Sainz to make Ferrari F1 test debut at Fiorano
After joining Ferrari from McLaren ahead of the 2021 season, Sainz has been working with the team at its Maranello factory in recent weeks, as well as completing some runs in its simulator.
Ferrari revealed late last year that it planned to give Sainz a test in one of its older F1 cars over the winter, compensating in part for the limited amount of official pre-season running scheduled in March.
Motorsport.com understands that Sainz will sample a Ferrari F1 car for the first time at Fiorano next Wednesday as part of a wider programme for the team at its private test track.
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The running will be conducted in the Ferrari SF71H that raced through the 2018 season, winning six races. Teams are not allowed to use any cars that raced in the last two years, with the 2018-spec car being readily available after private tests last year.
Sainz is due to test on Wednesday and Thursday next week at Fiorano alongside teammate Charles Leclerc, on the basis the Monegasque driver has by then tested negative for COVID-19 after contracting the virus earlier this month.
The test will offer Sainz a first opportunity to take part in an on-track programme with his race crew and engineering team for the 2021 season, making it a valuable experience even in a car that is almost three years old.
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Sainz will not get a chance to drive Ferrari’s 2021 car, the SF21, until the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain, which takes place from 12-14 March ahead of the opening round at the Sakhir track two weeks later.
Ferrari’s five-day test at Maranello will also include running to members of the Ferrari Driver Academy, most notably for Formula 2 drivers Robert Shwartzman and Marcus Armstrong. Both will be on track in the SF71H from Monday onwards.
It will mark Armstrong’s first F1 test outing for Ferrari, while Shwartzman previously took part in running in the 2018-spec Ferrari at both Fiorano and the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi last year.
Giuliano Alesi is also set to take part in the test, but it is unknown if Ferrari test and reserve driver Callum Ilott will be present for the running.