Bring back testing? Here’s a better idea


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Jules Bianchi, Ferrari, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Jean Todt wants to allow teams to test during the season for the first time since 2008.

But while there is a need to give young drivers more opportunities to drive Formula 1 cars, there are downsides to allowing too much testing.

That’s why I think a better alternative is to bring back non-championship Grand Prix races.

The problems of testing

Bringing back testing to give new drivers the opportunity to get mileage at the wheel of an F1 car makes sense.

Aside from that, why increase the amount of testing teams can do? It’s not as if there’s been a massive spate in car failures. The Chinese Grand Prix set a new record for the most drivers to finish an F1 race.

But a radical change in the technical rules is planned for 2013. So it’s not hard to see why teams might need more than the 15 days of pre-season running, plus a few other days during and after the season, which they get at the moment.

Still, there are many good reasons why testing was banned in the first place and F1 should take care not to forget those lessons.

Too much testing will reduce the teams’ need to run in practice on race weekends. And the more teams can test and understand their cars and the new tyres, the more predictable racing will become.

Then there’s the cost. The teams have already disbanded their separate testing teams to save money. Earlier this week Williams stressed the importance of the Resource Restriction Agreement in helping them reduce costs and remain in the sport.

This points towards several obvious things the FIA must restrict if in-season testing is to return.

How testing should be restricted

Teams should be required to test together, at the same tracks, on the same days to keep costs down.

They should not be allowed to test at Grand Prix venues, to ensure they still do set-up work and testing during race weekend practice sessions.

They should only be allowed to run drivers with no Grand Prix experience. And, of course, the total number of test days allowed should be kept to a strict minimum.

But what’s the point of going to the considerable expense of running F1 cars without taking advantage of the opportunity to draw a crowd and make some money? This is why bringing back non-championship races makes sense.

Make testing an event

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

A three-day, non-championship race weekend could include all the testing time teams need on Friday and Saturday, followed by qualifying and a race on Sunday.

There would be other benefits such as allowing them to test changes to racing rules outside of the championship: such as getting rid of the ‘use both tyres’ rule or changes to the Drag Reduction System.

Resurrecting non-championship race could allow teams to give testing opportunities for young drivers but also participate in a competitive event which will offer far more opportunities for promotion than a dreary eight-hour test.

It would be F1’s equivalent of a ‘friendly’ football match.

Who wouldn’t want to see Jules Bianchi in a Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo in a Red Bull, Oliver Turvey in a McLaren and Romain Grosjean in a Renault racing at Motorland Aragon and Imola?

A ‘pie in the sky’ plan, perhaps. No doubt Grand Prix contracts include clauses that prevent F1 cars from participating in any other races in countries that hold world championship events. But that still leaves us with Portimao in Portugal and Magny-Cours in France.

But running F1 cars isn’t cheap and the teams should take advantage of any opportunity to promote themselves and the sport.

F1 races, 1950-2001

The rise of the world championship means there hasn’t been a non-championship race for F1 cars since Keke Rosberg took the chequered flag at Brands Hatch on April 10th, 1983.

This chart shows how many world championship and non-championship F1 races there have been in every year since the world championship began.

World championship races7889978811910891010109111211131112151514161716151415161516161616161616161616161716171616171717161819181718171919
Non-championship races16147424161010555212014864634387233211211010000000000000000000000000000


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Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Red Bull / Getty images

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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127 comments on “Bring back testing? Here’s a better idea”

  1. Although letting drivers with no grand prix experience drive the cars is a good idea for the reasons stated, I think the regular F1 drivers should get some mileage during these tests. This way they would be present, and it would probably draw a bigger crowd. It would be ideal. A chance to see F1 cars, and your favorite drivers, but it would probably cost a lot less than a normal grand prix weekend. I’d certainly consider going to a test if one was nearby. Because a real grand prix is just too expensive for me.

    1. Perhaps get them to turn up on Friday and have one practice session each with the test driver? It would bump up Friday attendances which will probably be a bit low if it were only rookies driving around for a non-championship race.

    2. I would make them join as well. Why not put in some 4-6 non championship events and allow regular drivers to participate in up to 2-3 of them.

      That would make it even more exiting, as we could have Ricciardo battling it out not just with other new drivers but also with the likes of Vettel and Webber in the same car for comparison.

      We could make those shorter events with 2 shorter races per weekend and even things like having the regulars start in opposite order at the back or things like that.

    3. Can i add that i think that they should allow drivers with grand prix experiance in but not the drivers in the current world championship. Because i and probaly alot of others would like to see if bruno senna is really any good when put in a renault.

      1. I agree with that. Any non-current drivers should be allowed a shot.

        1. I would let the current drivers in for a few races as well. Nothing better than having these promising guys win over a Seb Vettel or Alonso to show how good they are.

  2. Testing WAS an event though… I went to the last one at Silverstone on 2008 which was a fantastic day, many 1000 others there, and some of the stands were fairly full – a great way to experience F1 for £12 I think it was.

    1. Would it attract more people than an actual race, though? I don’t think it would.

      1. I suppose the only issue is letting relative novices race in such expensive bits of kit. Testing is one thing, but a lot of team might not like risking their cars in extra races.

        Btw, I’m using IE9 and can’t post replies to comments. I can make my own post, just not reply to any.

        1. The teams have signed them up as reserve drivers, which means that they might have to put them in the car on Saturday before Qualifying for a Grand Prix on a track that they have never driven before, maybe even in a place like Monaco.
          Driving the car around some Tilkedromes with huge runoff areas will work out fine, but if they really would want to make it safer they could run only one car per team or even start races behind the safety car…

        2. matt90, just turn “compatibility view” on and everything is sweet

    2. But if the teams would be allowed to do this. Using their current cars and even testing new things.

      But without payments to FOM and track advertising by the organisers or alternatively showing team sponsor PR, it would certainly not have to be expensive.

      We could have circuits like Brno, Lausitzring, Portimao, Turkey (after it gets dropped), Algarve (if allowed by FOM), Zandvoort, Brands Hatch, Donington, Paul Ricard, Magny Cours, Red Bull A1 Ring all doing events during the year.

      1. 2 big probelems

        1) If it is a big event like suggested just above then teams may not want to travel as it costs alot of money to travel places. Even Turkey is a long haul by road, if money is your problem then allow Ferrari to play around at marenllo (sp), mclaren somewhere it england etc…

        2) Many of those places in europe wouldn’t work for 2 reasons…
        a) Many aren’t up the F1 standards. Not many tracks are and tracks aren’t going to be upgraded like crazy for this I think
        b) If there was an event at Brands Hatch and Donnington, how do you think the silverstone bunch would feel? Sure Silverstone has the official GB GP but if it costs hundreds to get a good seat watching it and 10% of that get a good seat watching the same cars go around another cirucit just as close then which are you going to do. Many (not crazed fans) or those who have a budget would ditch the GB GP for a non-championship event.

