Should in-season testing return? (Poll)

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Circuit testing during an F1 season has been almost entirely banned since the start of last season

But now several prominent figures in F1 have voiced a desire to bring back in-season testing in the near future.

Would increasing the amount of testing allowed be good for the sport? Or are there better ways to use expensive track time than testing?


Ferrari’s recent use of a ‘filming day’ to run the latest upgrades for their F10 provoked discussion over the revival of testing.

McLaren team principal and FOTA president Martin Whitmarsh put the case for it:

A little bit of testing in F1 would be the right thing. We had to take significant measures, given the crisis that our economy and F1 had, but I think now as we can see and feel signs of the economy improving, then hopefully we can go back to testing.

F1 is about running cars. I think drivers enjoy testing, the teams enjoy going testing and developing cars, so I think it is a good thing to do and progressively, as the health and well-being of the teams develop, then hopefully we can do it.
Martin Whitmarsh

Yesterday HRT’s Geoff Willis urged the teams to find a way of making testing a regular part of the F1 calendar:

While it was sensible to stop unrestricted testing, a better balance would have been to have certain fixed testing times common to all teams and wrap up a commercial operation around it.

You have to remember that there are often fairly large gaps when there is no F1 in Europe and we could have one test in Spain, one in Italy, one in the UK, something like that.
Geoff Willis


The most obvious downside of increasing testing is the cost. As Willis explained, even a small increase in the amount of testing could have a disproportionately large effect on teams’ budgets:

Unless the calendar was particularly sympathetic [it] would mean going back to requiring an additional test team. Unless you can synchronise the calendar and actually use your race team to do the tests, but that might be difficult and would probably take a couple of years to work out.
Geoff Willis

There have also been beneficial effects from the testing ban. Teams have been much busier during race weekend practice sessions, as they are now their best opportunity to try new parts.

Previously it was not unusual for some teams to sit out most or even all of some practice sessions at race weekends. Where’s the sense in having cars pounding around a deserted track for hours then hiding in their garages a few days later when thousands of spectators have paid to see them?

I say

I think it’s an encouraging sign that teams feel they are able to increase the amount of activity they are involved in during a season. But I don’t think it automatically follows that more testing is the best thing to spend it on.

Given a choice between more testing and more races, and I’ll always pick more races.

Allowing a small amount of testing would be worthwhile – with certain restrictions. For example, teams may only use drivers not currently active in the world championship, and all the teams have to test together and only at venues not currently used for F1 races.

But I can’t see any value in going back to the days of teams covering more ground in testing than they do on race weekends.

You say

More races or more test sessions? Or both? Cast your vote and leave a comment below.

Do you want more racing or more testing?

  • I wouldn't like to see more races or more test sessions in Formula 1 (7%)
  • I would like to see more races and more test sessions in Formula 1 (49%)
  • I would like to see more races but not more test sessions in Formula 1 (19%)
  • I would like to see more test sessions but not more races in Formula 1 (26%)

Total Voters: 2,099

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Read more: Helmet-cam video lap of Fiorano with Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F10

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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105 comments on “Should in-season testing return? (Poll)”

  1. Yep agree, if testing is to come back it should be limited and focused on young drivers, so we don’t have the situations we have had in the last 12 months where Rookie drivers are learning to drive an F1 car during the race.

    Testing is important, it helps the engineers but more importantly it provides an opportunity for the ‘next generation’ to gain an education before stepping in on race day.

  2. I think that teams that havent quite perfected their package at the beginning of the season can play catch up and close the gap to the leaders. For example, teams like Virgin, HRT and Lotus would be more competitive if they had the option of testing this season. I’m not saying that the top teams wouldn’t get stronger, but it gives all the teams a chance of developing their cars, and hopefully there would be more than just one or two cars dominating an entire season.

    1. I think your perfectly right on this Todfod.

      Also the ideas of Willis (from a small team) are nice. Make it a nice show, with test drivers driving the cars and a healty part of the grid joining for team meetings and mainly fan moments.
      Have Michael, Vettel, Sutil, Glock and Rosberg moderate a fan event in Germany (Lausitsring or maybe the A1 ring in Austria), Lewis, Jenson, Webber, and maybe Heikki in the UK (not sure what track). Have Alonso, Pedro, Jaime there in spain (at Motorland Aragon, or make it Portmao instead), make Liuzzi, Massa and Buemi be there in Italy, or even better in the south of france.

      Sure the testing should be limited and maybe allow more running for those further back in the standings. Have FOTA pay for the event and make money with tickets (put please not too expensive) and fan events. Combine it with road show events.

      That would

  3. The problem is that with increased testing and races teams and drivers will be very tired. And lets not forget that teams have to take alot of componets to each test. I think that F1 should have 20 races, and a little of in-season testing. Also great article Kieth!

    1. Ever heard of test drivers Nixon?
      Wonder where you got the thinking that teams will be very tired too! Haven’t they done it before for a long time before the last couple of years? Aren’t they yearning for it?

      1. Many years ago they would have had a completely different ‘testing’ team that sole purpose was to test and develop the car. Getting rid of this second team is what has helped reduce the costs associated with testing. If they were to start testing again they would probably have to use the main team (I think this is what Geoff Willis refers to in his interview), which would in fact tire everyone out except of course the ‘test driver’ as you’ve mentioned (and I’m sure Nixons heard of them).

