Ferrari change testing plan again after ‘rules clarification’

2012 F1 testing

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Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2012

Ferrari say they will revert back to their plan for this week’s test following a “clarification” of the rules.

Ferrari and Red Bull previously announced they would run from Friday 2nd to Monday 5th March at this week’s test, while the remaining teams would stick to the original dates of Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th March.

However Ferrari have now switched back to their original testing programme. The team said in a statement: “Based on a new clarification of Article 22.4 of the Sporting Regulations, which was sent to the teams late yesterday evening, it is no longer possible to run on Monday 5th March.”

The article governs what testing teams may do before and during an F1 season.

The statement continued: “As a result, the test schedule for Scuderia Ferrari and the other teams that had originally decided to follow this option now reverts to that of the majority, running from Thursday 1st March to Sunday 4th March.

“The order in which our drivers will be working remains unchanged: Felipe Massa will be at the wheel of the F2012 on Thursday and Saturday, with Fernando Alonso driving on Friday and Sunday.”

Update: Red Bull have also confirmed they will revert back to the original testing dates of 1st to 4th March.

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Image © Jamey Price/F1 Fanatic

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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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52 comments on “Ferrari change testing plan again after ‘rules clarification’”

  1. A day less to make all the parts they wanted to test. And more teams around to look at what they are doing.

    Amazing that even these testing rules are complicated enough to need clearing up this shortly before the final week of testing!

    1. A day less to make all the parts they wanted to test.

      They’re going to be busy during practice in Melbourne…

      1. Which can only be good news for fans looking forward to seeing a lot of cars on track come FP1/FP2!

        1. @BasCB And probably a lot of head scratching on the pit wall!

          1. @mattg21, no the BBC will not show either FP session, just the extended highlights on Sunday. Not sure about radio5live though.

  2. Sounds like this is the FIA trying to stop teams from holding private tests without a good reason.

    1. indeed it does.

    2. Yes, its true. Anyway Ferrari really needed this day because of its problems with the new car, they must need more time to develope new parts and components as the new car seems to be very problematic.

      What is complicated for me is to understand why RB needed another day to test alone, perhaps due to a problem they try to hide or simply its part of the strategy of the team.

      1. Probably trying to keep parts a secret. The FIA evidently feels that this is not a justification for a private test.

    3. Certainly. If a team has its car released and the car is capable of running, there is no excuse not to make the pre-planned test days. To be fair, I’m surprised even Mercedes got dispensation- it was their choice to launch the car when they did. I am glad that teams with misfortune get the chance to make back the days though, otherwise it could risk derailing a teams entire season.

      1. To be fair, I’m surprised even Mercedes got dispensation- it was their choice to launch the car when they did.

        Mercedes’ private test might have been what altered the FIA to the practice in the first place.

        1. And then attention was probably further drawn by Red Bull asking to go a day late too.

        2. Very good point.

    4. If so, I’m with FIA.

      1. I’m also with the FIA, but why is this ‘clarification’ issued so late?

        These kind of things should be decided in Novemeber or December by the FIA but they’re obviously too busy. To be expected from this organisation to be honest.

        1. I’m also with the FIA, but why is this ‘clarification’ issued so late?

          Because Ferrari and RBR interpreted the rules wrongly by assuming the last week before race week begins on the 12th whereas it should be 5th. So don’t blame FIA at all for this …

  3. Is there a possibility to see this statement? This is the part of the regulations:

    “22.4: No track testing may take place :
    a) Whilst a Championship Event is taking place.
    b) During the month of August except under c) iv) below.
    c) Between the start of the week preceding the first Event of the Championship and 31 December of the same year with the following exceptions : […]”

    So I guess the FIA has clarified that March 5th belongs to “the week preceding the first Event” (calendar week 10), while calendar week 11, starting March 12th, is actually the week of the first Championship Event.
    That also means that Red Bull is not allowed to test on that day. It has nothing to do with the topic of “private tests”.

