The reigning world champion team Mercedes has brought its two-day testing to an end on Wednesday after Lewis Hamilton took over the Anglo-German outfit’s 2018 car from Valtteri Bottas.
Mercedes has returned to action yesterday when it commenced a two-day testing programme aimed at preparing itself ahead of the first race of the revised 2020 F1 season. Due to the Sporting Regulation, the team was unable to run its actual or its 2019 car, therefore it has decided to bring its 2018 double-title winning car back.
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff was also present at Silverstone, supporting his team in its preparation for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix that will see F1 return to race action after a seven-month period without a grand prix.
Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin said that the primary focus for the team was 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 who will be present at Spielberg.
„We are here with the race team and the race drivers and we are looking how to get ready to go racing in Austria. [We are] making sure that all the procedures [work] in order to prevent any risk of transmitting the virus while we are operating the race car . So you'll see a lot of people wearing masks on any occasions when we can't maintain the two-meter distance.”
“In and around the garage, we've got everyone separate so there's good spacing between them, but obviously the difficult bit is on the car when the mechanics are there doing the turn around. That's when it's probably the hardest to keep that gap between everyone. Coming here, everyone got tested, we know that the race team at the moment doesn’t have anyone with the virus, so we are quite confident that we can keep the team safe with those procedures,” he said.
After yesterday’s run, Valtteri Bottas indicated that the test has been very useful for the team despite the fact that the Sporting Regulations prevent teams to use cars of the running and the previous season for testing or demonstration purposes.
"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.
Following the Finn’s run on Tuesday, today belonged to Lewis Hamilton. The six-time world champion who prepares for his seventh championship title this year took the 2018 Mercedes W09 to the track at Silverstone.
The 35-year-old driver who has driven a Formula 1 car for the first time since February said that it was thrilling to get behind the wheel of a race machine after such a long time banished from the circuits.
“The test is over. Honestly, it felt just great to be back in the car. When you leave the garage for the first time, you get this buzz. It does not matter how many years you have been doing it, it was just great.”
"Obviously it is an older car, but it is still fantastic. In general, we have got through a solid programme. Valtteri’s day was dry, my day started off wet. I grew up in this kind of weather, so I am used to it. I was still able to get a good feeling for the car. Every time you take a big break, I think it has been 103 days or something, you always wonder whether you can still drive,” Hamilton concluded.