Formula E and WEC champion Buemi set for Red Bull F1 test return

Formula E champion and Toyota LMP1 racer Sebastien Buemi will test a Formula 1 car for the first time in more than two years this week, with Red Bull

Formula E and WEC champion Buemi set for Red Bull F1 test return

Buemi will drive a modified version of Red Bull's 2015 RB11 in a Pirelli tyre test at Mugello, as the Italian manufacturer starts its four-month test programme to develop next year's wider F1 tyres.

Ferrari and Mercedes are the other two teams involved, with the schedule incorporating 10 sessions spread over 24 days in total.

F1's 2017 tyres: The key questions and Pirelli's plans

Work starts on Monday and Tuesday with Ferrari testing wet tyres at Fiorano, with Sebastian Vettel at the wheel of a modified SF15-T, followed by Haas driver and former Scuderia reserve Esteban Gutierrez.

The duo fit Pirelli's brief perfectly as it requested either race or reserve drivers take part, as they will be able to provide the necessary feedback.

Set to the start testing of slick compounds on Wednesday and Thursday, Buemi, however, goes against the grain as he has not driven an F1 car since the first day of a two-day in-season test in Barcelona in May 2014.

The 27-year-old spent three years with Toro Rosso from 2009-11 before being demoted to Red Bull reserve for the next four seasons.

Although Buemi has considerable motorsport experience, winning the World Endurance Championship and Formula E titles in recent years, his limited running in F1 machinery during that time is not what Pirelli was looking for.

Assessing the initial four days of testing this week, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery told Autosport: "It's certainly an important phase of getting ready for next season.

"There are a couple of elements we need to check first: have the teams got a car that is representative?

"We'll need to understand in detail the downforce levels we're actually achieving with this, and the adaptation of the previous generation car to match what should be the downforce levels of 2017.

"That's quite important for us to understand early on, if we've met that target.

"The first time you put a new product onto the tarmac is an interesting moment because you've done all your work, your simulations, indoor testing and you've got a lot of data.

"But there's no substitute for getting that feedback from the driver and the car."

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