Red Bull Racing have made the short trip from their Milton Keynes base to the Silverstone race track to fine-tune their 2020 car, the RB16 ahead of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
After Mercedes became the first team to return to the tracks with its private test at Silverstone, rival outfits followed the reigning world champions. Racing Point held a test at Silverstone while Renault popped up at the Red Bull Ring that is set to stage the season-opening round on July 5.
This week, Ferrari turned up at its own track located at Mugello where Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc get to grips with the cornering speeds of the Scuderia’s 2018-spec car, the SF71H. AlphaTauri arranged a special test session yesterday with firing up its two-year old car in the morning before fine-tuning its 2020 machine in the afternoon.
Red Bull Racing have become the latest team to held a private test before the action gets serious next week at Spielberg. Teams have an allocation of two filming days on which they can use their actual car. However, they are restricted to a maximum of 100kms and must use Pirelli’s special tyres designed for demonstration purposes.
Red Bull has not used up any of their two filming days until today. The four-time world champion team brought its 2020 car, the RB16 on to the National Circuit of the Silverstone track to get accustomed to the “new normal” way of working under COVID-19 safety protocols that Formula One will adopt next week at the Red Bull Ring, with tested personnel wearing face masks and PPE.
Behind the wheel of the RB16 was the team’s London-born Thai driver Alexander Albon who was quickly back into the groove after a handful of laps. Due to the coronavirus measure and compulsory 14-day quarantine, Max Verstappen was unable to travel to Great Britain which means that the Dutch driver has to wait until the first free practice session of next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix to climb into the cockpit of Red Bull’s 2020 machine.
Albon who has not been in the cockpit for 118 days said: “It was good to be back in the car today at Silverstone for our filming day and good to shake off the dust and get back into it. I haven’t been in an F1 car for three months but after five or six laps I was right back into it.”
„All that work in the gym doesn’t really matter until you see it on track. It’s a small track, a busy track and it was really hot today. So it’s been a good way to see where I’m at with fitness and I’m happy with it. It was also great to see everyone again. I’ve been in regular contact with the guys on my side of the garage since Melbourne, so things haven’t changed too much and it was easy to get that understanding again. It was also good for everyone to get used to the new COVID-19 protocols and it’s been pretty seamless. Overall it was a good opportunity to get back in touch with everything and to get back into that racing mindset," Albon added.
Commenting on a successful day’s filming, Team Principal Christian Horner, said: “We’ve been at Silverstone today to get ourselves back up to speed – practicing garage protocols and pitstop procedures with the new COVID-19 precautions in place.”
„As a trial run this has been great for the Team to enable them to get used to these procedures, which are a little bit foreign, but which are vitally important. By the time we get to Austria, these procedures will be the new normal and today ensures that everybody knows what’s expected of them when we get to Austria. It’s important for the safety of our Team and everyone around us in Formula One,” he concluded.