  4. I think testing could be added onto the race weekend, but had to be completed by non-race drivers (or drivers in the first season in the short term, as we still have some very inexperienced drivers on the grid). This would probably see some of the GP2 and GP3 guys getting F1 car time, as they are there as support races in a good percentage of the races.

    I think we are getting quite close to the maximum number of races in a season without requiring a crazy number of back-to-back races. I can see 24 being an upper limit that wouldn’t be exceeded, with 20-22 more likely.

    1. Spot on, the MotoGP guys do it, stay over Sunday night after a GP and test on the Monday, reserve drivers only.

    2. Absolutely, if tests could be tacked onto the end of a race day (Monday / Tuesday) then all the kit, people and cars are already in place. This seems (to me) to be a good way of regaining testing AND keeping costs manageable.

      The hardcore fans can even make a longer weekend out of it…

      1. This is by far the best solution. Pretty much everyone is at the venue so costs would be reduced and it would give the 3rd/reserve drivers the chance to learn most of the tracks should they be called upon later in their career.

        Why F1 doesn’t offer this is slightly baffling.

        1. the problem with post race testing is that it defeats the point of testing. Parts are tested to check their worth and reliability, if it works it stays, if it doesnt work a new part is brought over for the next day. Testing needs to be done in the weeks leading up to a race, to acertain a parts worthyness for the race.

        2. HounslowBusGarage
          1st July 2010, 15:45

          But this couldn’t happen with back-to-back race weekends, could it?
          I think it’s a reasonable idea, but what would happen in a situation like Red Bull after Turkey or Valencia? One car written off. Or Sauber after Canada with both cars out of action?
          Would you suggest teams took three or evewn four cars to a race/test weekend, just in case?

          1. Well rather than the day after a race, why not the Thursday of the week of the race. Let the fans who have race tickets turn up at no extra charge.

          2. Whether a test day was before or after a race weekend the team would rebuild the car between the test and the Grand Prix meeting because of the limited number of engines and gearboxes available during a season.

            True you may end up with a chassis being written off during a race and so not available for any Monday tests, but that doesn’t happen that often and the same argument could be used as a reason not to have tests before a race, although it would probably be less likely to happen. In pre-season testing the teams are currently allowed to run one car a day anyway at the moment.

          3. Why not on fridays? Have the third drivers pound around doing a session or two, before the guys from the main game do 1st & 2nd practice. Everyone and everything is already there, and the third drivers have little to do on a GP weekend other than PR.

  5. Yeh I think that covers most ground. Testing and more racing! If you do the tests at venues that don’t get races, then that’s great for the fans. Also, using the test driver or a young driver would be a positive step.

  6. As the teams already bring a complete spare car to the races. As witnessed at Monaco with Ferrari being able to build a new one for Alonso after he put his original one into the barriers.
    Why not use this ‘spare’ in FP1 and FP2, it would also get round the problem of the back-up driver not having any track time.
    It would probably need about 3 extra engines and two extra gearboxes per team for the season. And one of each set of tyres per team per race weekend.
    Garage space shouldn’t be a problem because, in days gone by, each driver used to have two cars.

  7. UneedAFinn2Win
    1st July 2010, 8:31

    I’d like to answer, but the poll is for two different questions, not “Should in season testing return” as the headline suggests.

    It will make car development faster and safer, give test drivers and/or young talent a chance to get to grips with their future workplace, making their development as a driver faster and safer.
    I can see how separate test teams are financially implausible for the modern era, so add a Thursday or a Monday on selected races in the calendar, maybe every 3-4 races.

  8. Would it not be possible to turn up to some races 4 days earlier than a normal race weekend and use those as test days?

  9. I went to a test session at Silverstone, it was dead cheap for the three days and it was quite (compared to the 2008 GP)… bring back the testing!

  10. In-season testing should return, look to BrawnGP, they had by far the best car, created a gap in the first 7 GPs that was big enough for the world title. Not really exciting.

    And please, no more races. If there is a race every week u don’t look forward to it as much as now. I would rather have only 15 races on the really great circuits, than 20 races with all the crap like Valencia, Abu Dhabi, etc.

    1. Not really exciting? The way that Red Bull came back at them and Vettel nearly pinched the title (and arguably would have done if he’d not dropped points in Turkey and elsewhere)?

      I also think that 18 races, 20 at the absolute maximum, is enough. I have Sky+ so I can record the races and qualifying and watch it when I want, but it gets to the point when I simply don’t have time to watch everything; F1 isn’t my only hobby!

      In my opinion you don’t attract more ‘casual fans’ by providing more races, you attract them by providing better races, and more ‘story’. Taking cricket as an example: most people don’t pay any attention to it most of the time. But every 3-4 years when England play the Ashes series against the Australians, it’s a big thing and takes over the back pages.

      We currently have two English guys in a British – albeit largely Arab-owned – team first and second in the world championship: beating a German no less! And yet F1 rarely captures the nation’s attention… the last time was probably when ‘Our Nige’ won the title in ’92!

