Despite their withdrawal, and now subsequent resale to Peter Sauber, the BMW-Sauber F1 team are due to take part in the 1-3 December junior driver test at the Jerez circuit.
BMW's motorsport director Mario Theissen explains the decision – “Depriving these junior drivers of the test we had promised them was not an option for us, even after the withdrawal of BMW from Formula One.”
BMW will use the sessions to give two drivers brought through the Formula BMW feeder series their first taste of F1, in what could be the last appearance of a BMW F1 car in anger.
The two drivers are American Alex Rossi and Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, both only 18 years old.
The Mexican spent his 2009 in the F3 Euroseries, having graduated from BMW's formula, winning the oft F1 shadowing Europe series in 2008, dominating the season, which included seven wins.
Rossi, from Nevada City, CA, is another graduate of 2008 Formula BMW, winning the Americas series, before going on to take victory in the series' World Final in Mexico City. 2009 saw him compete in International Formula Master in Europe, Rossi finishing the season fourth in points, the best placed rookie in the series.
He continued his express progress up the racing ladder on the final weekend of the F1 season, making his debut in the GP2 Asia championship as it kicked off its own season.
Furthermore, despite their young age and relative inexperience both drivers are very clear in what they aim to do at Jerez – a track they have both previously tested GP2 machinery on.
“I take the opportunity to present myself as a driver at Formula One level very seriously and I'm very aware of the far-reaching potential it has,” said Rossi. “I feel very fortunate and my goals for the test are to put in a fantastic performance while fully absorbing the whole experience. There is a growing list of people that have helped me get where I am today. This is a team effort and I am very grateful for this support.”
“We have put all our efforts into the preparations for this great opportunity that will provide me with an insight into what the future may bring. The opportunity to drive a Formula One car is the fulfilment of part of my dreams,” added Gutierrez. “I feel very pleased and will use this experience to learn about and experience the professionalism of a Formula One team. This will help me to find the aspects where I need to work on myself more.”
The young driver test has come about due to an FIA rule forbidding drivers who have run more than two Grand Prix events taking part. Several teams are already confirmed as taking part in what will be the F1 team's first on track testing since the testing ban fell before the season started.