        I think it would be great but it wouldn’t work. Maybe it countries were there isn’t one already, like France, but certainly Bernie and his contract friends would get a bit anoyed, less say if there was a rival that ran cheaper etc…

        And if the tickets were the same price no one would go to 2 and you’d lose customers.

        1. Wrong, you got Algrave, Turkey, Red Bull A1 Ring, Zandvoort, Paul Ricard and Magny Cours. As well as others like Motorland, Imola, Mugello and Estoril. To me it sounds like a great idea.

  3. Great idea Keith. The arguments in favour of old-style testing have long been debunked and it’s about time we had non-championship races again. It’s like in snooker, golf and tennis, where they have ranking and non-ranking events, majors and internationals and so forth. F1 used to be like this once upon a time too, so the idea isn’t foreign. We could start with the two circuits you mention and then work on getting some others.

    The only problem would be that I don’t think the costs would be met by revenue and the teams would be exhausted, but the latter is more a systemic fault; as costs come down, maybe a minimum amount of mechanics could be mandated, so they don’t get burnt out? Of course, that in itself is a reason to not return to any form of testing but I haven’t seen the teams raise the issue. Also, the calendar is quite compact already, but again that’s the fault of the system: currently the teams have to turn up on Wednesday for scrutineering on Thursday, I remember last year Horner suggested it be moved instead of having qualifying on a Sunday (because of what happened at the Japanese GP), I think this would be a good move.

    1. Seems like a good idea. Maybe the teams could have an “A” squad for the championship, and a “B” squad for non championship rounds. The way I see it is each team would have a technical section that is responsible for the design, upgrading, and setup advice for both the A and B squads. The actual A and B squads would have separate mechanics, trackside engineers, truckies etc, The benefits of such a setup would be :

      – Avoid overworking trackside staff, A squad guys still only have one race every 2 to 3 weeks, and B squad guys would only have a race every 2 to 3 weeks.
      – Give opportunity to up and coming engineers, drivers, and mechanics, by giving them a spot in the B squad. If they prove to be good the teams promote them to the A squad.
      – Additional sponsorship dollars for the teams. Teams could run different sponsors on A and B squad cars, maybe B squad sponsorship would be cheaper, opening the sponsorship market to smaller companies
      – Improved cost effectiveness. I would imagine the cost of the man hours designing a car far and away outweighs the cost of manufacturing one. So the cost of producing four cars as a opposed to two would only be marginally higher.
      – More data gathering opportunities for the teams, and
      – Most importantly more racing for us.

      1. I think the issue with all that is that costs would go up – the teams would have to employ 2 teams of mechanics, have 2 loads of transporters etc. Ferrari, McLaren etc would probably be fine with it, but I imagine the smaller teams would really struggle with it, and would probably prefer a (cheaper) traditional test session to another full-blown race event.

        1. Yeah, there would be additional cost, but there would also be a chance for additional income, and exposure, rather than testing which generates very little of any, if any.

          Also teams like Team Lotus won’t need to have GP2 teams, or other development series that they currently fund. You could have shorter races with no pit stops, reducing the number of pit crew required. The teams could organise a common catering company to feed all the teams, removing the need for individual motorhomes for each team. The same transporters between the A squad and B squad could be used, as there would never be a championship race, and non championship race on the same weekend. You could also make it whilst the championship races are in fly away mode the non championship races are held around Europe, and vice versa.

    2. There is no reason why the races must be held during the normal season, before or after is fine. I for one could use a good dose of F1 right after the new year.
      This clears out the “burnout” problem.

      Personnally, I love the idea of a non-championship/GP Weekend simulation in the off season.

      Jean Todt, you have my approval to move forward with this :-)

      1. Well the only reason is the tracks all being mooted are situated in countries that get cold in the winter!

      2. There is no reason why the races must be held during the normal season

        True, but the teams need a certain amount of off-season to get their new cars ready, and of course there is a winter test schedule.

        I like the idea of non-championship GPs, but I see too many obstacles to them happening.

  4. Perhaps more people would turn up if every test wasn’t in Barcelona. I know going to the same venue repeatedly allows teams to compare data from one test to the next, but it draws a much smaller crowd.

    The idea of non-championship GPs is great. I know it’ll never happen because of circuit safety ratings, but the idea of F1 around Brands Hatch again is pretty exciting.

    1. It would make more people turn up for the race as well :-D

  5. I would love to have testing back. I understand the argument that it would create predictable racing but at the minute that is exactly what we have. In season testing might lead to more close racing as more parts can be tried and there may be a bigger swing in results from race to race.

    As for the cost element, I can see many political issues surrounding Non-Championship races. However, if that led to the old circuits of the good old days returning for a reason other than finance, I, and many others, would be all for it.

    Testing before 2008 was excellent for the fans, I felt but if, as you suggest Kieth, that all top drivers and teams were present on one day, then we may have a spectacle worth travelling for.

    Either way, more F1 is beneficial to teams and fans alike.

    1. In season testing might lead to more close racing as more parts can be tried and there may be a bigger swing in results from race to race.

      No it wouldn’t, because the teams that build the fastest cars also get to test.

      Indeed, the teams that have the fastest cars tend to test more, so what we’d get is a stretching of the gap between the fastest and slowest teams.

      1. @ Kieth Collantine,

        I was referring to the top teams. I understand that the gap between the top and bottom teams would increase but, as Hispania have proven this year, a good car out of the box is still a good car regardless of testing restrictions. Maybe it is my bias, but I think that Red Bull’s domination is wearing thin on the casual supporter. Since late 2009 the only things stopping Red Bull have been changeable weather conditions or outstanding drivers from competitors. As many fans on this website have pointed out, since Monza Vettel and RB are near untouchable and I think that if Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes were able to test then the top of the standings may be closer by the end of the season.

        1. Mark Hitchcock
          12th May 2011, 13:49

          But that’s Keith’s point. All the teams would be able to test. That includes Red Bull. What makes you think Ferrari, Mclaren or the rest would be able to get more use out of testing than Red Bull.

          If Red Bull had more time to test their innovations like the flexi-wing etc. then surely they would actually gain on the rest of the field.

    2. I agree that more F1 is fine, but not with testing. As we saw in the pre season, more testing is only about spending, in effect something the richer teams will benefit from most.

      If it would be races there would be a lot more people interested in that. And that would be an excellent PR event for sponsors if they can have more influence on the whole thing. That in turn would make it easier for teams to get sponsors.

  6. Bring back the Tasman series!

    1. That’s what they could call it!

      All in all Keith I think this idea is brilliant!!!!!!!!!

  7. This would be great for cross-promotion of motor racing. F1 is usually too expensive for people to attend, but always has massive numbers (well, Turkey being an exception, although it wasn’t exactly empty), while other racing series have cheaper tickets, multiple events a day but aren’t quite so popular. Having a non-championship event sharing the same weekend as other racing series would increase attendance and visibility for that series and I doubt people would mind paying a little extra to watch that series AND an F1 event on the same day (I know I wouldn’t mind what-so-ever).