    2. Agreed. I voted for more testing but no more races, and the reason I did that is simply because the season is more than long enough now. The teams need a decent break from the high-pressure environment.

      The testing schedule needs to be a little more flexible. All the teams do not operate to the same rates of updates; they do not work to the same rhythms or timescales. What will be an easy run from the last race to the next testing session and then on to the next race for one team will be a hellish high-pressure week for another team.

      Back-to-back race weekends are already pretty heavy duty stuff for most teams.

      Needs careful planning if it’s to work well.

  11. I voted “I would like to see more races and more test sessions in Formula 1” as I think the in season testing will allow the teams who have started on a back foot to catch up. But the testing should be limited to 3-5 days only & as Keith pointed out the reserved driver will be able to take part only.

  12. A certain amount of limited in-season testing would seem sensible. Even three two day tests would give the engineers to put some real-world meat on those wind-tunnel figures, and – IMO – would benefit the new teams more than the established ones, as they have less historical data, and most likely less data processing power and wind-tunnel capabilities.

    We don’t want Ferrari testing 200 days a year at Mugello again, but there is definitely a place for some testing.

    Another possibility is that if teams had 2-3 test days, they could be obliged to give a rookie driver a seat for at least one day. The grid is over-crowded with very experienced drivers who have never quite made it to the top echelons and are being paid millions… there are younger drivers out there who deserve a shot.

  13. Matt G (lotus fan)
    1st July 2010, 9:07

    I think if they do bring testing back then it should mostly go to the teams test/reserve driver, however I would limit the amount of testing to only a few times a year, perahps change the calendar so the there are a couple of days of testing during the longer 3 or 4 week gaps. Also the test track shouldn’t be on a race track that is on the calendar.

    One thing I would also like to see is the first practice on Friday should be given to the test drivers and the other two drivers drive for the other practices.

  14. Just not too many tests like it used to be.
    Just a few after the race, like with Motogp.
    The teams are in the right place, let them use the circuit for 2 to 3 days and it won’t cost that much!

    1. I agree, this is what I was going to post as well.

    2. Make it for only the European races though as the teams want to get back to base and respray the cars which takes 3 days

      1. I would have it the other way around. European fans can see multiple races during the year because counrties are so close but overseas fans like Australia and Canada and others only get it once a year, I think they deserve to be able to see some more action.

  15. I agree wholeheartedly with your proposal that testing should be carried out by drivers not currently involved in and at circuits not currently used for the World Championship. It allows F1 to further diversify its audience and allows the test/reserve drivers to stay sharp.

    in addition to this, the additional track time would allow smaller teams would be able to try out new parts and solve mechanical gremlins (like the hydraulic problems that hurt Lotus), and the faster teams would be able to optimise their packages. I see no problem in allowing a limited amount of testing.

    1. Aren’t the hydraulic problems that all the new teams are having something to do with the fact that the Xtrac gearbox (Customer gearbox) they use isn’t very reliable in this department?

      1. I think it is, from what Willis said the other day, it is pretty clear this is those guys main weakness (X-track was brougt in by Mosley along with the cosworth deal).

        HRT is not going to build its own gearbox, so will hope Xtrack improves, or they choose another supplier (another team?). Virgin might build their own (they did the casing already) and Lotus will to the same i expect, or get one with another engine deal.

        1. That’s quite right. I didn’t go into detail ad nauseam because it’s not really necessary for my point. But these are precisely the sorts of gremlins that you sort out during testing.

  16. They should do testing Moto GP style. On a monday after the race at the same track, but with young drivers. Kills two birds with one stone. Low cost and young drivers get a go.

  17. If testing is to return I would prefer it done in the way MotoGP do it by testing on the Monday after a few races. Of all the options I would have thought that this would be the cheapest.

    Due to the lack of running for new drivers it should be limited to drivers not currently active in F1.

    I would prefer more races to separate testing events but personally I wouldn’t like to see the race calendar increase much more, maybe just to 20 races.

    I don’t think the testing ban has adversely affected the racing, but is has meant less opportunities for new drivers to gain experience before becoming a race driver.

  18. I’m not sure. I liked testing and the ability to go very cheaply but I also like the teams all trying new parts at a gp weekend with some teams slower than others

  19. spanky the wonder monkey
    1st July 2010, 9:44

    i voted no to both.

    however, i would like to see performance related testing introduced. something along the lines of additional testing for teams that say fail to score points in 3 consecutive GP’s getting an additional 1 day test allowance. the idea being to get the ‘slower’ teams on an accelerated development curve.

  20. first and foremost, although i love to watch the races and quali, i think 19 weekends a year is pushing the limit of how many weekend’s a year I’d like to have overtaken by F1.

    as for testing, I like the idea, and I think only testing can prepare new drivers to become developers like they should be. and testing would give the new teams a faster rate of ascent to catch up to the established teams. lets face it… they need the miles… pronto.

    As for costs, this is a catch 22. although setting up a commercial project around testing is the best thing to do in terms of aiding the cost of the circuit rental, the costs to the team are almost impossible to recoup.

    This is why I suggest Thursday as a Research and development practice section day where the spare, test and rookie drivers can get some miles.

