F1 teams considering more young driver tests

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: F1 teams are considering bringing back some in-season testing.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

F1 teams ponder testing rethink plans (Autosport)

Sam Michael: “There has not been a vote yet. All they have done is put a few ideas out there about what you could potentially do, which might involve doing an extra young drivers’ test during the season.”

Formula One chiefs reject fighter jet pods for driver safety (Daily Mirror)

“Grand Prix aces have given the thumbs down to proposals to fit F1 cars with F16 fighter-style safety canopies.”

Whitmarsh looks to the future (F1)

“We had the tobacco era, then the automotive era, who were natural investors, and now we don’t have enough of them. We have Renault half in, we’ve got Mercedes and Ferrari, but actually we need to create an environment of governance, of regulations, of stability and entertainment which convinces the Hondas, Toyotas and BMWs that it was wrong to pull out and I believe that in time we will get them back and probably can add the Volkswagen/Audis, the Hyundais, whatever.”

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Comment of the day

Alianora la Canta gives an excellent explanation of why Paul di Resta is doing a better job than Adrian Sutil this year:

Paul would have finished ahead of Adrian (and scored some points) in Britain had it not been for a tyre mix-up in the pits due to Adrian having a puncture when Paul planned to pit. It affected both drivers but affected Paul a lot more. Had it not been for that, Paul would be beating Adrian in the race ratings.

A lot of Adrian’s points advantage is due to Monaco, where he was lucky to finish after crashing. While I maintain the car had damage prior to the crash from an earlier contact with Kobayashi, the fact remains that without the Safety Car Adrian would have had zero points instead of three, and possibly a non-finish.

What makes it worse for Adrian is that Paul is a rookie. As a general rule, rookies are not supposed to defeat drivers in their fifth year of competition that are on the way up, as this makes the rookie leapfrog the experienced driver in the consideration of team bosses.

The statistics in this case do not tell the full story, and that is why Paul is riding so high, relatively speaking, in reviews like this.
Alianora la Canta

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On this day in F1

Michael Schumacher took an easy win in the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours on this day in 2006.

Fernando Alonso finished second ahead of Schumacher’s team mate Felipe Massa.

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Keith Collantine
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53 comments on “F1 teams considering more young driver tests”

  1. IF there is a return of in season testing, it has to be fair accross the board. Whislt it will benefit the newbies, I feel that every team needs to be equal in this so that the top teams dont gain an unfair advantage. The likes of HRT, Virgin and Team Lotus need as much opportunity and chance as Red Bull, Ferarri and Mclaren. It’ll have to be very tightly regulated if it does come back.

    1. Big teams will always benefit the most from testing because it always costs money and needs staff and their time and big teams have more of all of those things. The relative opportunity cost will always be smaller for big teams even when its perfectly regulated. Nevertheless I’m still in favour of

      1. I don’t see where the costs really come from, ferrari own at least 2 tracks they could donate for 4 or so days of in season testing if they wanted costs keept low.

        The staff issue is the real joker since all the teams relatively recently had to get rid of all their testing teams and it’s unlikely they are going to be able to rehire them for only 1.1% of the year. That means the race teams will have more work to do which you know they will be ecstatic about. :P

        How ever it happens tho it’s a good idea and will hopefully avoid future karun chandhok incidents. that was massively unfair on a complete rookie.

  2. Michael Griffin
    16th July 2011, 0:17

    That Daily Mirror article says drivers have given the pods a “thumbs down”, but contains zero quotes from any drivers whatsoever.

    How do these people get paid?

    1. It’s a tabloid, nothing gets in the way of a story, they do it all the time for sports stories – football transfer gossip being the worst page filler nonsense.

      Then, you just have to look at the main headlines to see what goes on in these kinds of newspaper.

      *NotW and all the Murdoch empire bad press should see an end to them buying F1. ;)

      1. We can only hope. But CVC and Bernie have always maintained that the sport is not for sale. So even if the phone-hacking scandal never happened (or never game to light), Murdoch would not be able to buy the sport anyway.

        1. Haha! That’s true PM, that alone was, pretty much, a made up story itself. It’s amazing how they get into our heads, these tabloids…

    2. In another article I read its the FIA technical working group that tumbed down the canopy.

      I think its good to have a look at this, but agree with the worries about getting out (what if the car ends up on its roof?), parts then getting launched into the crowds and how to cool the air inside.

