Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Three days won’t be enough to test new 2022 cars, say teams

2022 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams say the sport will have to increase the amount of pre-season testing next year when it introduces new technical regulations.

The sport delayed the introduction of new rules by one year to 2022 as a cost-saving measure due to the pandemic. It also permitted teams to carry over their most recent cars to this season with minimal changes.

This meant the amount of pre-season testing this year could be reduced from the normal six days to just three. However several teams have indicated that will not be enough time to run in their 2022 cars.

“Next year we have a new car and therefore I don’t think that three test days will be enough,” said AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost in response to a question from RaceFans. “But we have to find a good balance between the number of the days and the costs because 2022 will not be quite cheap and therefore we have to take everything into consideration.”

Aston Martin CEO Otmar Szafnauer is also keen to see more testing scheduled for the 2022 F1 season.

“Like Franz says we’re going to have an entirely new car next year and that should go into considering where and for how long we test next year,” he said. “I think three days was appropriate for this year with what happened in 2020, the pandemic and reducing the amount of development in the car.”

Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski wants next year’s testing schedule to be “closer to what we had in the past – somewhere between four and six [days], but closer to six, I would say.”

This year’s pre-season test was relocated from Spain to Bahrain when the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix meant the Middle Eastern circuit took over the season-opening round of the championship.

Budkowski said the cost advantage of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya could outweigh the benefit of the warmer and more reliable weather teams usually experience in Bahrain.

“There’s advantages to be testing here [in Bahrain] obviously, the weather, although you can have a sandstorm. But it’s far from [our] base, it’s more expensive and it’s more complicated for the logistics.

“Spain is much easier, in terms of logistics it’s cheaper. But especially this year with three days of testing, it’s good that we had three solid days of decent weather. Even the sandstorm wasn’t that bad, actually.”

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25 comments on “Three days won’t be enough to test new 2022 cars, say teams”

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if pre-season testing returned to Circuit de Catalunya or Europe in general (I’d prefer some other track for a change), even if next year’s campaign were to also commence in Bahrain.
    Perhaps six days like in 2019, or four.

    1. More five days (Mon-Fri) is the planning. But i would rather go to the France circuit Paul… as you can even test wetmode there.

      1. It’s better for the season if they cannot test everything (like wet conditions). @macleod
        Testing should be primarily for reliability and uncovering major flaws.

      2. @macleod Circuit Paul Ricard, yes. I wouldn’t mind Jerez, Valencia, or even Aragon either.

      3. Gavin Campbell
        23rd March 2021, 11:45

        Yes use Paul Ricard as a test track (you know what its meant to do) and lets pick a better circuit in france for the grand prix – cracking idea.

      4. Five days is the planning? What’s your source given that it seems from the team principals quoted above there is no plan set yet and they are only suggesting 3 days isn’t enough.

        1. robbie Not what i wanted to write but they want longer but not to long so 5 days as a suggestion.

          My english was not that good and came out wrong.

          1. @macleod Thanks and no worries. As I have said before your English is way better than I would manage in your native tongue as I only know English and a very tiny bit of French.

    2. ‘2020’

    3. Given the whole point of 2022 testing being more critical, it is way more beneficial for the teams to use Circuit de Catalunya where they have years of data and knowledge. They need to remove as many external variables as possible to concentrate on only the cars.
      Even if you would prefer to see something different, the teams don’t.

      1. All the more reason to take what the teams want away from them.
        The more data they have on their cars and performance, the more boring F1 has become.

      2. @eurobrun An excellent point as to why they should go to Spain.

  2. What’s wrong with being less prepared? See also sprint races reducing practice time?

    1. @falken
      It’s wrong, because it favors those with more sophisticated simulation tools (like simulators). Those teams have a whole team doing development work in the simulator and do thousands of laps around a track, before they’re even there and already arrive with a complete set-up for the race weekend.
      There are still teams who don’t have simulators and rely on their connections with big teams (Alfa & Haas to Ferrari, Alpha Tauri to RB, Aston Martin to Mercedes) to use their simulators.

