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Russell to drive for Mercedes on both Abu Dhabi test days



Russell to drive for Mercedes on both Abu Dhabi test days

Russell to drive for Mercedes on both Abu Dhabi test days..

Russell George, Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou, three of the four drivers who are moving for the 2022 Formula 1 season, will drive for their new teams during the two-day post-season test at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

The post-season will feature all 10 teams, with nine running their specially-adapted mule cars for the 2022 18-inch wheelrim tyre testing programme on both days. All teams, including Williams, will run on one day with their 2021 car for what are designated as young drivers, defined as those who have started no more than two world championship races.

Russell will drive the Mercedes mule car on both days. While the sporting regulations state a regular 2021 race driver must drive the car on at least one day, a change to the sporting regulations issued last week allows the FIA to give dispensation overriding this.

Bottas will have his first outing for Alfa Romeo on Tuesday before handing over to Formula 2 graduate Guanyu Zhou for the second day of running. Zhou will also drive the 2021 Alfa Romeo on Tuesday.

The vast majority of the regular race drivers, either for this year or next year, will be taking part. This includes newly-crowned world champion Max Verstappen and Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, McLaren pairing Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris and Alpine duo Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.

Both of Ferrari’s race drivers will also be in action, although Charles Leclerc will share the first day of running with simulator driver Antonio Fuoco.

Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi, who started two races for the team at the end of last year and recently agreed to remain in the role for 2022, will drive for Haas on Wednesday in place of Nikita Mazepin, who is unavailable after testing positive for COVID-19 and also had to miss the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


The definitive 2022 F1 tyres will be used during the test, which are the product of a testing programme that started back in September 2019. While there is the possibility of minor tweaks if needed before next season, both the construction and compounds have been finalised.

The standard wheel covers could also run on the 2022 18-inch wheels for the first time as they are available to be used, although Pirelli’s head of F1 Mario Isola does not believe they will be used a great deal.

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“There is the option for teams to run the wheel covers and the standard sensors if they want,” said Isola when asked by The Race about the wheel covers.

“But the reality is, if you fit the covers on the current cars with the current brakes that are completely different compared to next year. We will probably achieve a different result to what we expect.

“And the heat transfer in the space between the brake and the rim are all parameters that are different compared to next year. So I’m not sure if everybody will run the wheel covers.

“Probably they will run a few laps with the wheel cover to understand on the operational side how they work, for pitstop practice. But I’m not really expecting a lot of running on the mule cars for the wheel covers.”


The 2021 cars, which will only run for one day, will use the regular tyres for the 13-inch wheels, with IndyCar frontrunner Pato O’Ward having his long-awaited first F1 test for McLaren on Tuesday.

Newly-crowned Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri will drive Alpine’s 2021 car, with Logan Sargeant, whose 2022 F2 drive with Carlin was recently confirmed, will have his first outing for Williams.

F2 racer Juri Vips will drive the 2021 Red Bull, with Liam Lawson in the AlphaTauri.


TeamMule car Day 1Mule car Day 22021 car
MercedesGeorge RussellGeorge RussellNyck de Vries
Red BullMax VerstappenSergio PerezJuri Vips
McLarenDaniel RicciardoLando NorrisPatricio O’Ward
Aston MartinLance StrollSebastian VettelNick Yelloly
AlpineEsteban OconFernando AlonsoOscar Piastri
FerrariCharles Leclerc
Antonio Fuoco
Carlos SainzRobert Shwartzman
Antonio Fuoco
AlphaTauriYuki TsunodaPierre GaslyLiam Lawson
Alfa RomeoValtteri BottasGuanyu ZhouGuanyu Zhou
WilliamsN/AN/ALogan Sargeant
HaasMick SchumacherPietro FittipaldiRobert Shwartzman

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