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Silverstone Young Drivers Test under threat

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Sebastian Vettel in action in the Red Bull RB8 during last month's Mugello testing © Sutton Images
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In-season testing made its Formula One return this season, following several years of complaints that teams and young drivers alike had been disadvantaged by the lack of non-race running.

But following the test that took place in Mugello at the beginning of last month, the great and the good of the F1 paddock criticised the event as an expensive exercise that delivered little of real benefit.

One in-season test that has long had the backing of all and sundry is the Young Driver Test which traditionally takes place towards the end of the season. This season saw plans made to allow teams to run their YDT at Silverstone following the British Grand Prix should they choose to do so, allowing those teams with smaller budgets to cut costs without missing out on valuable track time.

It appears that the Silverstone test has now been scuppered, thanks to a lack of circuit availability. The Northamptonshire race track is scheduled to play host to Formula Student in the days immediately following the British Grand Prix, a scheduling conflict that appears to have passed the F1 world by.

As yet there is no news from those teams who had planned - and budgeted - to run at Silverstone regarding their revised YDT schedule. But it looks as though all 12 teams might yet be affected by alterations to the YDT, as this weekend reports emerged that the late-season Abu Dhabi test was also at risk of going the way of the dodo.

Because a number of teams have not budgeted for Abu Dhabi, it could yet be the case that the YDT is moved wholesale to a European track - possibly Jerez - that will allow all 12 teams to test without disadvantaging any one outfit financially.

All is not lost with regard to the Silverstone test, however - the Formula One Teams' Association is working with the circuit to see what can be done to save the summer session.