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Mercedes to complete private Silverstone test ahead of return to racing

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Mercedes has scheduled two days of private testing for its drivers at Silverstone next week as the team aims to prepare for Formula One's return to racing next month.

Race drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton will drive a day each in a two-year old Mercedes F1 car, with Bottas on track on Tuesday and Hamilton on track on Wednesday. The circuit will be closed to the public both days.

The team will run through simulated race weekends and pit stop practice while also using the time to experience working under F1's new regulations aimed at preventing the potential spread of coronavirus at a race weekend. Among those regulations will be social distancing when possible and the wearing of personal protective equipment, including face masks.

It will be the first time the two drivers have got behind the wheel of an F1 car since the final week of pre-season testing in early March and represents an opportunity for them to test themselves against the G-forces experienced in F1 after such a long period without racing.

F1's regulations do not allow for private in-season tests with current cars, but teams are allowed to run cars that are two years old or more on special tyres. Mercedes' 2018 car, known as the W09, won the drivers' championship in Hamilton's hands as well as that year's constructors' championship with a total of 11 wins.

It is among the fastest F1 cars of all time in terms of outright lap time, as it was built under the previous set of aerodynamic regulations, which featured fewer restrictions on front wing design.

It has been kept in running order by the team and is usually used for private young driver tests.