Mercedes will carry out a private two-day on-track test at Silverstone next week ahead of Formula 1’s return to racing.

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton will each take it in turns to carry out driving duties for the reigning world champion squad, with Bottas driving the 2018 Mercedes W09 on Tuesday, before Hamilton takes over on Wednesday.

It will mark the first time since pre-season testing at the end of February that Hamilton or Bottas have driven F1 machinery following the enforced hiatus caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamilton and Bottas will get the chance to step up their respective preparations for the heavily-delayed 2020 season, which begins with the Austrian Grand Prix on 5 July, kicking off a string of eight European races in the space of 10 weeks.

Mercedes will be limited to the usual restrictions that apply to test days outside of the designated F1 tests, including being limited to using a car that is at least two years old.

The German manufacturer says it will be using the two days to focus on “running through protocols to keep everyone safe once we go back racing”.

Mercedes is taking advantage of the UK’s lockdown measures slowly starting to be eased to clock in some valuable track time ahead of F1’s anticipated return to racing next month. It is set to become the first F1 team to conduct any on-track running since winter testing finished.

For team members, it will be a chance to practice working with the restrictions that will be in place when the season gets underway in Austria under F1's strict hygeine and safety guidelines. This includes the use of social distancing measures, face masks and other PPE. 

Hamilton and Bottas are due back in the UK before the 14-day quarantine restrictions on international arrivals is enforced on 8 June to carry out sim work and preparation at the team's factory in Brackley. 

Lando Norris carried out a private test with Carlin at Silverstone in F3 machinery on Wednesday, while Red Bull’s Alex Albon and Williams driver George Russell also intend to carry out some running in old single-seater machinery before the start of the 2020 F1 season.

Silverstone has been confirmed as hosting two races this year, the British Grand Prix on 2 August, which will be followed by F1's '70th Anniversary Grand Prix' a week later on August 9. 

 

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