    Plus, could you imagine some cross-promotion of, say, DTM and F1, with the F1 cars going around the Norisring, or the Nurburgring (not the wimpy GP course). Maybe some promotional events with one of the Le Mans Series. HELL! Stick the cars at Le Mans during the early test session. Do a promotional race with Aussie V8s at Bathurst!
    All I’m saying is, get these non-championship events at big name racing series at popular tracks for a while, see if numbers increase, then target lower series. I imagine having F1 racing on the same weekend as, let’s say, Brazilian Stock Cars, would do wonders (I didn’t even realise there were Brazilian Stock Cars, but it’s entertaining viewing).

    If they make cheaper F1 events at longer/more dangerous/more exciting tracks shared with lower race series, the people will show up.
    Just my 2p

  8. I don’t think non-championship races are the right idea, simply because testing is so expensive and there’s no visible benefit from taking part – there are no points on offer.

    I think the best solution would be to give all teams a set number of testing days throughout the year, and then extra days that are dependent upon their championship position. The higher your championship position, the less days you get. This is to allow struggling teams extra time to develop their cars and advance their standings.

    1. PM’s hit the nail on the head. Any for of non championship GP is nonsense in a day when we are trying to minimise costs.

      As for the testing days throughout the year, they can already do straight line tests, and “filming day’s” granted, with different tyres, limited top speed etc. But teams are cunning. I honesty don’t see the need for testing to return.
      Millions are being spent on developing the l4turbos, amd now todt wants more to be spent on testing! Amd Keith wants it to be spent on whole non championship GP races!!
      I think everyones forgotten that costs are trying to be cut in F1

      1. I think everyone’s forgotten that costs are trying to be cut in F1

        Perhaps you missed where I said “what’s the point of going to the considerable expense of running F1 cars” and “running F1 cars isn’t cheap”, not to mention:

        Then there’s the cost. The teams have already disbanded their separate testing teams to save money. Earlier this week Williams stressed the importance of the Resource Restriction Agreement in helping them reduce costs and remain in the sport. […]

        Teams should be required to test together, at the same tracks, on the same days to keep costs down.

        If they decide not to bring back testing at all I wouldn’t be that bothered.

        But, as I said in the article, if they are going to the expense of bringing back testing then they might as well use that cost and time in a way which will promote the sport better and potentially bring in more money.

        1. I missed your first quotes when reading/possibly forgot them by the end of the article.

          But I agree with your second point

          1. Wait wait! Thought about it and I disagree. The problem is that it’s all circumstantial on people buying tickets for the non championship GPs. If not enough people buy tickets then way more costs are being incurred by teams and the FIA swell as circuits, in rental costs, shipping costs, etc etc.

            It’s hard to gauge if there would be enough demand for tickets in a non championship GP.. Especially in this day and age.

            But of it works then I’m all for it

          2. Mark Hitchcock
            12th May 2011, 13:56

            That would all depend on where the GPs took place. Put one on at Brands Hatch and you’re practically guaranteed a sell-out if the tickets are the right price. Put one where there’s no interest in motorsport and you’ve got a failure.

            And the F1 teams are still using the circuit, shipping the cars etc. when they test so I’m not sure how costs would actually increase as you say.

        2. I think there is no reason why doing something like a non championship race would have to be a lot more expensive than testing.

          But it would have a great advantage of getting more paying viewers at the track and sponsor events around that to add value for the teams and their partners. Thereby making this a lot more interesting for anyone.

        3. But running cars in “test” mode requires less people in the garage, less people in the circuit (for each team) as well. Whereas running the cars in “race” mode requires the whole group.
          My point is, its still more cost-friendly to run test than a non championship weekend, unless I missed a point somewhere..

          1. Yes you will need more people on-track. But if the teams were allowed more control over the non-championship races, or even to organise them, then on the flip-side they would have actual income from them, both from ticket sales and potentially from sponsors. Income that they don’t have from testing days.

            What it might do as well if organised properly, is show CVC/FIA what lowering ticket prices could do for attendance.

            I’d be for shorter multiple races, DTM-style. That would allow for one race with the newbies and one with the established names. Provided the first one to race didn crash out, of course.

    2. I see what your aim is there. But in essence it’s the same as success balast. Which has proven to be problematic at best in other categories.

    3. The higher your championship position, the less days you get. This is to allow struggling teams extra time to develop their cars and advance their standings.

      So we should apply the DRS principle to testing allocation now as well? I cant agree with that, as I dont think teams be punished for their success.

      I don’t think non-championship races are the right idea, simply because testing is so expensive and there’s no visible benefit from taking part – there are no points on offer.

      Im not so sure about this. Testing certainly is expensive, but I dont think there is nothing to be gained from doing it in the guise of non-championship GPs. I would absoultely watch these non-championship races, and I think most F1 fans would as well. That means additional exposure for sponsors, and possibly additional TV revenues if it were broadcast by FOM. It could even help to ‘test the waters’for bringing F1 to places with world-class (i.e., F1-appropriate) circuits that arent currently hosting races. If testing is to come back, I think this could be a superb way to do it.

    4. Expensive to us, but to an F1 team on a £40-£220 million budget? Nah testing isn’t tat expensive.

  9. I think it has been mentioned on here before and I like the idea of a Monday test day after select races during the season.

    Costs are reduced as everyone is already there for the race, and as it is after the race at that venue, the teams will be testing changes for the rest of the season rather than just trying to get the best setup for that track.

    I can’t see the teams going for non Championship races

    1. Monday testing is also a good and practical idea.

      However, the idea of non championship races is in my view still the best alternative.

      The only flaw I see, is the money involved. Because if it’s a race, you probably want to broadcast it and give people paid access. The logistics for that cost a lot more than the current tests do.

      But still, I like it, especially the idea to test new rules like DRS usage.

      And maybe some nonchampionship races will be more exciting than championship races, which might urge circuit owners to adjust their circuits.

    2. micktleyden (@)
      12th May 2011, 22:54

      Yep Monday testing strikes me as the best bet, teams still need to do their setup work on Friday and Saturday and they already have everything at the track.

      The non championship races is a great idea for fans, but in the era of cost cutting I can’t see it flying. The costs of putting on a race would not be much different to a championship race but the revenue would be signifcantly less, as it will have far less exposure for sponsors.

      They can swing it, I’d be all over it, but I think it would just drive costs back up and force te smaller teams out again.

  10. The problem with testing on a race weekend, is that, you have absolutely no opportunity to repair any defective component or performance deficient component, as such, if you do identify a fault you have to wait until the next race weekend to fix it or compromise your performance.

    Having all the teams testing on the same day, while potentially saving costs, can be more expensive to individual teams, in terms of getting maximum returns for a test run.
    For example, when teams are all a running together on a track, team a wants to do short runs, team b wants to do long runs and acquire data over that duration, if either team a or b stops on track, it affects the other teams ability to carry out its own experiments. The net result being, you are most likely unable to run your own programme to suit your particular needs.