      Maybe having some kind of front protection with open sides would make more sense and be a tad more acceptable as it keeps the cockpist open-ish.

  3. Anyone know where I can get some UK based Force India team merch for my brother’s birthday?

    The ‘official FI site’ links to an Indian store and you have to pay a UK customs duty – to import the goods – how much is UK custom duty, the unkonown is slightly worrying me about ordering! :O

    1. Try the official F1 website

    2. There’s a few t-shirts and jumpers on amazon.co.uk

      1. Force India jumper?! Wow…

    3. Anyone know where I can get some UK based Force India team merch for my brother’s birthday?

      What? Get him Ferrari merchandise instead ;)

    4. Grand Prix legends might do it. Google them and have a butchers

    5. You might also give it a try on ebay – Force India team gear, although some of that might be from earlier seasons.

      Indeed it seems strange, but the only official place seems to be that Indian Reebok site.

  4. Whitmarsh talks and focuses wayyyyy too much on tangential business that has nothing to do with his team. I know he’s the head of FOTA, but I barely hear a squeak from other team managers, even the big ones, Brawn, Domenicali, Boullier, that doesnt have anything to do with their respective outfits and how to improve them, etc.
    Whitmarsh is always on a different tangent, talking about this, talking about that….Please guy, focus on ironing out the issues in McLaren and not about how the world perceives F1. Leave that to FOM.

    1. I guess he was speaking there mainly from his position as FOTA chairman.

      Oh, and we can forgive him for wanting to talk about that instead of answering questions about his own future at McLaren or their chances in the championship this year :-P

    2. And I read this as FOTA saying they see a need for CVC/FOM to start moving on new ideas to use what the teams have to offer (and get them more involved to promote it).
      I found this an interesting read with quite a lot of good points in it. Adam Parr said some things along that lines recently as well, not critisizing Bernie, but stating that the sport needs to go further ahead.

  5. If in-season testing were to return, then I think teams should be allocated a set number of days to do it. And that these days should be inversely proportional to championship position: the further down the order you place, the more days you get.

    1. I think it’s a good idea.

      But the obvious problem is getting the top teams to agree.

      1. The top teams don’t really need testing. But even under my idea, they’d still get time to test. They just wouldn’t get as much as others. The number of testing days would be decided by the end of season standings from the previous year. The schedule might go something like this:

        Red Bull – 3 days
        McLaren – 4 days
        Ferrari – 5 days
        Mercedes – 6 days
        Renault – 7 days
        Williams – 8 days
        Force India – 9 days
        Sauber – 10 days
        Toro Rosso – 11 days
        Team Fernandes – 12 days
        Hispania – 13 days
        Virgin – 14 days

        The teams would be free to use these allocations as they saw fit. The trick is in finding the time to do it because so many of the races are so close together, and the early season (when testing will have the most benefit) is dominated by flyaway races.

        1. So you want to artificially disadvantage the best team and give the small teams amounts of testing time they simply couldn’t afford. Sounds like a nice idea at first sight but I don’t think its a particularly good idea.

          1. So you want to artificially disadvantage the best team and give the small teams amounts of testing time they simply couldn’t afford.

            Why does the best team need more testing time? They’re the best team!

            As for the other teams, their testing day are theirs to use as they like. It wouldn’t be too expensive to set up a series of three-day tests.

            If you want a more simplified version, you could divide the teams up into brackets and give them all the same amount of testing time. Like this:

            Red Bull/McLaren/Ferrari – 4 days
            Mercedes/Renault/Williams – 5 days
            Force India/Sauber/Toro Rosso – 6 days
            Fernandes/Hispania/Virgin – 7 days

            That way, comparable teams have a similar footing.

          2. That would make it a bit more fair, yes, but the spectator point of view isn’t really applicable, is it? The viewer wants a close battle, so the teams who are not fastest should get some advantage to catch up. But is that fair? Also, just because a team was the fastest last season doesn’t mean they will be again this year. Look at 2008/09, the best teams of 08 where nowhere in 09 and those who were at the front in 09 would have still gotten more testing to extend their lead if you allocare the testing based on last years standings. And even if you could order the teams from fast to slow, it still wouldn’t be fair. It would be like saying Vettel leads by this many points, lets give Alonso an extra engine for the season or an extra set of soft tyres for the weekend. As much as I would like that, its not really fair. But then again, since when is F1 fair …

          3. @ bananarama –

            Also, just because a team was the fastest last season doesn’t mean they will be again this year.

