Formula 1’s dominant team, the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport outfit has returned to action today at Silverstone where the squad started its preparation for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
After the long, coronavirus-induced shutdown that has banished F1 teams from the race tracks, Mercedes fired up one of its title-winning machines in order to get back to speed.
Although Formula One’s Sporting Regulation does not allow any unofficial tests with cars of the actual and previous seasons, the Brackley-based team has felt that it should use an older car in order to regain its shape. Mercedes has put its 2018 double-title winning W09 back into service to familisarise itself with the protocols that FIA and Formula One will put into place in order to guarantee the health and safety of all participants.
Mercedes’ seven-time race winner, Valtteri Bottas was behind the wheel today with Lewis Hamilton set to take over the car on Tuesday.
The pictures relased by the teams showed that mechanics and engineers were facing masks while Bottas was also wearing it when he was outside the car.
"We're also wearing face masks/shields and practising hand hygiene. Face coverings are particularly important for the team as social distancing is not possible for every role in the garage,” Mercedes communicated via a Twitter post.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was also present and he also needed to wear a mask.
In a video message uploaded by Mercedes, Bottas has revealed that Mercedes could make a big profit from today's running.
"Today I think it was a very helpful day for the team. Obviously everyone being out from racing and the garage environment for a long time, and there are many new regulations, and we need to be cautious with different things for health. It was good to practice that."
"I think we learned a lot during the day, how to do things more efficiently and make sure everyone is going to be safe once we eventually start racing. I loved to be back in a car, and now I can't wait for Austria, and to be back racing again very soon," he said.
The test will resume with Hamilton behind the wheel on Wednesday.