    My feeling is that, once the teams have been given a set number of kilometers or hours within which they can test before and during a season, the team should be given the option to use up their allotted quota as they deem fit.
    So if like HRT, you decided not to participate in the pre season tests, then you can use up your test quota at any time during the season.
    Forcing teams to adopt a uniform testing regime, only benefits the bigger teams, with a huge manufacturing potential and resources to attend the tests, and with multiple varations of components. While the smaller teams will of course have longer lead times to manufacture components.

  11. I’m not convinced that having a racing weekend would be cheaper than having a testing week.

    The same crowds would attend, and the circut would take the money from tickets. The FIA would make money from TV broadcasts. At the end of it, the teams will get very little from it, and probably less data than a proper test. On top of that, the teams would need to push at 110% during the race, damaging and wearing their components, which would cost a lot to then replace. In testing the teams and drivers dont push very hard unless they are doing a stress test.

    A race weekend would be great for the fans, but because it is not for points, the teams will get very little from it, and most will probably not show up at all.

  12. To me it is a great idea, Keith.
    I remember last time I was at Mugello for a test session (Ferrari, Mclaren, BAR, Sauber and others were there)…
    Well, really, the only thing I missed was an actual race! I would have also paid a ticket to see it.
    At the same time it would not be a competitor for actual F1 circus, since Bianchi vs Ricciardo vs Grosjean doesn’t appeal the same of Alonso vs Vettel vs Hamilton…but it would appeal enough anymore!!!

    Consider how many opportunities people have to watch F1 run live (really a few!!!), and how many they would like to have.

  13. Megawatt Herring
    12th May 2011, 11:07

    On a side issue what do people think of letting any car that fails to meet the 107% rule allowing them to complete a race distance worth of testing at the track after the race, I’ve never been to a race but I imagine they would have to do it after everyone else has gone due to safety in the pit lane.

    Although I don’t see a team not making the 107% for the rest of the year this rule this would solve the problem of an uncompetitive car not being able to improve due to a lack of testing.

    Back on topic I like the Idea of a reserve drivers only test however the larger teams, perhaps all the teams, would use an experienced driver to test parts and not let rookies get used to an F1 car.

    Testing is a tricky subject but I think testing would cause more problems than it would solve.

    1. The only problem I can think of with this, is who gets to pay for the track time.

    2. HounslowBusGarage
      12th May 2011, 12:51

      Generally GPs have support races, so allowing a car outside the 107% to test would probably involve doing it the day after the race. Which is going to be hugely expensive in terms of marshalls and medical staff just for one HRT.
      And I for one, would not pay to watch a single HRT go testing for a day.

  14. I’m less sure about the non-champ races idea. I’d feel obliged to watch them, because I’m such a fan, but would do so with a certain feeling on emptiness because there wouldn’t be quite the same importance. Would they even be broadcast on TV?

    My preferred solution would be for teams to stay on until Monday or Tuesday at certain races (but not ones with a back-to-back race the following week!). I do agree that this be done with non-racing drivers, but I would allow drivers who have raced in previous seasons (eg. Hulkenberg) to allow them to ‘keep their eye in’.

    The advantage of this is that the teams and infrastructure would already be there (plus any GP2 drivers who are doing the testing), which would be a significant cost saving and little need for separate testing teams.

    Also, testing at a track AFTER they have raced there means that there is little to be gained in terms of track knowledge, but they can still compare runs with new parts to those done on Fri-Sun with the current car.

    As for spectators, fans with full race weekend tickets could pay a small supplement to stay on for testing if they wish. Die-hard fans who have already travelled might stick around. I’m sure a that lots of journalists would also prefer not to have to make extra journeys to get to testing too.

    Perhaps as an extra bonus for fans who stay, there could be a mini-race towards the end of the day’s schedule, with reverse-championship grids and a small prize pot to encourage participation?

    1. It’a nice idea and definitely preferable to old-style testing. But I’d rather we take F1 to other places for people to see it, even if it doesn’t count towards the championship.

  15. Thinking about it the non-championship events are a fantastic idea – I’m sure if we had them this year the DRS zones would be fine-tuned in half the time as well as giving newbies some valuable experience

  16. Who wouldn’t want to see Jules Bianchi in a Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo in a Red Bull, Oliver Turvey in a McLaren and Romain Grosjean in a Renault racing at Motorland Aragon and Imola?

    Only a crazy person, that’s who!!

    1. Yeah I know, but lets persuade them to go to Knockhill instead! ;)

  17. Disagree. I think it’ll be too expensive. The teams would be throwing stupid amounts of money at it and would probably get less of a return. I dont think the tracks would manage to break even on this one either in terms of financial gains, which is what they all seem to be caring a lot more about now.

    What I think should happen is what Bernie Eccelstone and Eddie Jordan touched on in the BBC coverage to the Turkish GP – and that is have very limited testing sessions/weekends per year, but only allow young drivers to test – ones who have not raced in F1. That way the teams are able to run their own programmes to develop both their cars and their drivers. Two birds, one stone.

    I dont think fine tuning race craft of the drivers would be a reason for non-championship events either, as pretty much all test drivers compete in other racing series anyway.

    1. But having inexperienced guys doing testing will be only beneficial for teams like McLaren who have an experienced tester who qualifies as a newby driver (paffet).

      Otherwise using young guys limits what you can test apart from straight line runs and shake offs.

      1. Testing yes, race weekends no. Too expensive

      2. But having inexperienced guys doing testing will be only beneficial for teams like McLaren who have an experienced tester who qualifies as a newby driver (paffet).

        They could always impose a mileage limit – i.e. not allowed to run drivers who have covered more than X miles in an F1 car. That would avoid the issue.

        1. But that would make the testing session utterly useless for evaluating new parts!

  18. An absolutely superb idea, Keith!

  19. I was thinking exactly this just a few weeks ago. But I think there would be too much commercial wrangling, FOTA, FOM, FIA blah blah blah… it’ll never get through

  20. Friday:
    Standard Practice 1
    3rd Driver Practice (Quali)

    Standard Practice 2

    3rd Driver Practice (Race)
    Standard Race

    With more teams are running 3rd drivers in practice again, why not sacrafice one of Friday’s practice sessions for the registered 3rd drivers only. They could have their own tyres and engines for their practice sessions which would promote more F1 running on track for fans, rubber in the track for teams as well as testing new parts and helping with weekend setup.

    There would be 12 competitors on track using each teams 3rd car, and I suggest they turn this 1hr session into a quali session for the 3rd drivers to line up in their own Sunday race, using a 1hr countdown and fastest lap at the end wins pole.

    Also add a new session on the Sunday so there is 2 sessions on each of the three days, the race day is the most expensive but gets the least hours of F1 action. I suggest adding another 3rd driver session using the 3rd chassis. This would be a one hour endurance race where most laps wins.

    1. What with the Porsche Supercup and GP2 support series, there’d be no room.

  21. Sounds like a great idea to me, Keith, you’re a genius.

    I was actually wondering a while back whether a ‘winter series’ for drivers with no F1 seat in the previous year might be a goer (not for testing, just for the sake of it). You’d have a mix of new drivers from GP2 and Superleague (trying to get themselves into F1 seats for the year coming up), veteran guys like Villeneuve, Hakkinen, Coulthard, Montoya and Raikkonen, and guys from other series like Loeb and Rossi, driving cars from the previous season.

