Formula 1

Leclerc, Räikkönen and Russell to start with new teams in Abu Dhabi tyre test

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Charles Leclerc - Formula 1 - 2018 Abu Dhabj GP
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Charles Leclerc, Kimi Räikkönen and George Russell will all drive for their new teams in this week’s post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Pirelli Motorsport tyre test at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Leclerc and Räikkönen swap places, with the young Monégasque starting his time with Scuderia Ferrari while Räikkönen returns to the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team – 17 years after his last race for them. FIA Formula 2 champion Russell will test for Williams Martini Racing, alternating duties with the returning Robert Kubica.

Former Williams driver Lance Stroll will turn out for the Racing Point Force India F1 Team ahead of his widely expected move, partnering Sergio Pérez. The McLaren F1 Team sport a completely different line-up to the one that ended the Abu Dhabi race last weekend; Formula 2 runner-up Lando Norris will be joined by new signing Carlos Sainz Jr, trying to fill the void left by compatriot Fernando Alonso.

Sainz Jr’s replacement at the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, Daniel Ricciardo, has been denied the chance to test with his new team until his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing contract expires in 2019. However, Ricciardo’s successor Pierre Gasly has no contractual ties to worry about and will make the immediate step up from junior team Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda. Renault junior Artem Markelov and regular driver Nico Hülkenberg will test in place of Ricciardo.

Louis Delétraz and Pietro Fittipaldi will make their Formula 1 debuts in the test for the Haas F1 Team. The occasion marks a huge landmark for Fittipaldi – grandson of double world champion Emerson – who has done well to come back from the two broken legs he sustained in a crash in qualifying for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May.

Recently confirmed Toro Rosso signing Alexander Albon will not test for his new team; Sean Gelael and the revitalised Daniil Kvyat will fill both seats.

World champions Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport have not announced any drivers so far, with Drivers’ champion Lewis Hamilton not expected to feature.

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DTM, Formula 1 writer and deputy editor for The Checkered Flag. Autosport Academy member and freelance voice over artist.
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