Vettel, Leclerc test for Ferrari at Mugello

Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc put a Formula One car through its paces for the first time since preseason at a test at Mugello on Tuesday.

Vettel and Leclerc split duties in the team’s 2018 car, the SF71H, at the Tuscany circuit, which has been slated as a possible late addition to the revised 2020 schedule if F1 needs additional events this year. Vettel, who will be replaced by Carlos Sainz in 2021, handed the car over to Leclerc in the afternoon.

The test gave both drivers their first taste of real-world driving on a race circuit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which delayed the start of the season by four months. The team will have rehearsed the new practices and protocols in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus at F1’s return races, which includes social distancing and the wearing of face masks at all times.

A short video of Vettel driving the car around the circuit was posted to social media.

Last week, Leclerc had taken the team’s 2020 car on a short demo run through the streets of Maranello, the location of its F1 headquarters, to its test facility at Fiorano.

The season will start at a behind-closed-doors Austrian Grand Prix on July 5.

Ferrari shared an image of its car carrying the hashtag #WeRaceAsOne, F1’s new initiative aimed at tackling racism and inequality in motorsport. It will also pay tribute to health workers and those who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic this year.

Ferrari is the fifth team to complete some kind of test ahead of the new season. Mercedes and Renault have also tested 2018 machinery at private tests, while Racing Point rolled out its 2020 car at Silverstone last week for a filming day. McLaren gave both its drivers a test in Formula 3 machinery supplied by Carlin last week.

Alpha Tauri will test at Italian circuit Imola on Wednesday.

F1 currently has eight European races confirmed through July, August and September but has contingency plans in place to add as many events to the calendar as possible. Several reports have suggested Mugello is a backup. The 3.259-mile circuit has never hosted an F1 grand prix.

F1 will confirm its final schedule, which it has promised to be between 15-18 races and should include races in the U.S, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and China, in the coming weeks.

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