x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Yas Marina to host F1's young drivers programme

Yas Marina Circuit will host a young drivers programme the week immediately following the Etihad Airline Grand Prix.

BUDAPEST // Formula One team principals confirmed last night that Yas Marina Circuit will host its second Young Driver Testing programme the week immediately following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 13.

The development programme, which last year resulted in four young drivers being awarded seats in Formula One, will begin November 15 and end four-days later when the teams prepare to head to Sao Paulo to compete in the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

Eric Boullier, the Renault principal who doubles up as vice-chairman of the Formula One Teams' Association (Fota), said he was looking forward to returning to the UAE track to cast his eye over some of the sport's brightest talent, and Sir Frank Williams, the owner of the eponymous F1 team, added that such sessions can be "very reassuring" to teams looking at a rookie.

"We are delighted to be hosting the Young Driver Testing," said Mark Hughes, the operations director at Yas Marina. "We have been working very closely with Fota to ensure they get the dates they want. We are very proud about being a testing circuit and we look forward to the teams enjoying the facilities."

Pastor Maldonado, the former GP2 champion, who took part in last year's sessions with Williams, now drives for the England-based team. "It was a very positive experience, because at the end of the GP2 year to stay at the same track and drive Formula One on it allows you to better compare the different cars and categories, and understand things better," the Venezuelan said.

Sergio Perez, Sauber's rookie, enjoyed his first experience behind the wheel of a Formula One car in the UAE capital. He said Yas had provided a "perfect" programme for young drivers.

"What Yas Marina did was very good and for me, personally, it was very helpful," the Mexican said. "It gives drivers a better idea of what to expect the following year."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae


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