The upcoming young driver test after this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, is a chance for drivers to announce themselves on the Formula One radar, a rare opportunity in a restricted testing environment.
With the test split between Abu Dhabi and Mangy Cours earlier in the season, only six teams will be present, running a total of thirteen drivers.
Son of former Grand Prix driver Johnny Cecotto, Junior comes into the young driver test after finishing ninth in GP2 for the Addax team, taking his first win at a true driver’s circuit in Monaco, following it up with a feature race win at Hockenheim.
Antonio was picked up by Red Bull in June following Lewis Williamson’s failure to score a point in their World Series by Renault team. Despite missing the first five races, he came into the Carlin team following Williamson’s sacking, he took four wins and was fourth in the championship. He started the season in GP3 with Carlin, and ran a double program for the rest of the season finishing third with two wins.
He controversially won the World Series by Renault Championship after an incident that left his rival in the gravel in the last race of the season, and as such wins the prize of a Red Bull test drive, after winning three races on his way.
Saubers regular test driver is still eligible to take part in the test due to not running on Fridays this season prior to filling in for an ill Sergio Perez in India. He raced in GP2 in 2012, finishing third with three wins, and this test is seen by many as he chance to earn himself a Sauber race seat alongside Nico Hulkenberg in 2013.
Kevin is the son of former McLaren and Stewart Grand Prix driver Jan, and finished seventh in World Series by Renault with one win in Spa at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Eduardo taking part in the young driver test would have made more sense two years ago, then he was Formula Three Euro series champion, and back to back Macau Grand Prix winner, now he is a touring car driver, racing in the DTM for Team Rosberg. He won two races this season on his way to an impressive fifth in the championship.
Gary is a McLaren reserve driver, but because he has not raced he still classes as a young driver at the age of thirty one. He has spent nine years racing in the DTM, winning the championship in 2005, and finishing second this year with two wins.
The son of four time World Champion Alain, should have had this opportunity a long time ago, but by the age of thirty one he has never set the world alight. He first gained international recognition in 2008, driving for A1GP Team France, but since then he has turned away from single seaters, concentrating on Sports cars. This year he finished sixth in the Le Mans 24 Hours, and third in the Le Mans Series.
Luiz finished second in GP2 this year with two wins for Christian Horner’s Arden team, and was very unlucky to be taken out in the Italian sprint race that caused his only retirement of the season and dented his title hopes.
American Rossi, comes into the test on the back of a very disappointing year. In 2011 he won two races and finished third in the World Series by Renault championship with Fortec, then switched to Arden Caterham for 2012, and only scored one podium and went backwards to eleventh in the championship.
Turvey is another McLaren resserve driver who seems to have been around forever, despite only being twenty five. With the help of the Racing Steps Foundation he got to GP2 with iSport and impressed, but he has no budget to move into a Formula One race seat, and has spent the year as reserve driver at McLaren
Davide is the new GP2 Champion, winning the title for DAMS, who were a partner for Lotus’ former guise Renault. He took four wins on his way to the title, and if GP2 is the feeder series to Formula One, his is one of the hottest young properties around and needs to use this test to get a race seat.
Giedo’s career has stagnated since his World Series by Renault title in 2008. He has now had four years in GP2 finishing a test of fifth in Addax before switching to Caterham in 2012 because of the links with the Formula One team, and finishing sixth following two wins.
Of the thirteen drivers, most will be using this as a chance to put themselves in the shop window for a the few remaining race drivers in 2013. For Da Costa, Frijns Gutierrez, Razia, Rossi, Valsecchi and Van Der Garde this test is essential if they do not want their careers to become one of what might have been.
Cecotto and Magnussen need to do well so they can use it as momentum for the 2013 season, neither are contenders for a race seat yet, but a good performance could lead to a repeat outing next year.
Mortara, I think is now established in the DTM, and he is unlikely to make a return to single seaters, while for Paffett and Turvey, they will be just doing their day job, for their reserve driver role. Prost never impressed in Formula cars, and is now a sports car driver, and following the test this will remain his main focus.