing occasionally in the past, especially by the Ligier team, but many teams found that its character and smooth track surface was not particularly representative of the other circuits on the calendar.

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James, just curious to know will this test help teams like Ferrari to evaluate some of the upgrades they are planning to bring for the fly away races till the end of the season?


Of course!


Then, why are McLaren and Red Bull not testing mid-season?


Because the Abu Dhabi test is all about next year’s car, it’s a straight choice – do you want some benefit for the end of this championship or as a head start for next year’s?


Any idea who the teams are running in Magny Cours?

I’m surprised Ferrari and Force India are running on the same test, as I would have expected both would have wanted to run Bianchi.

I presume Sam Bird would be most likely for Mercedes


“the traditional Young Guns F1 test”

With modern F1 starting in 1950 and this testing only being three or four years old, I find it hard to call it traditional.


Tradition is an experiment which worked!


Could it be that Ferrari have short-listed 3 drivers to replace Masa for next year, namely Rosberg, Di Resta & Hulkenberg, and all these teams are testing potential replacements if Ferrari should go with one of the three?

In addition, Ferrari are also covering themselves if they happen to stumble across a young gun with future potential.


Hello James. Not on the same vein as your article but I would like to ask if you think this overly long period between Hungary and Belgium has done F1 marketing any favours. I understand the teams need a break but to have such a long break right in middle of summer when everyone is on holiday in Europe and might then have the opportunity to attend a race, to me doesnt sound a good thing to of done. Once again F1 is not taking into account the spectators who do spend an awful amount of money to have to attend an F1 weekend.

Your thoughts please.

Bring Back Murray

It does seem like a while since the last race doesn’t it.

I can’t even remember what’s been going on. Alonso’s leading, right?


Is this a test for the track itself as much as the young drivers? What are the facilities like in Magny Cours? Have they been upgraded since F1 was last at the venue?

I guess Magny Cours have offered favourable rates for the test in a bid to generate interest in the track and F1 in France. Will Bianchi fit the young driver requirements?

A smooth surface test would surely be very representative of the newer tracks coming up in the calendar, Korea, India, Austin Abu Dhabi. It could play well for Ferrari.


I miss Magny Cours on the calendar!


My Mother in Law lives about 30mins from Paul Ricard, nuts to Magny Cours!


Good on Ya if you get along with the old girl!!!


She is awesome, and one of the main reasons I married my wife.


I didn’t realise that only a few teams ran Silverstone because of cost savings. Didn’t all the teams plan to have the test after the British GP but nobody realised that Formula Student was on that weekend on the circuit?

I’m in college at the moment with a Formula Student team and we were amazed to hear that the world of F1 made such an error in judgement!


Why have these teams chosen a circuit that’s not on the calendar as representative of the sport’s demands to test drivers? Isn’t it also more expensive to ship a team out to a circuit just for testing as opposed to test after a race while a team is already set up?


4th paragraph:

“Coming in mid-September, it will give teams a valuable opportunity to track test developments ahead of Singapore, a race for which most competitive teams bring a major upgrade package, and for the remaining races.”

It’s probably more about planning ahead to test “bits that might or might not work”.

The cooler temperatures at the venue, in September, may also have something to do with their long-term plans for specific parts or needs they are already anticipating.

Of course it’s a gamble: if it rains, it’s an expensively wasted time, for the most part.

Or I could be completely wrong on all of the above.


I think teams are concerned about the fact that the Abu-Dhabi test happens so late in the season

So teams like Ferrari who not only want to focus all their resources and concentration on fighting the title, wouldn’t want to be shipping parts or spending any extra day in the mid east and so they have just decided to settle for neighbouring Magny Cours.

On the other foot teams like Mclaren have no choice but to do the Abu-Dhabi young guns test because their majority shareholders are in neighbouring Bahrain and so the test will be one part of the programme in addition to the shareholding meetings.

Meanwhile, if Red Bull try out new blood at their test, maybe this will mean curtains for the Torro Rosso lads, also Massa should keep his fingers crossed that the young Ferrari tester is pretty slow.


McLaren have investors/shareholders in Bahrain. Torro Rosso and Mercedes have investors/shareholders (Aabar Investments) based in Abu Dhabi. The cars will be in Abu Dhabi so the costs of the test is reduced (transport, staff etc). The would have applied to the Silverstone test. This is yet another example of F1 being unable to agree on a date that suits all the teams with the nett result being additional costs.


I agree with you on the McLaren thing.

Regarding Massa I disagree. His competition comes from drivers already racing this year and maybe Alguersuari. I really don’t believe Ferrari will replace Felipe with some young chap who’s testing an F1 car for the first or third time.



I still think Perez is in with a good shot. They provide constructive criticism to him in Monaco and he goes on to get a podium in Montreal. Fantastic maturity and growth. There aren’t many drivers who can perform after being told that he needs to (Massa, especially, seems like he needs to be reminded constantly that he should be faster.)

Their other great young driver hope, Bianchi, has been a bit of a red herring and will have to prove himself in a Force India first.

And their other hopeful, Kubica, is still fixing himself in F1 simulators. He apparently got himself some simulator time a few months ago, found that he had rotational problems in his elbow, and promptly had it surgically rectified. Sounds to be me like someone hell bent on getting back in F1 (he’s already back driving everything else). There are only a few teams with simulators like that, and my bet that it was the one in Northern Italy he tested.


I think the idea is, if the driver’s slow, it’ll just make Alonso look even better in comparison. But if he’s quick in the same car, he probably wont get a race seat, but it’ll make Massa look really bad.

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