    1. I’m not done yet…

      the cars are there, most of the engineers are there, and the spare drivers are there anyway and most of them don’t get to turn a wheel all weekend.

      this was they all get to work on thirsday as well

      i understand this would increase costs dramatically if it were to be done at every race this is why you restrict these Thursday tests to the European GP’s where lugging around the extra material would cost the minimum…i presume..

      let me know what you think

      1. one more thing, Mondays as mentioned above would also work in this concept…

  21. Testing MUST return.

    If cost is a problem then testing sessions should be held on monday and tuesday at every circuit.

    1. exactly. the Monday and Tuesday AFTER each race weekend so no track-based advantage is gained from the experience except for the next year’s race.

  22. Agree to bring back test sessions if the FIA wants to put back that 107% rule, then we need the small teams to catch up with the pace. Either way, the big teams can manage with or without test sessions because they can develop their car faster and with bigger budgets. Fair enough to all.

  23. It looks like we’re getting more races anyway and at some point there has to be a limit to that. The teams will be well aware of the potential new additions as well as those already confirmed (S Korea, India, America) so if they feel they can test too then I don’t have a problem with it.

    The testing ban has one really good point bar cost cutting and that is that the development race can amke teams stutter at times. Ferrari and RBR took forever with their F-ducts esp Ferrari who wasted a lot of resources too so it brings a bit of a surprise.

    I do think testing should come back perhaps very restricted though or if they rule it out then they should scrap the stupid ‘filming day’ loop holes as (and I’m pinching their own over-used phrase here) it goes against the spirit of the rules. The rules shouldn’t have spirit, they should be clear and pretty much rock solid.

    Testing would help the new teams, it could make the cars more reliable or even more safe -Sauber’s collapsing wings- and with testing time maybe teams would get slightly more creative with their money and designs esp when costs are being massively reduced anyway.

    I don’t think we can just say le;t the news teams just test as that isn’t fair. It should be all or nothing in my opinion and it would probably create an outrage esp with Ferrari if only certain teams could test.

    The one big reason I think testing should come back though is the rookies. Everyone’s saying how rubbish Petrov and Hulkenberg are and saying Schumi’s lost it
    but they would be a lot better if they got some time in the cars. They’re doing a damn fine job in my opinion, particularly the rookies, they can’t jump in the car and do a Lewis Hamilton. Look at jaime last year and the first time he turned the wheel of an F1 car was in a race weekend? How safe is that? In the past rookies ahve really shone but that was after hundreds of miles of testing and the new boys just don’t have a chance. I also think it would be good for the future generations of drivers, if rookies don’t impress they get chucked out the boat quick as anything and they may end up just going with experience esp the smaller teams. I know F1 should be hard to get into but that’s taking it a bit far.

    Perhaps there should be two debates 1/ if testing for inexperienced F1 drivers should be brought back say usuing old 2008 cars but let them use the current tyres as so much performance comes from them and 2/ whether development testing should be brought back and if so, should it be restricted and by how much.

  24. I think testing should have a set limit, depending on how well you finish the season. So if you finish first in the constructors you get less testing time, finish last you get the most available, whatever its set too.

    Obviously teams could abuse this and deliberately come last, but would ferrari want to go from top to bottom in alternative seasons, just to win championships?

  25. Why don’t people think of the easiest way for in-season testing? 4-8 hours in the same circuit Following the Race sunday, either Monday or Tue, and in circuits that can afford (no road races can afford). I think Indycar or Nascar, something follows this. Why don’t F1 get it? Easiest answer right in front of their eyes.

  26. Darth Raiden
    1st July 2010, 10:11

    I think testing should return, look at last year when Massa was injured and Badoer just couldn’t get up to speed in the car as he never had a chance to drive it before his first race.

    The test days should be at circuits that are not used in the F1 calender mind you.

  27. It’s always a pity when the testing rules prevent teams from running a current car at events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

    I’d like to see one or two big test events (like the one they used to have at Monza in August) for all the teams, but no more than that.

  28. Wasn’t free track testing abolished to avoid costs increase?…

    Are they really cheaper now?…

    Or was it really a measure taken to stop Ferrari/Schumacher domination, as it was the absurd «endurance» tyres politics at 2005?…

    I’m curious about it…

  29. ultimately, these cars aren’t standard, they are designed to some quite frankly bizarre restrictions and rules compared to road cars, with little or no precedent on their relative performance other than previous interpretations of the rules. With no testing, you’re basically creating a machine with wheels to travel at speed with only experience to draw on for inspiration. Given that, it is hardly a surprise that the new teams are languishing at the back, and also no surprise that the most experienced designers/engineers are the ones who are able to move things forward using purely theoretical means, again drawing on experience.

    I guess what i’m saying is that these cars are designed for one purpose and one purpose only, and with no testing, it is almost a waste of money that they are only raced for 19×2 hours plus each weekend’s testing and qualifying sessions. F1 drivers have probably the least amount of time behind the wheel of any professional motorsport, and that is a shame. If i for example was racing an Aston Martin GT1 as my job, i could buy myself a road car which would handle in a similar way, or even drive my very GT1 car around whichever circuit i like whenever i like and thus become a better driver and more at one with the car. You never used to hear so much complaining from F1 drivers in the past that they could not find the right balance, or that they’re “going backwards” with their setups as you do these past couple of seasons, and that is for one reason… no testing.

