Formula 2 racer Nikita Mazepin will test for Mercedes during this week’s in-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
All 10 teams are staying on in Spain after this weekend’s GP for the final full in-season test of the year, which takes place at the same venue as pre-season testing. Valtteri Bottas has been confirmed as Tuesday’s driver for the championship leaders, with Mazepin — who has been privately testing a 2017 chassis and using the team’s simulator — in the car on Wednesday.
Twenty-year-old Mazepin previously tested for the former Force India team, but his relationship there ended when it was purchased by Lawrence Stroll and renamed Racing Point. One of Stroll’s rival bidders last year was Russian chemical company Uralkali, which has Mazepin’s father Dmitry as a board member.
Mazepin finished second in the GP3 series last season, but since stepping up to F2 with ART Grand Prix has picked up just four points and sits 16th in this year’s drivers’ championship this season.
With Lewis Hamilton carrying out one day of testing in Bahrain, Mercedes must use a rookie driver for one of the two days this week, ruling out track time for Esteban Ocon as he has started more than two GPs.
Mazepin is not the only F2 driver testing for an F1 team this week, with Nicholas Latifi in the Williams on both days; Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott in an Alfa Romeo on Tuesday; and Jack Aitken carrying out duties for Renault on Wednesday.
Dan Ticktum also gets another day in the Red Bull when he takes over from Pierre Gasly; and Ferrari — which ran Mick Schumacher in Bahrain — will use Charles Leclerc and former F2 driver Antonio Fuoco.
On top of his full day of testing, Leclerc will carry out tire-test duties this week alongside Sebastian Vettel. Racing Point will join Ferrari in supplying a second car for Pirelli, to be driven by both Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez. Nick Yelloly will test the primary Racing Point on both Tuesday and Wednesday as a result.