Ferrari was hoping to give Carlos Sainz an early F1 run at Abu Dhabi during the young driver test. However, the FIA shut that down and denied the request. The young driver test is a one-day run after the final race of the season that is intended for young drivers only. As defined, a “young driver” is one who had competed in no more than two Grand Prix races in their career; unless otherwise approved by the FIA.
Renault, for example, was the exception to that rule after they requested Fernando Alonso be eligible since he had been away from F1 for two seasons. Due to his lengthy absence, the FIA approved the request and as such also clarified the stipulations to allow any driver who had not raced in 2020 – regardless to how many races they had competed at in their career.
As a result, along with Alonso, Red Bull will also be able to allow former driver, Sebastian Buemi to participate in the young driver test. In addition, Williams’ Jack Aitken will also be able to run the test, even if he makes his second start for Williams in the season finale. Ferrari is unhappy with the decision and team principal, Mattia Binotto said he had had approached the FIA to request that drivers who are changing teams, as in Sainz’s case, should be allowed to participate as well.
Numerous teams also requested clarification in the rules, and F1 Race Director, Michael Masi, issued a memo to teams informing them that no changes would be made to the test restrictions. Masi was clear in stating that the FIA’s position stood, any driver who had taken part in more than two Grand Prix races would only be given approval to run at the test if “[they] had not competed in any F1 races during the 2020 season.“
Scuderia Ferrari has been eager to try to get Sainz some early experience with their cars and systems before pre-season testing begins next season. Their only option now will be to attempt to get Sainz a private test in a 2018-model F1 car at the beginning of next year.