    1. You’re right. Otherwise the last test could’ve simply taken place between 8th and 11th of March.

      1. Well, apart from logistics in getting everything and everyone to Melbourne, yes.

    2. Tom Haxley (@)
      28th February 2012, 10:04

      So I guess the FIA has clarified that March 5th belongs to “the week preceding the first Event” (calendar week 10), while calendar week 11, starting March 12th, is actually the week of the first Championship Event.

      Good find, I think thats spot on.

    3. Your right there. What it also means is that Lotus will not be able to catch up on any of what they missed last week unless they are testing tomorrow.

  4. I think RBR are going to be very unhappy about this

    1. Yes, they still have to show their final exhaut layout.

      1. exactly, they’re a team that like to play their cards close to their chest and now they have to reveal their hand sooner then they’d like.

  5. Ferrari and Red Bull previously announced they would run from Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th March.

    so why would they care if they cant run on March 5? They didnt even plan to run on that day. doesnt make sense.

    1. There was a typo, corrected now.

  6. It was just another attempt by Ferrari to push the rules to the limit and to try to show the other teams that Ferrari can circumvent the rulebook. It would be interesting to know who made the first call, Red Bull or Ferrari, and who chose to follow suit…
    This time the FIA has not buckled and by sending out a defined clarification they have told all teams that there are rules, which apply to all teams. Ferrari and Red Bull included.
    What has happened to HRT, did they get the crash test pass to enable testing this weekend?

    1. HRT passed the tests early this week and might be showing at the next test with their 2012 car.

    2. Ferrari have kept well within the rules for some time now. It has been the other teams who have attempted to push the rules more recently. Redbulls flexi wing, brawns double diffuser, Mclarens Fduct and RBR’s blown exhausts and ECU. Those all forced the FIA to investigate and in some cases clarify the rules.

      Ferrari on the other hand has come out with a few out of the box solutions in the past few years, but almost all of them were shut down by the FIA and they were not allowed to use them. I can imagine that being pretty demotivating for the people who develop those inventions and the lack of motivation might even be why Ferrari has not had a good car for a while .

    3. Think RBR started it by trying to setup the test first, then Ferrari joined.

      Not sure what you mean by “out of the box” that would normally mean standard, but i get what you mean, and yes its demoralising but if you are pushing the rules you should expect it likely banned!

      1. Tom Haxley (@)
        28th February 2012, 12:05

        “outside of the box ” i guess :)

      2. Yeah sorry, that is what I meant :)

        My comment is more a response to the OP who said “just another attempt by Ferrari to push the rules” as if pushing the rules was a Ferrari exclusive.

      3. No, Ferrari was first to plan this and Red Bull asked them for permission to join, which Ferrari agreed to (but now the FIA warned them that really will be considered an infringent of the testing ban, I guess)

  7. I really don’t think that Red Bull and Ferrari had some devious plan to try out some new parts that would say ‘change-the-game’. In any case i really doubt whether any team can replicate something as complex as an exhaust layout within a week just by seeing it in action. A case in point is the Octopus exhaust which Mclaren could not get right with so much design and testing.

    1. Mclaren did it last season! they came to first race with an exhaust which hasn’t been tested before!

      1. They had to. Their octopus exhaust was a disaster and so the only option was to develop a new one. That the system performed well was a surprise but I am sure they would always have a plan B for such situations.

      2. Plus they copy Red Bull exhaust system

    2. yes of course they copied RBR’s, but my point is that they did get it right without a test and just by seeing it on red bull.

      1. I am not so sure they really copied it. They might have been thinking about that somewhat simpler concept before, but had decided to try and make the octopussy thing work.

        That explains why they were able to grasp how to make it work right fast enough. The biggest disadvantage at that point was probably having little setup experience and the added weight of the titanium diffusor.