            As these tests are done during the season, the amount of days given will be chosen according to the current standings.

          4. Its called handicapping and it is a useful tool in many sports, remember the best teams get most of the money(quite rightly) the lower ranked teams need some help to compensate. This is a subject with which PM and I are in total agreement.

          5. I wouldn’t call it handicapping but competitive distortion. If a team did a better job than the others that is unfortunate but it is no reason to resort to unfair means. The amount of grief the FIA got for the diffuser situation that seemingly disadvantaged the fastest team. This is pretty much a plot to formally regulate just the same kind of thing (yes i know its different but you get my point).

            @fixy: I was referring to PMs comment who said it should be derived from last years standings. If it was to be derived from current standings that would make it pretty much impossible to plan ahead for the season which would again disadvantage small teams more who can’t pay extra for short notice.

            To me the most useful regulation would be 6 days of testing during the season to be conducted after three of the races, same for everyone. That way all teams could plan ahead for it and sure Bernie can squeeze some tracks to give them 2 more days for free. (just ferrari should get 300 testing days since they have their own track :-P .. just kidding)

          6. competitive distortion? What’s that? Like handicapping?

            Don’t be daft dananarama, If all teams had the same money with the same facilities and were all on a level playing field, then you’d be right.

            But it isn’t a level playing field is it? You wonder why is it right for the lower teams to get an advantage? To which I can easily ask, why is it ok for the top teams to get an advantage then?

            Also @PM
            The correct term is “Team Lotus

            Although I think a far better way to even things up is to give the small teams a bigger share of the revenue F1 generates.

        2. But as this is for young drivers, new components should not be tested. There should be regulations like the current ones that prevent cars doing filming days to have new parts.
          And 14 days is too much. The first three should have 3 days, the second three 4, the third three 5 and the last three 6.

    2. Good thinking Batman!

    3. Hm, I do get the Idea. But wouldn’t it be just another form of success ballast?

      I would rather let the teams reserve 1-3 of their pre season testing days to be used during the season, if any.

      For me the fridays are the most sensible place, right in front of the crowds. Maybe have extra tyres (to help Pirelli with development as well), have a bit more session time.

      And maybe motivate teams to give their 3rd drivers some on track time (or make it mandatory to let them do a minimum amount of laps/season? Not sure about that).

  6. Selective quoting by the editor to push his national agenda :/

    1. You mean the COTD?

      I think its a nice example of showing how points/statistics cannot be the only way of defining how good a job a certain driver is doing.
      Myself, I in fact agree with Alianora la Canta, but I am far from a Scottish nationalist.

  7. A good time to test is after or before the mid summer break.With young drivers is not a bad idea but I would also like to see a day with their reserve or test driver.

    1. I actually like one of Bernie Ecclestone’s proposals from a while ago. One of the reasons why in-season testing was dropped was because it was so expensive. Bernie suggested that tests could be carried out on the Monday after a Grand Prix, which would almost completely cut out a team’s expenses.

      1. Wouldn’t work at street circuits (usually have to be operational by Monday morning), but on closed circuits I think there’s merit in that.

        1. It was never intended to be done at street circuits. There would either be a) a number of designated testing days set throughout the year at selected circuits (ie Barcelona, Silverstone, Monza) that all teams would participate at, or b) all teams are given a number of testing days to use as they like at a selection of circuits, the difference being that they can choose where they test.

          Naturally, Melbourne, Monaco, Montreal, Valencia and Singapore would not have tests because they are on public roads, though in the case of Valencia, teams could use Ricardo Tormo instead of the street circuit.

    2. You’re right, some teams have test drivers that are not the same as their young drivers, i.e. Coulthard-Red Bull, Gené/Fisichella-Ferrari, Paffett-McLaren, Senna-Renault, Chandhok-Lotus.
      Some already drive on Fridays, but the top teams never do so, sadly. I’ve never seen Fisichella in an F10/150° Italia, and would like to.

