Wednesday, May 8, 2013

F1 teams voting on extra testing

Eddie Irvine testing around Fiorano
Formula 1 teams are about to participate in a vote today to back more extensive in-season testing in the sport according to reports in a German magazine. 

McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale is reported to have said Ferrari – a strong opponent of Formula 1′s now tight test restrictions – has found four allies that will vote in favour of relaxing the ban.

“Of course if you have a track in your back yard and the equipment, you want to open the garage and send out a driver,” he reportedly said.

Neale made clear that McLaren opposes the move, insisting there were “very good reasons” for introducing the ban several years ago for mainly financial reasons.

“Those circumstances have not changed,” he added.

By the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, teams were running two seperate teams of personnel, one for races and one for testing. The strain on finances and the economic downturn lead to new regulations with the sole aim of cutting costs. 

The regulations were amended in 2008 to limit each team to 30,000km of testing per year, with the majority done during multi-team tests (normally three days in duration) at FIA-approved racetracks around Europe, where any team could elect to pay a portion of the costs and to bring its cars. In addition, teams also operated closed sessions where they could trial top-secret future machinery or innovations. 

The testing allowance was slashed to 15,000km in 2009, with in-season testing banned, effectively limiting teams to just a handful of pre-season tests in February and March. This has turned the three hours of practice on Grand Prix Fridays into highly valuable track time, as it is now teams’ only real opportunity to track test in-season developments.

2012 saw the teams visit Mugello in the middle of the season, but a repeat of the mid season test was vetoed last year after most teams agreed that they did not learn that much more about their cars when compared to the amount of money they spent on the the test session.

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