Ferrari is set to follow Mercedes in undertaking a private on-track test ahead of the upcoming 2020 Formula 1 season.

Mercedes confirmed on Thursday that it will conduct a private two-day test at Silverstone next week as the reigning world champion squad ramps up its preparations for F1’s return next month.

The two-day run at the home of the British Grand Prix will allow Mercedes to get used to working with the strict restrictions that F1 will enforce for the opening rounds of the 2020 season, all of which will take place behind closed doors.

Social distancing measures will be followed and personal protective equipment (PPE) will also be used by team members, with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton alternating days in Mercedes’ 2018 double championship-winning W08.

It is understood that Ferrari will follow Mercedes in staging a private test event to follow similar protocols and enable Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel the chance to warm up ahead of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on 5 July.

The date and location of the test has not yet been confirmed.

Mercedes will be the first team to fire up an F1 car for an on-track appearance in nearly five months since pre-season testing came to a conclusion at the end of February.

F1’s regulations do not allow for official in-season testing of current 2020-spec cars, but teams are permitted to run older cars on Pirelli Academy tyres to get in as much mileage as desired.

All teams need to follow the usual testing procedures, and inform the FIA of the cars being used, the drivers, the duration of the test and its purpose.

On Wednesday McLaren’s Lando Norris stepped up his preparations ahead of F1’s return to action by completing a test with Carlin in F3 machinery at Silverstone.

Williams driver George Russell and Red Bull’s Alex Albon also plan to conduct some form of running in old single-seater machinery before the paddock descends on the Red Bull Ring in early July.

 

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