Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Vettel keen for more variety in F1 testing venues

2020 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel says he would appreciate a change from Formula 1’s regular venue for pre-season testing, the Circuit de Catalunya.

[f1tv2020testa]The track outside Barcelona has become F1’s regular home for pre-season testing. Vettel, who is starting his 13th full season of F1, stressed he enjoys the track, but said he is also keen for some variety.

“I’d probably enjoy testing on a different track,” said Vettel. “Nothing against Barcelona. But it’s just we’ve been here for so many times.

“I don’t mind, it’s quite a challenge for the drivers to explore the car together with the engineers. I enjoy that part of the job as well. As I said if it wasn’t always for the same corners, then maybe [I’d enjoy it] a bit more. But it’s part of the drill.”

The last track other than the Circuit de Catalunya to hold a pre-season test for the full field was Jerez in 2015. Paul Ricard, which returned to the F1 calendar in 2018, has been mooted as a potential alternative.

However there would be drawbacks in visiting the French circuit instead, according to Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost.

“I prefer here,” he said in Spain last week. “Ricard from the corners, from the surface, it’s not so optimal as here in Barcelona.

“And the weather it could be good there but I have been a couple of times in Ricard with very, very cold [conditions]. The Mistral [wind] in summer, it looks like in winter as well, but very cold and I didn’t have so good experience in the past.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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17 comments on “Vettel keen for more variety in F1 testing venues”

  1. The thing about Paul Ricard is that you could potentially use a different layout every day.

    You could have the GP circuit one day, one with a focus on top speed (Full Mistral straight), another day a more twisty layout and so on.

    Teams could test more setups, but at the same time they wouldn’t test as much on the GP layout, so when the French GP comes by they don’t have as much data to work with

    1. Best they test wet tyres at Paul Ricard i hope they are going to do that.

    2. That would be cool. But now the safety becomes an issue. Imagine a driver going flat out the mistral straight through the chicane and the other going around the chicane and they meet in each other’s pathway. It would be quite dangerous considering how drivers can barely stay out of each other’s way on a normal track when one is on a hot lap and the other is on a cooldown or outlap.

      1. That is not what he meant. He meant 1 day the chicane gets used by everybody, and the next day everybody just uses the extended straight – not using any layout you want at any given time.

  2. They could test at Fiorano

    1. Ferrari would never allow that.

      1. and Fiorano is tiny. Tauri went to Misano. Barcelona is absolutely perfect for the whole grid, perfect in many ways. Portimao is the next obvious option but it’s a lot farther from Barcelona, trucks would take an extra 12h to get there.

  3. Yes, I know the reason(s) for not going there, but for ‘once,’ I wish the Yas Marina Circuit would be used for this particular purpose since the Bahrain International Circuit has already been in use for pre-season testing purpose. Testing at YMC in February and racing there 9 to 9 and half months later for a single year.

  4. As I said in another article, I think the pre-season tests should take place on a track not on the schedule. And they have a choice of venues to choose: Jerez, Hockenheim, Magny Cours, Vallenlunga, Donington Park and others

    1. Donington?! That’s nowhere near the required standard. Plus the noise limits make it impossible.

      “TEST DAYS: Testing of motorsports vehicles is permitted on up to 2 days per week throughout the year between the hours of 9am and 5pm or dusk, whichever is earlier.

      “Such Motorsport Testing is not subject to noise limits.

      Test Days cannot be consecutive, cannot take place on weekends or Bank Holidays and cannot take place on the day immediately before or after a Race Day. For information, testing normally takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

      Most circuits have similar problems.

      1. That’s not “nowhere near” – grade 2 is just 1 below the required rating to hold a race. It would be fine for testing.

    2. @photogcw as Dave notes, several of those circuits that you list are currently not homologated to F1 testing standards – Donington Park and Vallelunga are both Category 2 venues.

      As he rightly notes, you also have the problems with noise restrictions that limits when circuits can hold tests and how long those sessions are. Even most venues which hold Grand Prix are impacted by noise restrictions – Silverstone, for example, has rather strict restrictions – and it is not that long ago that Spa-Francorchamps even had their licence temporarily revoked for repeatedly exceeding noise emissions.

      That’s not to say it is impossible to use other venues, just that it would probably take more careful consideration of which venues to use, particularly as that circuit might have to sacrifice other events (a number of venues are also limited in terms of the total number of days per year that they can set aside to testing).

  5. Vettel seems a bit optimistic, will he still be in a racecar in 2021?

  6. Phillip Island. If you’ve ever seen it you would be able to appreciate how awesome a F1 car would be around there. Close to Melbourne too ;)

  7. If it wasn’t for safety / distance issues, Interlagos would be excellent. It’s the hottest time of the year, ( in a weather Similar towhere most of the races happen) in a grade A circuit which is in the calendar. And probably the grandstands would have more people too.

  8. If F1 truly wants to grow the sport in new regions then they should be taking testing each year to a country that doesn’t hold a race.

    There are plenty of options out there for tracks to use that don’t hold F1 races. South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina, Portugal, South Korea, India, Qatar Thailand, Czech Republic, San Marino, Malaysia, the list goes on.

  9. Portimão would be great. Weather like should not be too different from Barcelona and I’d say even better.

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