Mercedes will run its Formula E driver line-up of Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries in F1’s Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi next week.
Vandoorne (pictured above) is the Mercedes reserve driver but has been overlooked for replacement drives this year as George Russell was promoted in place of Lewis Hamilton at the last race in Bahrain. Hamilton is back this weekend — with Russell returning to Williams — but Vandoorne will get his chance to drive the current car in the Young Driver Test on Tuesday.
Teams are allowed to run two cars at once for the one-day test if they wish, with drivers who have not started a race in 2020 permitted to drive. Previously it was only going to be for drivers who had started fewer than two grands prix, but Renault successfully lobbied the FIA to allow those who have not raced this season in order for Fernando Alonso to test.
RACER understands Nikita Mazepin was due to drive one of the Mercedes cars as part of his preparations for his Formula 1 debut for Haas next season — continuing a significant private testing program for the Russian with the team — but a change of plans sees de Vries get an opportunity.
De Vries won the 2019 Formula 2 championship but has never had an F1 test despite spending a spell as part of the McLaren young driver program. He joined Mercedes for its debut season in Formula E last year and recorded a best finish of second to Vandoorne in a team one-two at the final round in Berlin. The pair will remain together for the upcoming Formula E season.