    1. veteran guys like Villeneuve, Hakkinen, Coulthard, Montoya and Raikkonen, and guys from other series like Loeb and Rossi, driving cars from the previous season.

      Good luck getting Montoya and Raikkonen back into an F1 car. lol

      Although what you’re essentially describing here is Race of Champions.

      1. what you’re essentially describing here is Race of Champions.

        Which, of course, is what the last ever non-championship race was called!

      2. Funnily enough I find the RoC completely contrived and dull.

        I like the thing NASCAR (is it NASCAR?) is doing with the 5 Million Dollar Race though.

        1. Its IndyCar doing that, I agree that is a nice idea to spice up the series and get in new viewers.

  22. Keith – how’s about whether or not the teams get to use their tested components in the race? Ie would the race be under FIA regulations, or would they be relaxed?

    If the rules are relaxed, then I think it could be quite spectacular to get to see the effects of some real innovation.

    Although, perhaps if the teams found something really useful in their testing they would sand-bag to hide it…

  23. As a fan, I think it’s a great idea and I’d love to see it happen. The teams would be able to turn testing into an event with more opportunities for PR and corporate hospitality than a normal test day.

    Sadly, however, it’s likely to be little more than pie in the sky – as acknowledged in the article. A testing programme a team would want to run is usually very different from a race weekend, so there’s probably less technical benefit to be had. If you introduce an element of competition together with young drivers then it adds to the risk of them throwing cars into walls more often than they currently do.

  24. Christian Briddon
    12th May 2011, 12:54

    I wish they would bring back testing as it is a cheap way to experience F1 live.

    My wife and I go to Silverstone every year and my 6 year old daughter is getting into F1 now. It’s too expensive to take her to the race with us so being able to go to Silverstone for a days testing would be great.

    I’m sure there are others who would love to see F1 cars live without having to pay the high ticket prices for a race.

  25. Non-championship races shouldn´t exist and shouldn´t be called races at the level of F1 if they don´t give points towards a championship.

    I don´t think that F1 needs more testing. The only reason to have more testing is to help younger drivers to get into F1 to get more used to the cars.

    If you have to increase testing I would instead use the race weekends very much like Calum mentioned above. Prolong the practise sessions so the last part of the session will only be for a third car not bound by restrictions to amount of engines, gear-boxes etc. with a test driver/young driver.

    1. But that would just put more cost in (3rd car, extra engine and tyres) for no real benefit at all.

  26. Have a non champioship race at bathurst during the bathurst 1000 weekend as a support catergory

  27. HounslowBusGarage
    12th May 2011, 13:02

    are we talking about pre-season or in-season testing?
    The real F1 season is already pretty long and the build-up to the first race of the new season is already pretty fraught for many teams trying to get ready in time. So I’m not sure an organised, non-championship race for ‘apprentice’ drivers is going to be too appealing if the teams are desperately building two cars for the start of the real season. Only the super-rich teams could afford to split their effort (or duplicate personnel), and I don’t think the idea is to benefit the super-rich teams, is it?
    Once the season actually starts, there aren’t many weekends when in-season testing is possible without impinging on the August break or the three week break we’ve just had. And if Bernie manages to cram in another two races, it’ll be even more difficult.
    The best solution I can think of is to follow the Moto GP example and have Monday testing post-race at some venues. I have no idea if that’s open to spectators, or what the cost is, but I would pay to see twenty or so F1 cars pounding round with test drivers replacing the mega-stars.

  28. Another positive is, it would enable different tracks and teams of people have a try at getting an F1 race organised. And why not let them throw in the odd concert as well if they are doing an event? There are bound to be some entertainers who would like to combine the things.

    Certainly not a luxury if we look at the so far bland experiences in like Turkey, China, AbuDhabi and Bahrain (sorry LAK, but you must admit its not been a huge crowd at your place)

  29. The teams / new drivers need a bit more testing (or a least the lower teams do if they can afford it) not a non points race weekend, that is nothing like testing, the season is over congested enough.
    It you are taking about 15 championship races and 5 non points races then that has a bit of merit but I’d still be against it.

  30. Non-championship races! A real blast from the past. In the 1970s, as a teenager, I used to go to the Race of Champions, which was held at Brands Hatch in the middle of March. It was cheap to get in (I seem to remember paying £5 or so for circuit entry) and for an extra couple of quid you could walk round he paddock as well. The weather was always a bit unpredictable: one year I got sunburn and the following year I remember the surreal sight of watching Formula 1 cars racing through a snowstorm! There was an amazing mixture of entries – most of the WDC entrants would turn up, but there would also be up and coming young drivers given a chance in a current F1 car – in fact I think Keke Rosberg’s first F1 win was at the Race of Champions . Making up the rest of the field would be a collection of Formula 5000 cars and 2-3 year old F1 cars that had been bought up from the teams and were being raced by privateers.

    I think F1 teams must have rather less precious in those days, as nobody seemed to think it wrong to have such a mixture of cars in the same race. The F5000 cars were several seconds a lap slower than the F1 entrants but less prone to breaking down, so we used to get some quite exciting races. Could such a race take place nowadays? Almost certainly not. In the 1970s, teams went racing because they wanted to win races, the finances apparently being secondary. Provided the entry money covered the costs then they would turn up. I can’t imagine the accountants who run F1 now taking a similar view. Ah well – it’s nice to dream.

  31. It seems some of the commenters “in favor” of the testing ban, which is a “completely arbitrary” rule conjured up to force teams to behave inside of a pre-determined box of parameters defined by some committee in France, are the same commenters that “are against” the DRS as being phoney and not in the spirit of unbridled, pure racing-sport. Oh the irony. Hmmm.

    1. The comparison doesn’t make sense.

      It would if, for example, teams that finished lower down in a race got to do more testing.

  32. I think in-season testing is good. Teams need to test their car before the season and halfwya through to improve it. Having said this, non-championship races would give teams the same information and mileage but provide a new entertainment for the viewer. I’d rather see some race weekends at other circuits during the season, where young drivers can deeply examine the experience of being full time drivers in F1, than having three day tests with drivers that can’t improve their driving or their handling because of testing new parts. Sure, new components can be tested too, during the practice sessions of these non-championship races, but on the second day there would be a qualifying session, just as in F1, and the following day a race, maybe a little shorter tha normal ones, on different circuits.
    It would be like having the usual testing days, but with a win to be earned in a race between the rookies. It would be fantastic to see young talents driving cars they might drive in near future, and possibly see exciting duels between future champions.

  33. I think the idea is not bad, but I can’t see it happening today due to logistic problems.

    Before 1981, the seasons’ calendars were only at maximum 15 races long. With the 20 race calendar of this season (19 if Bahrain is not rescheduled), a calendar which spans from March until November, it doesn’t leave much room for testing, let alone for extra races.

