• Mercedes Returns to the Track for F1 Protocol Run-Through

Both drivers were in action at Silverstone as the team practised new protocols and procedures ahead of Formula One’s return...

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team was back on track on Tuesday and Wednesday for a two-day test at the Silverstone Circuit.

The purpose of the test was to run through and practise the new protocols and procedures put in place, in order to make sure the team is operating safely when racing returns next month in Austria.

Valtteri Bottas was behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, from the 2018 season, on Tuesday with Lewis Hamilton then taking over on Wednesday.

It was the first time a Mercedes F1 car had hit the track since the final day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the 28 February.

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Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director:

"We were at Silverstone with the race team and the race drivers, principally looking at how we are going to get ready to go racing in Austria, making sure all the procedures to prevent any risk of transmitting the Coronavirus can work with operating an F1 car. Team members are permitted to wear masks on any occasion where we can't maintain a two-metre distance. Also, in and around the garage, we have separated everyone so there is good spacing between them. Obviously, the difficult bit is on the car when the mechanics are doing the turnaround. That's when it is hardest to keep the distance between everyone. Coming here to the test, everyone got tested and we know the race team doesn't have anyone with the virus. We are quite confident with the procedures put in place, we can keep the team safe and hopefully the sport can continue, and we will have some successful races come next month." 

Valtteri Bottas:

"I think it was a very helpful test for the team. Especially with everyone being out of racing and the garage environment for a long time. There are obviously many new regulations and protocols and we need to be cautious with different things, for everyone's health. So, it was good to practise those and I think we learned a lot - how to do things more efficiently and make sure everyone is going to be safe when we get back to racing. Obviously, I loved being back in the car and I can't wait for Austria and to be back racing soon."

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Lewis Hamilton:

"Honestly, it felt great to be back in the car. A lot of fun! When you leave the garage for the first time, you get this buzz. It doesn't matter how many years you have been doing it, it always feels fresh and new. Obviously, we were running an older car here, but it still feels fantastic. We got through a solid programme. Valtteri's day was dry but mine started off wet. It was quite a greasy Silverstone track but obviously I grew up with that kind of weather, so I'm used to it. I was able to get a good feel for the car. It didn't feel like I'd ever left the water, so that's a positive. Every time you have a big break, you always wonder whether you can still drive. It's a good feeling to know I can and I feel fit and ready."