  8. I find RBR’s approach to testing and “protecting their car” from cameras with mechanics somewhat tiresome. They should change the rules to prevent teams from hiding their cars when testing and at the Grands Prix.

    1. Tom Haxley (@)
      28th February 2012, 12:06

      Yea I always found that weird, considering what photographers can do on the first corner with a zoom lens….

      protecting it in the pits is a bit silly soon as its out on track its there for all to see.

    2. I really can’t stand watching redbull mechanics standing like bouncers behind the car on grid anymore!

  9. The FIA is over doing things. So long as teams don’t exceed their test quota, they should be able to do as they like. Having other teams interfere with your routine, is not the best way to calibrate a new car or solve teething problems.
    The FIA sanctioned test days are to save the teams cost and have nothing to do with fairness. If Ferrari had something to hide, they’d have been pushing to test on their race track.
    I want to run fast and I don’t want anyone knowing how fast or slow I am. Why should that be a problem?

  10. What is the point of this “clarification”? Is there an air freight issue (meaning the teams’ equipment starts getting transported on the 5th)? If so, this makes sense, otherwise the teams who did better last year could get an advantage due to their equipment being freighted by Bernie Air slightly later (Bernie Air only has a limited number of planes and last year’s finishing position determines who goes when).

    1. If that’s not the explanation, I’d still love to know what the real one is, just for the sake of comprehension.

  11. I support this FIA decision. I actually believe teams shouldn’t be allowed to have private / separate tests. It’s much more interesting for fans to follow the open tests where one can watch all cars at the same time.

    1. Indeed. If only we could actually watch the cars ;)

      FOM could make even more money (god forbid) by having a few cameramen around the track and charging $5 a day to watch the stream to a global audience.

      I really don’t understand why they haven’t done this? Has it got something to do with the teams being tetchy about images of their cars braking down or chasis failing? If I were a sponsor I would welcome more exposure of my logos regardless.

      1. @John-H At least we have lots of pictures on F1F and live coverage (text only) :)

        But you’re right, I’d also be ready to pay some tiny amount to watch testing LIVE. I can think of just two logical reasons why FOM don’t do that – 1) They don’t believe there is enough demand (although fans’ activity on the web seem to prove the opposite) 2) They simply always keep fans wanting more, that makes them excited :p

      2. FOM could make even more money (god forbid) by having a few cameramen around the track and charging $5 a day to watch the stream to a global audience.

        FOM do have a few cameramen at the track, They just don’t show it livem Just produce some small highlights for the news people.

        Broadcasting testing is something that was seriously looked at but ultimately it was decided it woudn’t be worth the cost of transporting the full set of TV equipment/crew & paying for the satellite time as very few people would watch it.

        Something else that went into the decision is how these test’s play out. Its not like free practice where you pretty much constant running, You have big portions of these test’s where nothing happens, you can sometimes get an hour or more of cars doing slow laps & just gathering aero data, This doesn’t translate well to live TV.

        Another issue was that we were flat out told by teams we woudn’t be allowed to run onboard cameras on any of the cars because of the various testing devices they run which are usually installed via the camera mounts.

  12. Tighten up the damn rules for 2013. These are the days and if you can’t make too bad. If your new stuff is good enough to not test it then bring it to Melbourne and best of luck to you.

    Time to solve the entire problem by allowing specific testing days during the season with intent to provide safer and tested solutions to those who try to improve the quality of competition.

    So what if they have to spend money doing this…it is Formula One and the teams spend the money anyway.

    Maybe some wise tech guy can figure something out that will enhance the performance of his teams car so that attacking and closing the deal on approach to slower cars will in time send the letter of doom to DRS and its complete stupidity.

    Wouldn’t that be better for all of us…allow the teams to do what they do best, build better race cars.

  13. Well I Think Ferrari and Red Bulll Both Should Be Aloud To Test Becasue Mercedes Did It

  14. Can someone post Article 22.4? I’d like us to be able to read what it says here.

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