    As already mentioned, one must also not forget the the contracts circuits have in place to host races. With the introduction of U.S.A. next year and possibly some country like Russia the years after, it would be less likely that non-championship races would be done, given how large the calendar would be.

    The restrictions you listed regarding testing are good, but from a team’s point of view, especially the smaller teams, I doubt that they will view them as cost efficient, thus raising resistance. By testing in circuits which drivers do not compete on during the championship, traveling costs will rise. Some teams might also not like the idea that young inexperience drivers will crash the cars during testing, incurring more costs in the process. Unfortunately, this last point is a reality because it is a paranoid nature of the competitive and now, cost efficient nature of Formula One.

    How about a day of testing on Monday after the Championship weekend ends on Sunday? I believe this idea has been put forward by some already. I think MotoGP does something similar, although I stand to be corrected on this.

  34. Hmmm not sure about this. I like the idea that if testing has to be conducted it should be done in a way to reduce costs and perhaps engage fans more. However, we’re not really suffering without it. Admittedly that doesn’t do the younger generation of potential drivers many favours but GP2 is a great proving ground, considering 5/6 (or something like that) past winners of that championship are still in F1. Our current F1 WDC came from Formula Renault and DTM may prove a decent ground also.

  35. why do they not just use two cars again, i agree it will increase the cost of it but not as much as increasing the amount of days spent testing. you do however get the chance to do twice as much within the same space of time. im sure that most manufacturers have more than one test/academy driver!

  36. I think a few test days would be a good thing. Teams that are struggling are more likely to improve, so there’s more chance the field will close up than spread out.

    Keith, I can see where you’re coming from with the idea of non-championship races. It would be good to have more F1, and good to have something that wasn’t just more of the same. One way I can see for that to happen is if costs were brought further under control so that more teams could compete in F1. There would be pre-qualifying sessions at different stages of the season to see which teams took part in the championship races. The rest of the teams (there would be 12 cars left over if 18 teams were involved) could compete in ‘EuroF1’ events. The grid could be filled out by using F1 chassis from previous seasons, run independently or by the teams themselves. Ferrari and McLaren, at least, should be required to run an old car to draw attention to the series.

    The pros are:
    . New teams and drivers would get proper F1 experience.
    . Circuits would get more use.
    . Fans would get more F1.
    . Guest drivers like Brundle, Rossi, could get involved.
    . No addition or disruption to regular F1 season.

    This is one way I could see non-championship F1 working, but I realise it’s a daydream so no need to be too critical!

  37. But who would have the television rights to a ‘non-championship’ event?

    Would it undermine the commercial rights holder?

    If Ferrari, McLaren, RBR and Co. sold the broadcast rights to a 4-or-5 team ‘non-F1′ race in which all their star drivers raced, they could get quite a bit of money, and pretty soon see that perhaps having someone else take the largest cut of their brands’ pulling power might not be the most attractive option.

    If nothing else this would be a contractual nightmare to sort out between the teams, the FIA and FOM.

  38. How about restricting the maximum miles teams can do in testing to about 10,000 Kms.
    Let them decide how much they want to do during the winter break or between races. This will allow teams like HRT who don’t have their car ready in time to catch up later.
    Post winter break, the teams can stay back for an extra day and test or if we want to promote the sport, we can go to new circuits.

    1. There is already a restriction, off the top of my head I think it’s 15,000km.

      However when they can test is also restricted (15 days pre-season, eight post-season plus straight-line aero tests and filming days).

      1. sid_prasher (@)
        12th May 2011, 16:11

        Ok I didn’t know about the 15K limit but I think none of the teams did even 10K this year.
        What I was suggesting was to keep the 15 day pre-season days for testing and if teams use up their entire quota then they can’t test through the season.
        What ever miles they haven’t used, they can use during the year in further testing.

    1. Yeah, shame about the massive pitot tube on the top, spoils it a bit.

      1. First time I saw that, I thought it was to make the car bear a closer resemblance to the windtunnel model (they are attached with a beam from the top as well)!

  39. I love the idea, esp when it comes to giving young drivers some real competitive F1 racing, but I believe it would be very hard to just find the time to do it. F1 is already at 19 (20 w Bahrain) races in a year, when will they find time to do a full blown non chamionship race weekend.

    A solution might be to organize such a non championship race on Mondays after a GP, with only young drivers as you suggest. Quali in morning, race in afternoon. Tie it in with the ticket price for a full weekend, but also allow people to buy a cheap ticket for just one day.

    Doing it this way cuts down a lot of the logistics cost and helps with the timing issue. Granted, it won’t see that many new components tested I imagine (since any they had they would’ve been desperate to use at the GP.) However looking at Mclaren this weekend, I’m sure they’d have loved to stay on Monday and see if they could work out the upgrades they didn’t manage to put on on Sunday.

  40. Don’t motoGP test on the Monday after the race?

    Surely something like this could be adopted? All the kit is there and setup, the teams are already there.

    The only problem I can see is where there is a race on the following weekend – This could be remedied by having say 5 Monday sessions at GPs where there is no race the following weekend? It would take a bit of scheduling but I feel it could be one of the more cost effective options.

  41. Perhaps a simpler solution would be to just let the teams test Mon-Wed at the circuit after the current GP is completed? They’re all there already.

  42. artificial racer
    12th May 2011, 17:55

    Non championship events would be interesting, for one-off experimental or promotional tools during the season. For example, it could be used to evaluate a new potential street circuit without entering into a multi-year contract. But I would expect this to only be interesting if it was televised and with the main F1 drivers that people know and love.

    I don’t think this can replace testing. The approach to a test is different than what you do for a race, and racing adds expense, whereas testing is boring.

    They should just allow teams to test a few more days during the season, whenever a team wishes to do so, but only using actual test/reserve drivers. The objectives are 1) give new drivers some track time and 2) give teams some time to track-test new developments, which could help smaller teams who don’t have such extensive simulation and quality control systems.

  43. i like the idea very much however rookies & reserve drivers should be made mandatory to drive. The question is for one or both seats? Both have implications.

    Off topic: Apparently on they suggest that Webber did not run the rear upgrades in Turkey after Vets P1 crash. Can anyone confirm this and also why would this be?

  44. Gnarly Racing (@)
    12th May 2011, 18:29

    The only way to work out where best to detect and deploy the DRS is to race it. So this would be a great way to try out different wing settings, higher-capacity KERS, new tyres etc.

    I’d add Abu Dhabi as a possible non-championship venue. Then Portimao can take its place on the calendar.

  45. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    12th May 2011, 18:38

    Keith, I have a question, and goes also for the people who know more here on the page (such as PM, Ned, etc)… we as fanatics, comment here, give suggestions or “what if” ideas, but my question is if you personally know if FIA authorities read our concerns, pieces of advice, and that could eventually lead on a change in the sport

    1. The FIA – no, but I have heard about articles on F1 Fanatic being circulated within F1 teams and I’ve had feedback about some of them.