  30. if testing is done on monday after a race, there’s no way things will be ready for back-to-back races. it’s certainly unlikely to happen on a street circuit.

    what is certainly likely is that it will cost a fortune to produce and ship the additional parts, test equipment, personnel, tires and other consumables to every race. i doubt even merc has the budget to support that, so you’re looking at full-blown testing for the 3 big spenders only, and 50% capacity for everyone else.

    1. there are no back to back races anymore.. minimum is two week gap

    2. I think what most have in mind when they suggest testing on a Monday after the race is in the style of MotoGP, it is not after every race only a select few each season.

      When the calendar is decided they would take this into account so there wouldn’t be a race the weekend after a Monday test session, also when the circuits are chosen some circuits wouldn’t even be considered either because of their location, the fact they are a street circuit or it might not be the best circuit to test on.

      Of all the ways to bring back in season testing I believe this would be the cheapest and fairest method.

  31. Many here seem to like the idea of testing after the race or at specially organised testing events. Much as I do like these idea’s, I have to say, I don’t think with so many races that there is time.

    At some track’s it simple isn’t possible, Monaco and Singapore. Long distance travel, like to and from North America and short time between races, Barcelona and Monaco, rules out other tracks. Then throw in a couple of wild cards like Volcano’s and air traffic controllers.

    The only gap this year is Hungary 01/08/2010 and Belgium 29/08/2010, which is when the teams are due to have there summer break, Of which I believe will be like last year with a full two week shutdown.

  32. If the teams can afford it without borrowing the capital, then they should be allowed as long as it is level across the board. It would be unfair for Ferrari to run a silly amount of laps and an HRT to run a few because of cost.
    I don’t see a problem spending the money if you have it, just don’t go beyond your means, that’s why the economy got screwed in the first place

  33. Geoff Willies *childish giggle*

  34. Geoff Willis also said:

    From a purely engineering point of view, if we don’t have testing we have to compensate with rig testing and analysis. The money you don’t spend on testing you spend on that.

    So if we bring in a couple of test days, does he really think that the teams will cut costs on these other methods? I don’t think so. You can’t use cost as an excuse.

    I like the problems that teams face now with testing parts. They turn up at race weekends and things can go wrong. The element of risk of running a new part is increased and adds another factor to the GP weekend.

    Bringing back test days will reduce this risk and make new parts less risky. Like this new exhaust part they are all testing with worries about heating up the bodywork, or the different F-ducts etc.

    Sorry Mr Willis but I like it as it is.
    Also, I think there are enough races in F1 at the moment. So that puts me in the minority vote.

  35. I liked the 2008 season most in this aspect.

    Teams reached a particular circuit on Tuesday instead of Thursday, and conducted tests for 2 days just before the Grand Prix weekend.

    This allowed for maximum increase in testing mileage with minimum increase in costs. In addition, fans could see F1 cars in action for 5 days instead of just 3 days.

    They should bring this back for as many circuits (that have multiple configurations, so that team can test parts for the upcoming weekend as well as future weekends) as possible. Off the top of my mind, I can think of Barcelona, Bahrain, Paul Ricard – which could be the new French Grand Prix as well :) – perhaps even Monza and Hungaroring to test for very low and very high downforce parts.

  36. Guys, keep in mind the logistical side of things as well. At many races already during the podium ceremony teams are packing up their gear. Also remember how often you hear about some team’s new bits arrive only on saturday. Teams are always at the limits of everything. I don’t see weekend extension to monday as a solution. I don’t see testing re-introduction in its previous form as a solution as well. My suggestion is that teams should be provided with a lot more of track time on friday and maybe on saturday also. For example, let them have most of friday as a test day, no mileage limits, additional rubber provided. Start earlier in the morning and then take a few hour break somewhere during the day, to allow some support races to commence. No testing team necessary, no dramatic costs increase. And it’s not necessary to do so during all races.

    1. This is generally my feeling too; have Fridays as full test days rather than extending everyone’s stay at the circuit unnecessarily.

      Also, as I said yesterday, I would cut down the pre-season testing mileage significantly. Right now it more than doubles the distance actually raced over the course of a season, which is just silly.

  37. Umar Farooq Khawaja
    1st July 2010, 12:13

    I voted for the “more test, but not more racing” option. The reason is that as things stand, it is very hard for the teams that are behind at the beginning of the year to try out new ideas and build the car throughout the year.

    I would like for there to be more opportunities for teams to be able to work with the car, without having to fight for points.

  38. Why not allow testing on a few select race weekends on Wednesday or Thursday, or the Mon / Tues following the race… No extra travel costs for the teams would be necessary. Also, the teams could gather additional data for those tracks. And I’m not talking about testing at Turkey or Bahrain. I’m talking about 2 or 3 test dates, maybe one at Silverstone, one in Italy, and one in Spain….where people really love their F1 and would pack the stands.

  39. 20 races.

    Testing after races 5, 10, 15.

    I like order.

    1. Don’t think you thought that through, plus it’s boring that way.

      race 5 Barcelona, Monaco the next w/end
      Race 10 Silverstone, that’s ok
      Race 15 Singapore, you wouldn’t want to drive your car in Singapore on a Monday.