  8. In other news….

    Mike Coughlan and Williams are being sued by Micheal Waltrip racing.


    I guess this guy really has no scruples? (If it’s true)

    1. As with the Lotus vs. Lotus case, it will all come down to the contract. MWR claim Coughlan was in breach of his agreement with them. Coughlan evidently believes he had satisfied one of the criteria that allowed him to terminate his contract. This case will be settled by the circumstances in which Coughlan left MWR and the exact wording of his contract.

    2. Sounds more like a divorce.It boggles my mind to think of a F1 designer working on a Nascar team, what with Nascars 50’s architecture one design car, guess there might be avenues for invisible advantage the organisers never thought of. Anyway in America anything is good for a law suit and (monetary) settlement.

      1. Ending an employment contract early and wrongfully is a legitimate cause for a lawsuit. Particularly if it can be demonstrated that the employee leaving the organisation had a negative effect on it.

      2. My guess this is about confidentiality clauses, as normally the previous employer has to pay for his employee not being able to use all of his/her knowledge professionally during this time, while the employee normally has to sit idle.

        In this case it is evidently, that Waltrip will see some of his programs hampered by having to find a new director at short notice, and Coughlan is starting almost immediately at Williams. So he clearly does not count on some form of “gardening leave” in between to limit use of confidential information.

        Isn’t Waltrip the NASCAR team that operates that real sealed off tunnel for aero testing (remember that, we talked about that in the off season)?
        If so, Caughlan might have some information on that that might come in handy.

        1. sorry, that was Chip Ganassi testing in the abandoned tunnel – http://www.tunersgroup.com/TunerWire_Live/Ganassi_Racing_Tunnel.html

  9. I kinda hope the screens stay away, it would feel that much more impersonal…

    I know safety has to come first… But…

    1. I don;t think the screen was ever really a starter.

      Interesting how Lewis claims to have cancelled appearances in response to his rant about spending to much time doing non-racing stuff. He says he put his feet up and watched the telly?!

      Way to meet with engineers and do the simulator work Lewis.

      His sense of entitlement is beginning to get on my wick.

      1. Interesting how Lewis claims to have cancelled appearances in response to his rant about spending to much time doing non-racing stuff. He says he put his feet up and watched the telly?!

        Way to meet with engineers and do the simulator work Lewis.

        Lewis evidently felt that he was being overwhelmed by all of his commitments and needed time off to focus. It’s a bit like taking a holiday.

        1. Yeah exactly, he said he needed a couple of weeks away from all the sponsor work to focus on the next race weekend. He probably feels he’s not preparing enough for the GP’s hence spending time with the engineers is the best way to go about it, at least he’s being practical.

        2. Exactly. I can imagine that he felt like taking a few days off after the turmoil in recent weeks.

          Its great he had a good result in Silverstone, as it will be a far more positive break for him now.

          1. Yea it would have helped plenty. He’s only human after all. I’m sure McLaren sympathise, Lewis probably gets amongst the worst of it.

      2. Talk about looking for the negatives in every comment Hamilton makes. Here’s the quote in full:

        “Then I was supposed to be flying to India – in and out in a day – on Wednesday. Fortunately, that was cancelled. That’s good because I get to be in one place for a period of time to do some training and get my mind right for the next race. It’ll be great to get home and put my feet up and watch the telly.”

        1.) His initial rant was specifically about the amount of PR work he had to do.

        2.) The first thing he mentions in that quote is training. Not mentioning simulator work or meeting with engineers doesn’t mean it won’t be happening either.

        3.) He clearly talks about ‘putting his feet up at home’ in reference to the fact he’s never in the same place and so can’t do that. The fact that he’s wealthy or has an enviable job doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy such simple pleasures as much as anyone else.

        1. Talk about looking for the negatives in every comment Hamilton makes.

          It’s an attiude delivered to people by the British press. They want audiences to despise Hamilton because it helps them sell more papers whenever the publish something nasty on him. It’s the first rule of mass media: give the people what they want. Or in this case, it’s telling the people what they want and then giving it to them.

  10. If they want to help young drivers develop F1 skills, they should consider my suggestion to turn FP2 into a reserve driver only race. Boost track attendance on the Friday, as a bonus.

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