      You may remember a few weeks back I did an article based on an interview with Jonathan Neale conducted at McLaren. That morning I had written did the interview I’d written a comment piece on Bahrain and someone at McLaren (I can’t remember who exactly) brought it up while I was there.

      So they are reading – at least, some of them are!

  46. While I can see the intent behind your idea, Keith, I just don’t agree that the suggestion works in the way you’ve put it forward. There are a couple of assumptions that are the reverse of economic reality.

    Who wouldn’t want to see Jules Bianchi in a Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo in a Red Bull, Oliver Turvey in a McLaren and Romain Grosjean in a Renault racing at Motorland Aragon and Imola?

    Answer: Look at the mostly empty grandstands for F2, GP2 Asia races. F1 demos got a huge public audience in Moscow, India, and Mexico recently. That’s because they were held on the street, free, in a city centre, with a limited timeframe and in places with no other draw. There’s a massive difference between dropping into the city to see hometown boy Perez for half an hour before you go on to shopping/cinema/dinner etc and dragging the family out to a cold, empty grandstand an hour’s drive away from anywhere to see drivers nobody knows in cars they’re learning to drive shoot past 500 metres away in a big pack, once every couple of minutes. Would it be a great racing opportunity? Yes! Would it draw a crowd? Not really.

    No crowd = no sponsorship = no TV revenue = no Bernie Money = no economic benefit.

    Then there’s the cost. The teams have already disbanded their separate testing teams to save money.

    Yes they did. Now ask yourself the question: When and where are these non-championship races going to be held?
    In the winter? There’s a good reason there aren’t any F1 races over the winter – the cars are too sensitive to track temperature, you wouldn’t get any useful data (remember Pirelli were running a way out of spec car during their winter testing). So you’re looking at in-season races. The problem is that the existing race crews are already stretched to breaking point. So now you need a “B” team racing crew. That’s far more expensive than a “B” team testing crew, because there’s more to do.

    But what’s the point of going to the considerable expense of running F1 cars without taking advantage of the opportunity to draw a crowd and make some money? This is why bringing back non-championship races makes sense. A three-day, non-championship race weekend could include all the testing time teams need on Friday and Saturday, followed by qualifying and a race on Sunday.

    Here’s a better question: What is more use to a team:
    A 3-day testing weekend, where they get 8 hours a day to run whatever engineering programmes they want, on whatever parts they want, with whatever drivers they want, on any schedule they want – or a 3-day racing weekend where they get limited time to gather data for a day and a half, then they spend the rest of the weekend running a race that doesn’t gain them any money, prestige, or engineering information, using drivers that aren’t a reliable baseline, risks damaging the cars and parts they’ve come to test (far more likely in a rookies-only race than in a lazy test session) and wears out an already overworked (and reduced) staff?

    But running F1 cars isn’t cheap and the teams should take advantage of any opportunity to promote themselves and the sport.

    You’re right. But are McLaren really going to drag the Brand Centre down to Aragon for a 3 day weekend that sponsors have no interest in, and the public aren’t going to show up to? Yes they do it for Turkey but that’s F1 Championship, and televised. Sponsors can bring corporates on jollies to that. There’s prestige involved.

    The only place non-championship racing makes any sense is on Friday or Monday of a GP weekend. That’s the only way of making it cheap, giving it an audience, and getting any data out of it. The problems:

    Where are the teams going to the extra resources to put on a spare car?

    In the middle of the championship fight, teams already bring updates to the car basically as soon as they’re out of the autoclave. There’s no spare capacity for bunging testing parts on a rookie’s car for a race he’s going to smash out of.

    Nice idea. But testing is better for the teams, cheaper, and has fewer downsides.

    1. Answer: Look at the mostly empty grandstands for F2, GP2 Asia races.

      But they don’t drive F1 cars – and that’s a big part of the draw.

      Tell people there’s an F1 race, tell them Ferrari, McLaren et. al. will be there and I bet you’ll get a decent crowd.

      A 3-day testing weekend, where they get 8 hours a day to run whatever engineering programmes they want, on whatever parts they want

      And I’m saying two days of testing plus a day for qualifying and a race. Not really all that different to what you’re proposing.

      As for staffing levels, that’s already limited under the RRA for race weekends, they could introduce a lower limit for non-championship races.

      are McLaren really going to drag the Brand Centre down to Aragon for a 3 day weekend that sponsors have no interest in

      They bring sponsors to test sessions, so why not? At least they’re getting to see a race instead of just a test.

      testing is better for the teams

      For what purpose? The only thing they need more testing for at the moment is to give rookies some mileage, something they could do just as easily through what I’ve proposed.

      1. But they don’t drive F1 cars – and that’s a big part of the draw.

        Tell people there’s an F1 race, tell them Ferrari, McLaren et. al. will be there and I bet you’ll get a decent crowd.

        But it’s not an F1 “race”. It’s an F1 “exhibition”. As the teams claimed at the breakaway – and we all agreed with them – fans follow drivers, then teams, then, and only then, the formula. F1 is a big “name”. But is a bunch of rookies racing in cars they can’t control the same draw as Hamilton vs. Alonso? Not at all. Non-championship races fell by the wayside because the casual fan doesn’t care. Why should they? It’s the same for sports all over – small-time events draw a crowd of handfuls, and the Premier League events get packed out. There’s really no in-between, particularly not with motorsport.

        And I’m saying two days of testing plus a day for qualifying and a race. Not really all that different to what you’re proposing.

        It is when the testing time would be restricted, and would be followed by two days of risking the car getting written off at worst, and not getting any useful data at best. Free-practice style testing isn’t the same as “no pressure” testing – the team’s programmes of work would be skewed by the need to prepare for the race.

        As for staffing levels, that’s already limited under the RRA for race weekends, they could introduce a lower limit for non-championship races.

        Exactly – staff are limited. The staff who can run the race weekends are already stretched to the limit doing the championship races and there’s no way the teams will compromise that. Where do you get the extra staff to run the non-championship races? You’d lose headcount in another area of the organisation, and that’s no use to the teams.

        They bring sponsors to test sessions, so why not? At least they’re getting to see a race instead of just a test.

        They bring limited sponsors, and they don’t bring their full “brand presence”. It’s “technical partner” time, not “brand exposure” time. And the extra expense would never be offset. Sure they could do it. But I don’t see why they would.

        For what purpose? The only thing they need more testing for at the moment is to give rookies some mileage, something they could do just as easily through what I’ve proposed.

        As McLaren proved, even the richest, best, most intelligent, most organised teams – need all the testing they can get. Giving rookie drivers extra miles in the car is something the teams don’t need to bother providing “race weekends” to do – as DiResta and D’Ambrosio proved last year. The only people who need to put miles on their reserve drivers are Ferrari, and frankly, that’s because Ferrari are thick.

        You make a good argument. But I don’t think it’s convincing enough, and there’s no way the teams think it’s a better option than more testing.

  47. The biggest benefit of in-season testing will be it will provide teams to restrategize their design during the course of the season. That way it offers a chance for the McLarens and Ferraris and Mercedes to test new components aggressively to regroup and fight the Redbulls. The lack of testing has helped the team starting strongly at the start of the season to maintain their advantage for a longer time.

