F1 drivers look at the 2022 car model, Silverstone, 2021

No spectators or live television coverage at first test for new 2022 F1 cars

2022 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams’ new cars for 2022 will run together for the first time behind closed doors with no live timing or television coverage, the series has confirmed.

Considerable interest surrounds the first designs built to F1’s drastically overhauled technical regulations for 2022.

Pre-season testing for the new season will began with three days of running at the Circuit de Catalunya from February 23rd to 25th. However the track will not be open to fans and, unlike in recent years, the test will not be broadcast live.

F1 described the opening test as “a lower key, pre-testing track session” which will “[allow] the teams to shake down their all-new-for-’22 cars for the first time in the same place”.

So-called shakedown tests typically involve a limited amount of running over a single day. Mercedes has previously announced its new W13 will “be put through a shakedown programme to complete initial system checks on the Silverstone circuit” on February 18th.

The running in Spain “won’t feature live, race-style coverage or live timing, but will include content and best lap times at the end of each day” F1 added in its announcement.

Fans will be permitted to attend the second pre-season test in Bahrain, which will take place from March 10th to 12th. The second test will also be covered live on television.

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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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56 comments on “No spectators or live television coverage at first test for new 2022 F1 cars”

    1. Crazy! There’s so much interest in the new cars – the first time they are all in the same place at the same time and it’s in private.

      1. @keithcollantine will the press be there? Will there at least be indepth reporting?

        1. Yeah hopefully we will still at least get some pics of the cars. That would be great.

        2. I dont know what would stop them from using a stop watch

    2. I’m absolutely gutted. Had already booked my flight and hotel to Barcelona, just like every year I do since ´08.

      Cash is king and I’m afraid it’s turning into emperor.

      « Fans » in Bahrain test, what a yoke

      1. I totally agree. Have been going since 2009 and this is a key part of my F1 season. I just dont understand and while there are a few thousand who attend, I guess 10,000 – 20,000 over the three days, its again the messaging F1 is sending – sod the fans.
        After the debacle of Abu Dhabi, now this?
        Maybe its Le Mans this year and leave F1 to its own stuff.
        Very dissappointed and sadly becoming disillusioned.

  1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    26th January 2022, 14:40

    Wouldn’t be at all surprised if Mercedes complained to get this done to prevent another easy-spot of something like DAS. Kinda silly if you ask me: they get all this new ‘show and tell’ for upgrades on cars, but THIS is apparently too much.

    1. You seem to have dropped your toys. They’re quite a long way from your cot.

      1. @invisiblekid the problem is, everybody knows this particular poster is an extremely malicious troll, but Keith Collantine is deliberately ignoring any complaints about the conduct of this poster, no matter how much abuse they spew or how aggressively they threaten others, because it’s easier for him to ignore the issue.

    2. How is it having Mercedes living rent free in your head?

  2. One step forward, two steps back.

  3. Reason been that Bahrain wanted to host the official launch of F1 2022 & therefore paid to get the first test locked behind closed doors.

    I gather there will be a big launch event in Bahrain the day before the first day with much of the spectacle paid for by the Bahrain organisers.

    1. This was my first thought reading this… pretty pathetic of F1. We all want to see these cars on track. Come on!

    2. Perhaps there will come a day when European fans will decide to boycott F1, so they may hold all the races in the Gulf countries if they like. I understand the financial reality, but some decisions are really harmful to the sport and just maybe not everything should be for sale. What’s next, only Middle Eastern races will be broadcasted, since some despot’s decided to pay for some exclusive arrangement? Blah…

    3. Imagine to bring this concept to its extreme: money being paid to have closed doors+no tv coverage of entire weekends. Imagine this being done to all bar one or two races.
      apparently to kill the sport it’s just a matter of price

      1. @alfa145 isn’t this already in place. I think they call it Sky F1 channel.

  4. This was reported in Auto Motor und Sport a few months ago with the reason given in the article been that Bahrain had paid to host a launch event.

    If i remember correctly the article said they had originally pushed to host the first test but when teams insisted on the first test been in europe (For financial/logistical reasons) the Bahrain organisers instead pushed for the deal we have by offering money to host the launch event if the Barcelona test was closed to the public.