    2. The fact that you’re asking the question is what’s wrong. This is a championship– Who can build and race the best car, and who is the best driver.

      Name another sport where the competitors aren’t allowed to train or practice.

      It’s ridiculous. We’re putting drivers into cars capable of over 200 MPH, with incredibly complex power systems, and telling them, “oh yeah– you get 12 hours to get used to the car before the first race”.

      You take the best drivers in the world, in the best cars, sort them out by performance before the race, add aerodynamics that make overtaking nigh impossible, and then wonder why the racing is boring? Then the “solution” is to make the drivers less prepared to drive the car and the track?

      Why not take it to the extreme? Drivers are blindfolded and not allowed near the track until lights out for Qualifying.

      I don’t want a spectacle. I don’t want “fair” racing. I want to see the best drivers in the world, in the best cars technology can create, competing for the world titles, without any gimmicks handicapping them.

      The FIA and Liberty keep lurching back and forth between “whiz! Bang! Pow!” and “we’re a serious motorsport”– and you can’t be both. PICK ONE.

      Oh– and nearly every single cost-saving measure since 2009 has benefited the teams that spend money. That includes reducing testing. They’re just increasing the gap between the haves and the have-not-quite-so-muches.

  3. You’d think they’d want split testing as well so they have time to get back to their respective factories and address any shortcomings exposed in their first round of testing

    Two lots of 3 days at a minimum would seem reasonable. Otherwise there could be a real risk of some teams being hugely off the pace.

    1. I think two lots of three days would be ideal for testing in 2022. I enjoyed the Friday, Saturday, Sunday format as it allows me to follow testing more closely (as opposed to it being during the workweek.)

      As far as location I would nominate Algarve or Jerez since the teams have some historic data from those tracks to compare with, the climate is favourable at this time of year, and the location is within Europe — not just that it’s in Europe but most importantly those two tracks are about equidistant from all team factories which means shuttling spare parts or new parts to test in the second 3-day stint would not be such an economic burden to any one team.

  4. If you take a step back it is pretty ridiculous to have any sport where you can only practice for 3 days a year. Simulators and general fitness are fine but it must be strange for the drivers to hardly get any practice outside of race weekends, and even those they want to cut back.

  5. @dbradock No point in having a gap if the number of overall days is three. Two three-day stints (2020) or two four-days (2016-2019), yes, but definitely consecutive days with anything less than six days overall.

    1. @jerejj – what I said was two lots of 3 days with a gap in between. 2 week gap would be ideal.

      I’d prefer two 4 day tests but with cost capping and Liberty unwilling to subsidise testing to ensure all the teams start 2022 on the right foot I don’t see it happening.

      Three days is just not enough time – all the modelling in the world won’t beat real live on track verification of the new designs. I’m sure they’ll all be much better at mastering ground effects than back before they were banned, but if a team get it wrong, it’ll be hopelessly outclassed and potentially prone to flying off the track at speed.

      1. @dbradock The amount of days last year between day three and day four is okay. Two weeks would be unnecessarily long for this purpose.

      2. @dbradock I agree with you about two 3 or 4 day lots of testing with a gap in between be it a week or two. Just curious though did Liberty actually say they were unwilling to subsidize testing? Not doubting you if you’ve actually seen/heard them say that, and I suppose I wouldn’t be surprised since I don’t think F1 has ever subsidized testing that I’m aware of. Or perhaps they have done so for Pirelli testing? Not sure.

        Anyway, subsidized or not I would like to think it is common sense that the teams have more than just one 3 day test given the enormity of the changes and Liberty’s desire for a more level Championship. To me 3 days would advantage those with more resources over the lesser teams, not that 6 days would disadvantage them, but at least it would give lesser teams more time.

        1. Hey @robbie good question. I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere where it was suggested around the time budget caps got discussed and was quickly put to bed.
          I could be entirely wrong though but yes I agree that there really needs to be two test sessions before next season starts.

  6. John Ballantyne
    23rd March 2021, 11:57

    Of course it will take more than three days to test a brand new design. It takes 8 months for General Motors to do it!

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