      1. You are correct I didn’t think about Race 15 being Singapore that wouldn’t work too well.

        But who said the races have to stay as they are?

        Nothing wrong with testing at Silverstone (that would be great and local for most teams) or Barcelona (perfectly OK for test, but not so good for racing).


        1. PS Make race 15 in Italy job done. :-)

  40. More races and limited group team testing for sure.

    And turning the testing into a marketing event would be something fans and sponsors would enjoy, something American fans could relate to as well.

    The testing should only be conducted by each team’s “test drivers”.

    Having Nick Heidfeld sitting around watching all season is a huge waste, he should be out there racing in GPs! If not, then let him test updates to the W01,

  41. How about an extra practice session on thursday?

  42. I can foresee the result of this one easily.

    For some reason there’s a romantic link between testing and “the great days of F1” in the minds of many F1 fans. Never mind this is probably the best F1 season since I’ve started watching F1 (and the greatness of 2005 had nothing to do with having testing, as all the other seasons show). Then there’s the obsession of “F1 should have the best F1 cars possible” – ironically, extra testing would make F1 cars improve at a faster rate so as to need radical rule changes that restrict their performance sooner than otherwise.

    It’s a rubbish idea. Even a small amount of testing would allow the bigger teams to extend the gap to the midfield.

    Oh, and Martin?

    F1 is about running cars. I think drivers enjoy testing

    I’m pretty sure Hamilton said once that he didn’t mind extra races because “we’d only be testing” – doesn’t sound like he enjoys it too much!

  43. Agree: Testing should return, on a limited basis and only with test/reserve drivers or young up-and-comers.

  44. Willis has the right idea. Make it a fan-event, so the teams can get some revenue to offset the added costs. To draw more fans, you can give an award to the team that tops the timesheets the most in the tests. Maybe a fancy pennant to hang in the garage; or maybe they get to ignore one drive-through penalty during a race at the time of their choosing.

    1. Rob Gallagher
      1st July 2010, 14:47

      Your idea of making it more affordable with fans is a good idea but the idea of ignoring drive-throughs is terrible, perhaps an extra set of each tyre for saturday and sunday to the driver/team who is fastest. But some would argue this is unfair and the reward shouldn’t have any affect on competition.

    2. There shouldn’t be any reward for fastest time, it is just testing not competition. True some teams may like the ego boost of topping the timing sheets but it shouldn’t mean anything more that.

      Testing should be about seeing if new parts or settings work or not and giving track time to drivers, if there were any actual awards teams would approach testing differently.

  45. maybe there could be some sort of system where each team starts the season already with ten championship points and they can ‘buy’ in-season testing sessions for a certain number of points i.e. 1 test session per point (restrictions on test time limits etc) and if teams want to do more and more testing they then have to use any points they gain during the championship season. So the teams who do the most testing get the benefit of the tests but in loosing points stops them doing unlimited amounts, they then have to work out how much testing is beneficial.

    I dunno I’m just trying to come up with ideas for a compromise

  46. Why not simply add an extra day of free practice on the Thursday of each Grand Prix, with the exceptions of Monaco, Singapore etc. The Thursday could just act as a test day – the team can field the chassis, engine, gearbox and drivers of their choice.

    1. If a testing day is tagged on to a race weekend I feel it would be better if it was after the race on the Monday rather before on the Thursday.

      If it was before the race teams may treat it as extra practice for that specific race, whereas if it was on the Monday they may be liable to treat it as a general testing day.

      Also with extra track time before the race it is more likely that drivers will manage to find the perfect setting for the Grand Prix, some may think that is for the better, but for me it works okay as it is, it is often said that one of the reasons Barcelona doesn’t provide great racing is because of all the testing mileage the teams have completed there, they all have the perfect setup.

  47. Personally, I liked the comment I heard during one of the broadcasts. Before the testing they had some idea of who was doing what kind of pace. Now it’s something of a crap show when they show up. And I like the idea of the uncertainty of who’s faster. Plus, it gives all the more motivation to watch the race weekends as we wait to find out who’s upgrades really make a difference.

    1. *crap shoot not crap show

  48. dyslexicbunny
    1st July 2010, 15:58

    With the 107% rule, teams that don’t race get an extra practice session or two. Perhaps even at that circuit. In theory, they would keep those drivers the next season so it’s extra development for them.

    I also like the idea of in-season testing but only for backup drivers. This would keep them fresh in the event something unfortunate happened. It should not be unlimited and I think should be driven by what the poorest team can afford. I do like the idea of doing it at non-F1 tracks. While it would be cool for everyone to do it at the same track, minimizing travel costs should be most important (suppose a US-based team attempts joining the sport again).

    1. With the 107% rule, teams that don’t race get an extra practice session or two. Perhaps even at that circuit. In theory, they would keep those drivers the next season so it’s extra development for them.

      Excellent idea.

