McLaren’s Carlos Sainz says he would be “very willing” to drive for Ferrari during the post-season Formula 1 test in Abu Dhabi as he is contractually free to do so.

The one-day test following the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 15 December was originally designated for rookie drivers who have taken part in no more than two grands prix, but Renault’s successful lobbying to run Fernando Alonso has opened the door for other teams to follow suit.

Sainz had previously highlighted his concern that he would not have enough time to get up to speed with Ferrari ahead of the 2021 season due to a cut back on pre-season testing next year and having initially been ruled out of taking part in the Yas Marina test.

Ferrari confirmed it planned to provide Sainz with some mileage in two-year-old machinery next January, but the Spaniard could now make an early debut for the team before the year is out.

The Maranello outfit has already announced that Robert Shwartzman and Antonio Fuoco will drive its two cars at the end of the season test.

“I’m willing to test for Ferrari, I think it’s no secret,” Sainz told media at the FIA drivers’ press conference ahead of this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

“Especially now that the hand has been a bit opened by the FIA for drivers that are not rookies or no young drivers to test, I don’t see why the FIA wouldn’t maybe open the hand a bit also to other drivers.

“Personally I wouldn’t take any young driver out of the seat. I think Callum (Ilott), Mick (Schumacher), Robert Shwartzman - I think they are all still going to test. If I jump into a Ferrari, I’m not going to not allow them to test, they are still going to be testing.

“I think Ferrari is one of the teams that are promoting young drivers the most right now, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t get the chance also to test. I don’t know what’s going to happen, or the FIA, but you can tell I’m going to be there as much as I can.”

Asked whether he had put in a specific request to take part, Sainz replied: “I’m not going to say what we are going to do, but I’m telling you I’m very willing to be on that Abu Dhabi test particularly as my contract allows me to do so.”

Daniel Ricciardo, who is making a winter switch from Ricciardo to McLaren to replace Sainz, said he was never planning to participate, while McLaren has already confirmed it is not attending the test.

“From my side I was never going to participate," Ricciardo explained.

"It was always from 2021 onwards, so I don't really feel like personally I've lost out because it was nothing I ever expected to do.

"I think Fernando, obviously he's been maintaining a lot of health and fitness.

"He looks in pretty good shape and pretty young - so I think, to the naked eye, he certainly passes as a young driver!"

 

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