Romain Grosjean is absent from the Lotus F1 Team’s line-up for the up-coming Young Driver Test at Silverstone. Despite previously being only open to young drivers, the FIA changed this rule to include race drivers too with the testing of the new range of Pirelli tyres.
Lotus will run their two reserve drivers, Nicolas Prost and Davide Valsecchi, alongside Kimi Raikkonen. Grosjean had originally hinted that he could be “busy” at the young driver test but the race-winning team have chosen to give their more experienced race driver the time in the car to evaluate the new Pirelli rubber.
Prost will open the test for the Enstone based squad on Wednesday before handing the car over to Valsecchi on Thursday. Raikkonen will complete the final day of the test on Friday.
The two reserve drivers drove for the team at the Young Driver Test in 2012 driving the E20 and the latter has tested in the E21 for half a days running during winter testing.
Speaking on the announcement of his driver line-up in a statement, Team Principal Eric Boullier said: “It’s great timing for us to have this season’s Young Driver Test scheduled in the middle of the year as it allows us to evaluate more of the new parts we have for the E21 as the championship battle intensifies. Remarkably, the UK has been having some notably good weather recently so we’re looking forward to getting some good running across the three days.”
He spoke about running his two reserve drivers in comparison to letting both race drivers get a taste of the new tyres: “By running Nicolas and Davide we are giving them both invaluable experience and also gaining great feedback, as we’ve previously seen what they can do in the car and appreciate the valuable information they give us. it’s a fabulous second opportunity for all Formula 1 fans to come and see the teams in action at Silverstone.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Manager, spoke on the up-coming test: “This will be an interesting test and we have a lot planned across the three days. Obviously we want to give all three drivers the maximum track time possible as well as accessing the latest upgrades to the car.”
The aim on day three is to focus on Pirelli with Raikkonen at the wheel of the E21: “Our aim on the third day will be to help Pirelli understand the latest changes to their tyres at the same venue where they most notably had issues this season.” He added that it will be a key learning opportunity for Prost and Valsecchi before adding: “For the team it is a great opportunity to try to refine some of the latest developments we have for the E21. Kimi is also allowed to run, enabling him and other race drivers to test tyres for Pirelli. This will benefit both him and Romain by granting us a better understanding of these tyres before we head to the next event in Hungary.”
Image courtesy of Lotus F1 Team