  49. I would like to see testing return on a Monday after each Grand Prix, but there must be some technical difficulties; for example, this would not be possible between back-to-back races would it? I read somewhere that this year, the cars were driven straight from Barcelona to Monaco in between their respective Grands Prix. And spare a thought for the smaller teams…even Williams, a well-established team, couldn’t make enough front wings TWO WEEKS after the originals were destroyed on Sunday in Monaco, how on earth are teams supposed to ship out new ones within 12 hours? You could use planes, but that just undercuts the whole idea of cost-cutting. This will take a couple of years to get right if they do bring back testing, which I hope they do. Fingers crossed.

  50. I don’t get the link between more testing and more races. They can’t really test when having a race. During a race weekend they need to save the engines and do the setup work they need to do for the race. There is very limited time for all that. So there is barely any time to actually do a proper test.

    I think a real multi day test would be much better for the teams to actually test their developments and work out problems with the car.

    On the other hand, they seem to be doing fine right now, so I don’t really see the need to let them spend more time and money on testing.

  51. AS a fairly newcomer to F1 it seems to me that the new teams need more testing than the established teams and at a different point. If there was a test limit either in time (no of days) or distance (so many km run) set at the beginning of each season then teams could decide whether to use their allocation all pre-season or keep some for in season. I cannot believe with all the technology and information available that the FIAand/or FOTA could not keep track of the testing and ensure that teams stick to limits.

  52. From my experience as a championship wining professional racing mechanic plus my own amateur club racing and as over thirty years as a aircraft mechanic working for a major passenger airline, I voted for the no more races abut more testing. Even having to work extra overtime to pay for a test track day to run my small formula car at Sears Point was worth it.

    This is professional motor racing and not having enough testing days is stupid. Ferrari is serious about being professional and have their own track. A professional team that has things break, go wrong or be too slow on a race weekend will have a hard time to getting or keeping sponsors.

    You don’t send a commercial passenger jet on a flight carrying passengers after an overhaul or a flight control surface change without a test flight.

    As far as the teams not going out in practice on race weekends, make a rule that if you don’t use track time by a certain percent (baring accidents or valid broken parts) during P1 or P2 on race weekends, you lose sets of tires during P3 or Qualifying or even the race itself.

    I think a certain amount of testing days at local-to-the-teams-base at non-F1 tracks should be allowed as well as a limited number of Monday or Thursday test days with no restriction on who drives. This would allow teams to compare drivers, develop drivers and sort drivers, as well as the cars, which would give a better show on race weekends. See if Mercedes would stick with Schumacher if Quick Nick Heidfeld was quicker.

    I would also add or include sponsor days where the teams could let sponsors or potential sponsors have a drive in the race car, with throttle limits or whatever, at the test track or the race track on Mondays. Or take last year’s or earlier race car and extend it to include another seat to attract or keep sponsors. That would generate more enthusiasm to open purse strings.

    One more thing, as a sport, Formula One and the FIA could lead the way toward an alternative energy future using hydrogen as a fuel in race cars. If you want to see alternative energy come about sooner before we reach a tipping point that there is no recovery from (in this millennium, any way), give that problem to the F1 teams. If you want your children or grandchildren to enjoy motor racing, you might want to start thinking about it.

    1. This is just not true. Teams were allowed to have as many test days as they wanted and rarely used it to develope drivers but use there existing test drivers who like Ferarri had full time drivers who were never gonna get a race seat.

      I think its great that there is a ban on testing. Teams now have to go on on Fridays and test there cars, and for us punters that spend a fortune traveling half way across the world to see GP weekends get what we pay for.

      Ferarri spent a fortune on a test track which they need for there road car division anyway. McClaren spent the money on a technology centre when Bernie laughed at them and said they should build a test track instead. Wonder whos laughing now.

      Teams are still allowed to test on sponsor days and send on there main drivers to sneak in a little test which is probably better for the sponsors in the first place, otherwise they probably would of used one of there test drivers.

      Alot of top teams use expereinced retired drivers to test and not young and upcoming drivers so I dont bye into your arguments above. I think Mercedas would still stick with Schumacher over anyone because of the hype around his comeback, worth a bucket load of cash from sponsors and media interest.

      1. …and the former two comments are the very reason why I visit this website every day – where else could you get the opposite, yet both very informed, passionate and persuasive comments about Formula 1?…

  53. I like the current uncertainty. Teams turn up with new parts but little time to test them, the result is that it’s hard to predict who’s fastest and who will be best over race distance. I’m sure teams with money to throw at testing want more of it, but it’s not good for the fans: had testing been allowed last year Brawn would have been quickly swamped as the big money teams spent their way out of trouble, that’s great for them but less fun for us. The current restrictions have produced better races.

  54. Looks like I’m in the minority on this one. I think 20-odd races is plenty, and since I actually watch practice sessions if anything more in-season testing will make it worse for me.

    Having said that I would like it if rookies got more testing time to prepare for a race seat, so Keith’s suggestion of using non-championship drivers to test sits well with me.

  55. Yeap definitely need more tests. This is like preparing for the world cup without any friendly matches.

    1. Teams do 15,000km of testing before the season starts. By your logic that’s like playing 14 or 15 friendlies in preparation for the World Cup.

  56. what i don’t think is right is what ferrari did with schumacher at fiorano. Going arround the track everyday developing tyres, having an unfair advantage.
    But a more equal testing i will welcome, to give young drivers a better chance to suceed.

