Ocon: February testing cut “a big problem” for some drivers

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon says it was important for him to get two days of testing in the Renault because of the reduction in pre-season testing next year.

What they say

Ocon, who will return to F1 next season following a year out, drove for Renault in both days of the post-season test at Yas Marina:

That’s crucial and definitely is going to help me massively because you arrive to testing in February with an advantage because you have your position fixed, you have things that you’ve verified on track, which is great to have the chance for that.

For me, I didn’t get much driving time this year, and to have even less days in February it’s a big problem. So to have those two days here, basically a counter for the days we are lacking in February,

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Is it possible to rate George Russell’s efforts this year compared to his rivals given how un-competitive his car was??

I think he should just be in a new position called ‘unrankable’ – it’s completely impossible to know how well he did. We’re really basing his performances off of last year in F2 when he was better than Norris and Albon.

I fear that next year will be another resounding victory over Latifi, and again, somewhat difficult to know how good he actually was.

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  • 18 comments on “Ocon: February testing cut “a big problem” for some drivers”

    1. Is Nick Cester about ruin his good name by joining Williams? As one of their stalwarts, I am surprised he left Renault. With bill and that to pay, I know everyone needs a job, but going to Williams in its current state is a bit a risky gamble. I mean, they’ve pretty much demonstrated with Paddy that they aren’t afraid to throw their Technical Director under the bus.

      Rob Smedley probably saw this $@itstorm on the horizon..

      1. Given Renault’s employee drive of late, I doubt it was his decision to leave. To be honest Williams can’t go any further down, there’s great gains to be made. It’s a good move for someone who believes they can make a difference. Move to Mercedes at the moment and the only place they can go is stay on a plateau or go down…

        1. Ross, I totally agree. If he moves to Williams and brings them up he looks the hero but if Williams stays on the back row and they drop him he can say it’s the broken system within the team and point to other smart engineers before him. I wish him all the best and hope he’s successful.

          1. Fair points from the both of you.

            I hope I’m wrong, but I really doubt Williams will turn things around in a big way next year. They were so far back this year, with rules being steady for 2020, it’s highly unlikely. if NC does go there, he will be entirely focused on 2021, at least I hope he will be. Williams should more or less write off 2020.

            1. Why not, @jaymenon10, the rest of us already have. ;-)

            2. Didn’t get to read the article but I’d assume there’s mandatory gardening leave that means he won’t start until around when James Key did at the earliest. At that point it’s virtually impossible for him to influence the 2020 car.

      2. Paddy Lowe is a very clever man, but he’s no leader. I think he got himself in way too deep. He couldn’t operate without the resources he was used to at Mercedes.

        This is a pivotal time for Williams – they have to find cash for the 2020 car and develop the 2021 car before the cap comes in. It must be hail Mary time at Grove.

    2. Interesting comment from Ocon.

      I’d think the testing cut would be even more disadvantageous for the lower end teams as well – there’s nothing like track time to iron out issues. It’ll be interesting to see whether some teams will be in complete disarray come Melbourne.

      1. I think there are pros and cons to testing cuts for small teams. Fewer days = less money spent. While it does reduce the chance to find/iron out issues, small teams don’t always have the ability to rapidly respond to needed changes either.

        Like most things, big teams tend to benefit from more of something (testing, or anything else). And big teams will make the most of less testing, too.

    3. Nice Renault video and interesting glimpse into the unsung world of the mechanics.

    4. I doubt having six days of testing before the season would make that huge difference to having eight days. There’s only a difference of two days after all, so not exactly a significant decrease.

      BTW, I like the Renault-tweet and how it shows the sunset and the subsequent twilight-phases.

      I thoroughly agree with the COTD. Very difficult to precisely rank him given the competitiveness of the machinery at his disposal.

      1. @jerejj I am with you on testing – 6 days to 8 days – not much difference. BUT – since there will be budget caps soon – would that not be a good time to end the testing restriction, let teams test as much as they like as long as it is covered in the cost cap.

        Just a thought

      2. @jerejj, The smaller the amount of test days you have, the more critical it becomes if you have even a minor issue during testing – losing one day would mean losing one sixth of your pre-season allocation, making it much harder to recoup any lost mileage over the remaining five days (compared to having seven days to catch up over in previous years).

        Furthermore, let us say that a team will want to cover the equivalent of about a race distance – say, 70 laps per day – with each driver: that was, at the very least, the sort of testing mileage that Ferrari and Mercedes averaged, with most other teams averaging about 50-60 laps per driver per day (i.e. not far off a full race distance per day for each driver).

        That means drivers would be losing roughly 100-140 laps worth of running – for most drivers in 2019, that would be a minimum reduction of 20-25% of their total testing mileage for the pre-season. For a driver like Norris, who was hit by a few more issues and only managed about 400 laps in the two pre-season tests this year, that would have taken 30% of his mileage away – hardly ideal preparation if you are a rookie driver trying to learn a car for the first time.

        Reducing from eight to six days might only be a two day reduction, but percentage wise that is a 25% reduction in pre-season testing time – when you look at it in percentage terms, it’s a major cut.

    5. re. COTD
      I don’t see the need to have a special classification for Russell.
      In the end, there are 10 different cars and still we compare Max with Lewis and Ricciardo with Vettel.
      With less video evidence of overtaking and defending it is more difficult to judge Russell vs the front runners. But overall I feel comfortable to place him (and Kubica) somewhere in the pack and know that to my judgement I’m roughly right.

      If you want perfection you should not enter in ranking the drivers or stick with 10 rankings; one for each car (or 11 if you want to believe some of the rumours about Williams).

    6. We NEED that drone footage in F1, even if they don’t fly over the track itself for safety, just round the run-offs. Sooo much better than the helicopter and trackside statics!

      1. @webbo82 agreed. Shots like the last one where he boots it into the horizon would win far more new fans than Take Me Out titles and snazzy orchestral theme music!

    7. Regarding cord, we already know that from fastest to slowest, over 1 lap, the drivers would barely be spread over 1s, so we can easily tell that the best way to rank them is by fewer major mistakes compared to more.

      Russell, even with the most difficult car in the field, barely made any mistakes, especially compared to his more experienced teammate, who crashed the car once in preseason testing and then 3 more times in Australia(and then went on to complain vociferously about the lack of spare parts).

      Russell also tested very well when given the opportunity by the factory Merc team.

      There is always room for improvement, but it is clear to anyone paying attention that Russell had a fantastic 2019, very similar to Alonso’s first F1 season at Minardi.

    8. I wonder if teams will copy Ferrari’s plan and run two cars in testing?

      Mileage before Melbourne is key, Ocon for a few races will say that he’s rusty.

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