    1. I know its frustrating as a fan, but thats pretty fair. They paid for it, they should get it. The teams pushed for a European test, they got it too, but there are limitations. No one put a gun to anyone’s head, they all agreed to it knowing what they were getting into.

  5. If what @gt-racer says is true, it would seem Bahrain, and indeed the entire Middle East, has got F1 by the balls.

    Don’t be surprised if there are multiple Saudi races, heck, even an entire calendar of Middle East races, multiple Abu Dhabi Racing teams, and some such. We’re pushing for cleaner fuels and more social diversity while the sport keeps leeching off countries that pump out oil and human rights abuses by the bucket.

    1. Bah, you say that like its something new. This has been the way since Bernie built F1 in the first place. People want to say how Liberty has changed the sport, well not in the morals department. Without this “dirty” money Formula 1 doesn’t exist and never would have. Doesnt make it ok, but it has always been the basis of F1.

    2. I think this is a rich man sport as it always was so this is not something strange…

  6. We’ll see the new cars on track for the second test. What’s the urgency? I think the teams are entitled to doing the odd bit of stuff without the entire world watching. It’s not so long ago when first practice at round 1 was the first time you saw the new cars in anger.

    The risk is the more we know before the start of the season proper the less interesting it becomes. Brawn 2009 was a stunning result, totally telegraphed by pre-season testing.

  7. With all the rumours going around about the Bahrain payout thing, it’s hard to believe that’s that not the case. For all the good that Liberty Media has done to the sport, this is a move very close to what CVC used to do, and it just saddens me

  8. It was already a huge rip-off, they charged you 20 euros, no discounts for children or disabled people. Little to no services. Just you and an empty grandstand… So instead of making testing more appealing to those who could attend (I’m one!), they just don’t allow you to attend in the first place. Way to cut corners!

    Wonder how many fans will travel to Bahrain for testing…

  9. Even from a purely selfish perspective of Liberty, either Bahrain must be paying a lot of cash to get this or Liberty is shooting themselves in the foot. The first test after a major regulation change and people do not get to see it or even the live timings…

  10. Well, three more weeks before having to subscribe to F1TV…

    1. Don’t encourage them by doing it

  11. Cash is King. This absolutely reeks. Just when F1 needs a lift and to clean up its reputation it does this.

    1. And Sir Hamilton got criticised for saying exactly that; money rules in F1. And typical of F1, they do or say things without giving the reason(s), which of course fans fill that vacuum with all sorts of stuff. It’s a shame really.
      Sporting integrity, racing, application of rules; all are toss for the highest bidder!!!
      For those of us who thought F1 is first and foremost a sport, we can only dream it is actually so!

  12. I always feel like a bit of an idiot when I don’t know what the reasoning behind something is, and then it turns out the reason was money, it hurts just a little more each time.

  13. STRANGE !
    Either they wanna save money, or they fear too much excitement because of the new generation of cars

  14. Can we have a guest start of Kimi, at some stage ?

  15. The sport ended 2021 with ridicule and looks like 2022 is picking up where that season left off.

    What on earth has become of my beloved F1.

    Sad times.

  16. One thing I’m not clear on- if the official unveiling of the cars is in Bahrain, is F1 going to allow any photographs/videos of the cars at the Barcelona shake-down to be published?

    1. Most likely just artist renditions done by grid kids using official F1 paper and crayons.

      1. And the kids parents had better send some money to Liberty Media for that privilege.

  17. I’m disappointed with F1 for permitting this. The first time a team’s car goes onto the track is the only time we can see their own interpretation of the new rules. Once teams see how their competitors interpreted the rules and how the other cars run on the track, then one has to suspect each will modify their car to incorporate some of the elements from other teams’ interpretation of the rules.
    Every team will include someone with a camera that can take close up pictures of the cars, so this isn’t about keeping secrets from other teams. It isn’t about keeping secrets from the FIA. It is only about keeping secrets from fans.
    If Bahrain wants to hold the official opening of the season then let them, I don’t see why that means we have to get the FIA’s censored version of what happened at the first pre-season test.

