Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has criticized plans to hold Formula 1's young driver test at Silverstone in July as "nonsense," and hopes bad weather forces it to be cancelled.
F1's young driver test is being split into two venues this year, with 10 teams currently electing to run immediately after the British Grand Prix and only Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso opting to run in Abu Dhabi in November. But Boullier is deeply critical of the Silverstone decision, which he thinks only makes sense from a cost perspective.
"It's a bit disappointing, to be honest," Boullier said. "I am a supporter of young drivers, and for me Abu Dhabi [in November] was the perfect scenario. The young kids finish the season, and you can organize this test in a hot, nice place, with nice variety. So I was actually a bit angry with the decision to bring it earlier to Silverstone.
"We had a strong discussion, let's say, and definitely I was against this, especially for the reasons raised. For me it is absolute nonsense to have a young driver test in July when all the young kids are in the middle of the season and focused on [other] racing and championships. We cannot disturb this. It is completely the wrong timing.
"You also have another issue: bringing this test in the middle of the season you have to consider there will be a different point of view for the team; and as a team it's another opportunity to develop the car and bring some parts to test."
Despite his criticisms of the Silverstone plan, Boullier says he had no choice but to sign his team up for it rather than Abu Dhabi because of cost and staffing reasons.
"Between choosing to go to Abu Dhabi for young drivers, which is very important for me, and Silverstone, I obviously have to choose what it best for the team and that is Silverstone," he said. "But actually I would like it to rain, so we will go back to the original schedule – which for me is the normal one."
Under the testing agreement that teams had signed up to, teams can withdraw from Silverstone and switch to the Abu Dhabi test if there is a threat of it being disturbed by poor weather. However, a team will be forced to commit to Silverstone if its car leaves the pitlane at the three-day test.