  57. Jarred Walmsley
    1st July 2010, 20:56

    I voted for “I would like to see more test sessions but not more races in Formula 1”

    simply because I think the calender is so full at the moment anyway but the testing would add value and would also give people the opportunity to see F1 that normally couldn’t afford it

    I agree with Keith’s points about only group testing (opt outs allowed of course), and the non-current drivers is also a good idea, as like people have mentioned above last year we had the stupid situation of Grosjean, Alguesari and Kobayashi come into F1 with no F1 experience at all.

    This would also go someway to satisfying Luca as he could run Rossi in the car during these sessions to develop the car, and as an interesting possibility Red Bull could draft Kimi into to test the RB7 (based on 2011) which would satisfy the Kimi fanboys

  58. Wow!!!! Three pages already and its not even a controversy.

    Well my opinion is that a lack of in season testing actually hurts the new teams more than it hinders the established teams. For one, the new teams have been having hydraulic issues consistently, 3 hours of testing on friday doesn’t give them much time to address that issue as they also have to work on setups. But a full day’s test, can have such teams try out multiple solutions and intermittent analysis of the result during the course of the days run.

  59. I would like to see testing permitted only on Thursdays before the race or Mondays afterwards – obviously this is not an easy thing to organise on street venues but wouldn’t significantly add to the cost and should only be open to junior or reserve drivers.

  60. I recon every team should test the days after a certain GP. For example, most teams are based in the UK. So why not have a 3 day test at silverstone after the GP. Same goes after the barcelona race and the italian GP.

    10 days inseason testing should be allowed. And should be for all drivers.

  61. A week of testing during the middle of the European summer like the winter testing done between seasons would be ideal. If they made it into a commercial event (but without Ecclestones overriding presence) they could create a nice atmosphere for fans to come see F1 cars. Small entry fee, onsite camping and the freedom to move about, without having large areas devoted to VIPs. Since it’s summer, it doesn’t have to be Spain, and if teams are serious about nurturing upcoming talent, they could let them test and have the race drivers on PR duties while being more relaxed because it’s not a race weekend.

  62. Unlimited testing for teams without points (so Webber doesn’t run them down). No tests for top 5 scoring teams in constructors championship. Something in-between for the rest.

  63. I’m in favour of testing on a Monday after the race at venues where its appropriate – as in proper tracks, not street circuits where everything needs to get back to normal, and where there isn’t a race the next weekend. Say 4 or 5 of these Mondays through the year, let FOTA vote on which ones they would like.

  64. did you guys notice that Red Bull has involved in many road show this year and the latest is on the street of london.

    are they use the road show to testing some new parts of their RB6 or is it just a simple plain road show.

    I believe red bull have more mileage on testing if they really use the road show as their testing ground for their RB6

  65. In a discussion last year I proposed that Monday after the (some?) races should be a testing day – advantages are that the teams are already there, so no wasted travel time plus minimal additional costs.

  66. I think the testing ban has been great for Formula 1. It’s produced tighter racing for one thing but the main thing that I like is the fact that the emphasis for ingenuity is transferred to the design office. The final, refined concepts have to come out of the engineers back at the factory and work form the outset which is a unique challenge. The old method of endless pounding round the test track trying iteration after iteration of some invisible componenet just to squeeze a 1000th of sec extra from the car is wasteful and outdated in this modern age. Ferrari have clearly lost the advantage they had as they tested more than anyone whereas teams like Mclaren who are more capable of thinking out of the box have begun to shine.

  67. Allow testing, ESPECIALLY for the new teams. How can we consider banishing them with a 107% Q rule when we don’t give them a reasonable chance to improve during the season? Sure, the front runners will/may pick up a tenth or two here and there, but the back markers (if they have the budget!) will have the chance to remain in the race by improving considerably more.

    My point is, at the least give everyone a chance to improve their cars, or do away with the 107% Q rule and learn how to race around slower cars. It’s done every weekend in other forms of racing.

    1. I agree with.

      The FIA approved the new teams entry into F1 at the very end of the season and they have so limited amount of time to design, testing and develope the car.

      4 or 5 months for a new team to come out with one race car before the season start? sure they can but sure it will be not so competitive.

      so let the new team have more in season testing sessions.

      and I like the idea of monday testing session for every teams after every sunday race.

  68. I’d like to see a couple of tests a year in-season. These could be straight after races (so teams will still have to practise if they want good data for the GP), either at the circuit just used for the GP or at a circuit on a likely lorry route to the next event that isn’t due to host a race later in the year (e.g. they could test at Magny-Cours while transporting stuff from Valencia to the UK). This would enable the calender to by sympathetic enough that the race team could do it. The tests could be quite short (1-2 days) to encourage clever use of time and also to get the maximum people in on any one day.

    I’d also be quite happy for two cars to be used per team (they’re already set up and ready for use if they’re happening straight after the GP), with the proviso that the second car cannot be given to anyone who has had a F1 race contract that year.

    It would be nice to be able to arrange one test a year on these lines outside Europe, but to do that there would need to be a much more efficient strategy for organising the race calender. At the moment there are too many air hops in the name of not oversaturating small markets to make an additional test out there work.

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