  18. Then really who cares?

  19. disappointed in F1 for this.

  20. They cannot milk money in the tests from the fans and this is the reason that we will not see anything.

    1. Last time I was charged ~20€ for a general admission ticket.

      Yeah, just to watch the official testing session.

  21. This is the perfect opportunity for someone to make a live video feed somewhere outside the track. I don’t know how easy it is to go to circuit unnoticed but I bet someone will be there. Thanks to FIA

    1. @qeki If track area boundary walls have holes anywhere, one could watch through those.
      The unnoticed part, perhaps the south-west, west, & or north parts, might be easier.

  22. Live timing on F1.com, I suppose? Garages, Media Center, etc., of course, have live timing screens as per usual.
    What matters is the media are attending as always, taking footage, giving info, other stuff.

  23. A bit of a shame, but not overly surprised. Of course the money will take precedence, and while that’s a bit of a shame here, I don’t have a huge problem with it until it actually starts having a huge bearing on the sporting side of it (no, I’m not suggesting there was money involved in Abu Dhabi, so please keep that out of the discussion for my own sanity). The teams will still be testing, with an equal platform for all. There just won’t be as many cameras. And bearing in mind the first time testing was fully televised was only 2019 (I think), I don’t see this as a huge loss personally. We’ll still get an idea of the pecking order (or, the best idea you can get from testing times, being realistic), we just don’t have to sit there for 8 hours for 3 consecutive days to find it out. And lets face it, once the cars have been out on track for a bit (~1 hour), testing streams are never the most exciting thing in the world to watch. The highlight of testing for me is always the technical analysis.

    Below is an alternate, very sarcastic comment. Please do not take this seriously:

    Ahhh F1 has finally decided to listen to the fans. You want less show, more sport? How about all sport, and absolutely no show!!!!! Liberty have clearly listened to the fans and committed to maximum possible measures to implement their recommendations. Kudos.

  24. Whilst I’d love to see content from the first test as much as anyone, I don’t see any issue with the deal that has been done. The fact the F1 is doing a proper season launch is a great thing, and if Bahrain want to pay for the privilege to host it then so be it.

  25. Provided we get a detailed report each day, I’m sort of OK with this, but I’ll be disappointed if media like Keith are unable to be trackside to report on progress.

    I, like everyone else, want to hear about the new generation cars as soon as they hit the track, particularly if one team comes out of the blocks really well and others have a real struggle.

  26. Disappointing, but not the end of the world. Only thing I ever care about during testing is number of laps done. That’s the only real metric or number that matters for any team with their head screwed on. 3 words; correlation, correlation, correlation.

  27. Show a 3 lap farce at Spa on live television. Bar live television from the probably one of the most awaited pre-season tests. Typical F1 things!

  28. After the hit Liberty took in 2020 you really can’t blame them for maximising profits at every avenue. If they can sell exclusive rights to the ‘pre-season test’, in effect making it an ‘event’, then good on them.

    For sure calling Barcelona a “pre-testing track session” that allows the teams to “shake down” their cars feels like an insult to fan’s intelligence, but the reality is with the prospect of cancelled Grands Prix round every corner, then they don’t really have a choice.

  29. I heard it’s not a test but a rehearsal for the 2022 season.

  30. I’ve been attending a lot official testing sessions in Barcelona for the last ~20 years. I specially enjoyed ’07 on a wet track and… I don’t recall the year, there was a car that screamed louder than the rest of the pack, and afterwards I learned they used an old V10.

    I remember paying NOTHING to see them. Afterwards, you had to buy a ticket for 4€, IIRC. Then 5, 10, and the last time, (was it ’19?) I think I got charged 20€.

    Thanks FIA for barring me from watching the on-track action. For the sport sake, I really hope this is the way to go, but I think otherwise.

  31. Well less chance of Covid infections. We are still in a pandemic folks.

  32. Why?
    This is not about Covid.
    It’s something else…
    Are they afraid some teams are not 100% ready and the wheels will fall out of the cars…???
    It’s very strange…

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