    With testing allowed, there wont be a repeat of Brawn (2009), Red bull (2010/11) running away while the others use the race weekends to test their parts for the race.

  48. Sorry but I stopped watching when Schumacher was at Ferrari and winning all those championships are running so much testing.

    I like the unpredictability we have at the moment, the balance is there as the better teams/drivers are still at the front but regularly a dead cert can be changed with the wrong tyres or tyre fade.

    If we give them chance to test and perfect every set up it will be more long years of (probably) Vettel winning again and again and again.

  49. I think you’re wrong Keith. Testing isn’t about giving young drivers chances, it’s about improving the car so your championship hopes aren’t dead after the first qualifying session of the season. New drivers have pre-season testing to adapt themselves and apparently this works well.

    1. improving the car so your championship hopes aren’t dead after the first qualifying session of the season

      Teams can still do that without in-season testing. Look at the progress Ferrari made last year without in-season testing. Look at the progress McLaren made in 2009.

      All that in-season testing would do is further accelerate the development process and increase costs and I don’t think that’s needed.

      Except, as I say, to help give up-and-coming drivers the chance to test F1 cars.

      New drivers have pre-season testing to adapt themselves and apparently this works well.

      I don’t know what makes you think that – very few drivers other than regular race drivers ran in pre-season testing this year.

      1. Actually i would think bringing back non championship races (and having the rules stable for some years) would help save cost.

        Why? If we would get some events done in warmer areas during the winter, teams would just keep bringing improvements to the car all winter instead of every year building a completely new car.

        And that would save enormous amounts of money. Sure some would do a bigger step to really catch up, but I would like to see teams bringing new chassis gradually and not all of that at the season start.

  50. No thanks, there isn’t enough people going to races now, add some more on with rookie drivers and no points involved and you will have a huge white elephant on your hands. Look at how much HRT struggled to get ready in time for Australia, look at how much it costs to transport all the staff and equipment all over the world already. Testing in Barcelona, Jerez and Valencia may well be boring as hell, but it is 10 times more cost effective than going from Dubai to Portimao, to Brands Hatch, to Brno, to Mangy Cours etc. etc.
    No-one will be interested in it, many people on here are saying how great an idea it is and how it would attract a large audience, but the simple fact of the matter is the tickets will still cost a bundle, as they have to cover the cost of marshalls and track hire, and the lack of TV revenue, and the lack of sponsorship money too.
    Testing should be 20 days long, 16 in the winter, split into 4 4 day events, at Jerez, Valencia, Portimao and Paul Ricard, and a 4 day event in the middle of the season, at whichever German track they aren’t using this season (so if it was this season they would use Hockenheim, last season they would have used Nurburgring)
    I’m not slamming the idea OF Non Championship events, but there isn’t room for them with the current calendar, and I personally think it will be a big step backwards in what Formula 1 is currently trying to achieve.

  51. TestingBanIsGood
    13th May 2011, 0:46

    races are not testing and no matter how “friendly” they are, they’re inherently more likely to result in crashes and car damage. Especially if novices are driving.

    If the teams want more testing than is already available to them, give them an extra day of testing at Grand Prix weekends.

    I think the testing ban has added huge value to the sport for fans who shell out their hard-earned money to attend a race weekend.

  52. Non-Championship races – YES!!!!!

  53. Jonesracing82
    13th May 2011, 7:48

    i’d like to see a return of he old “BMW M1 Championship” for F1 drivers and/or Test Drivers, all inthe same car…

    1. Now we’re really in “pie in the sky” territory!

      I can just picture Norbert Haug letting Schumacher and Rosberg off to play in BMW supercars…

      1. LOL, as a side story to the DTM championship I guess. To welcome BMW back in there.

  54. Jonesracing82
    13th May 2011, 7:49

    they need to be televised as well :P

  55. Testing is what pushes innovation – it may not be the one single reason that does BUT it helps A WHOLE LOT. Why not allow it? Why ban it in the first place? If cost is the issue then things can be done to lower costs but still meet the need for testing.

    I agree with what the article said about having multiple teams practice on the same track – but non-championship races? No way. That, for me, would be a bigger ‘waste of money’. Teams will have a hard time testing new tech whilst racing and thinking of strategies. Teams that take it easy in those non-championship races will disappoint fans who in turn will just decide to stop watching.

  56. If we were to re-introduce non-championship races (an idea I like very much), there would have to be some reduction in the number of championship events. Otherwise, with 20 races on the championship calendar already, where would we squeeze the new races in?

    I propose that we revert to 17 official championship races, and the FIA/FOM could authorize 2 or 3 extra non-championship events, in countries that do not host a GP – which would be the two or three countries that will give up their GP, along with Portugal, France, Austria, Mexico, Argentina and South Africa – the only countries with a circuit that might be brought up to spec for F1 events. These should be rotating or bi-annual events, otherwise there will be pressure for them to become regular championship races. A January race in Argentina every other year (alternating with South Africa) would be lovely.

    Each non-championship race might have some particular feature that sets it apart from normal racing – some novel technical rules; a sprint and feature race; unlimited KERS; endurance race with two or more drivers – things which would differentiate the event as well as offer an opportunity for teams to try new kit and drivers.

    I hope this idea succeeds.


    The teams are looking set to reject the proposal of limited in-season testing.

  58. No, …………….because F1 needs testing and this isnt testing, this is F1 Lites and will attract no-one.
    Test on Mondays after a GP, no extra travel and little extra cost, make it available to testers and the GP drivers. ……………………..theeeen watch Schumi go well !!

  59. I can see why. The last three seasons have been absolute crackers, assuming this season continues as it has started.

    Nothing is broken, what are we trying to fix?

  60. I recognise a good idea when I see one.
    I would like to add that they use nice interesting tracks, mostly in Europe, specially Britain.

  61. I thought about running a b spec championship and run cars from a year or two ago, with the moto gp rules of not your current racing drivers. Although it wouldn’t allow you to really tweak the rules at all.

    I do like this idea but it would have to be run in non-f1 countries. Although with no development costs surely it could be run at cost or at profit for those involved??

  62. Better idea. Any team can test, full stop. However, they can only test on race weekends.

    In other words, if a team feels they can gain more by testing, then instead of going to a race weekend they have the time to spend at a test track.

    Think of the advantages. HRT decide to ditch the next couple of races to focus development, setup and testing mileage towards, say, the British GP. They come back at the British GP and find themselves 3 or 4 positions higher on the grid.

    Of course, it’ll be a big penalty financially for missing a race, sponsors arnt going to like that, so it would self police, and you wouldnt have teams missing more than a couple of races!

  63. I think this is a very very very good idea!!! it’s good for ypung drivers, good for the teams and their sponsors, and for FIA and not to mention, the fans!!! This might cost a little more tha nrunning a normal test, but there is also the possibilty to make some mony on such an event, TV-stations would for sure be interested!

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