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Teams brand Mugello test a waste of time and money, as Alonso crashes
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Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 May 2012   |  2:32 pm GMT  |  170 comments

[Updated] “It’s very beautiful and the food is very good, but we are spending a lot of money and honestly we didn’t feel the need to come here,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner when asked about the usefulness of testing at Mugello in Tuscany.

Lotus boss Eric Boullier described the test as “money spent needlessly” while one of Mercedes’ senior engineers told Gazzetta dello Sport, “I wonder about the sense of having just one test session during the season. Either we do more tests or we forget it.”

Mark Webber meanwhile said, “It would be amazing to hold a Grand Prix here, but it’s too fast for a test; in the calendar there isn’t another track like it.”


Some of the teams are complaining, but the drivers on the whole have been having a ball on the 5.25km Mugello track, which is in one of the most beautiful parts of Italy, near Florence. The circuit has many high speed corners and is a thrill to drive in a modern F1 car, according to most of them. “Spectacular”, “Incredibly fast” and “Stunning” are just some of the reactions from the F1 drivers at the test. Mugello has an average lap speed of 138mph.

But they will also admit that there has been a limit to the value that the engineers have been able to derive from testing new parts on their cars on this atypical circuit.

The logical thing to do would have been to test at Barcelona this week and then leave the trucks and equipment down there for next week’s Grand Prix, which is what the teams used to do in the early 2000s. This made for rather dull Spanish Grands Prix as everyone had such a good set up for the race and the order was entirely predictable. But at least Barcelona is representative of what the teams will face for most of the season in terms of the variety of corners. Mugello only prepares them for Spa and to half of Silverstone.

Also with the young drivers’ test set for Silverstone in July this test isn’t the only opportunity the teams have to test updates on their cars during the season. So it’s importance and relevance is diminished compared to what they expected.

Today Fernando Alonso got his hands on an updated Ferrari with a new rear wing, rear bodywork and new exhausts, but then crashed it. He went off, damaging the nose section of the car, which came to rest with its left side in the barriers.

“At least two hours to repair the damages. It is a shame but that’s testing!”, said the official Ferrari twitter.

Vitaly Petrov had said on Wednesday that he felt the track wasn’t suited to F1 cars, “I don’t think we should have come here,” he said. “It is not safe and wide enough. If you lose it, the walls are so close and you will smash into the tyres. It is not for Formula 1 and, if you lost the steering or the tyre pressure dropped or whatever, then it will be a big crash.”

Ferrari’s full update kit, featuring a new front wing and new diffuser, has not been seen in Mugello this week. It will only break cover next week in Spain, the team saying that it wanted more time in the wind tunnel.

Felipe Massa appeared to criticise this decision in the Italian media yesterday, saying “It would have been better to test everything here. but we are not ready. To close the gap to the top we need to grow faster than them. But I think that in the next few weeks we will find two or three tenths.”

Meanwhile Sauber’s chief designer Matt Morris has spoken out about the feasibility of copying the Mercedes Double DRS system, which was definitively passed as legal by the FIA last month. It seems that only the richest teams are likely to consider copying it, as the cost to benefit ratio doesn’t stack up for most,

“We have done some evaluation on it in the factory, but at the moment it’s not really working for us in terms of cost versus performance,” Morris told Autosport.com. “It doesn’t really stack up for us at the moment. And beyond the cost versus performance issue, it’s difficult to know exactly the potential benefits and then it’s only really useful in qualifying as well.

“It’s definitely a few tenths of a second in qualifying, but to get that [benefit] so many parts in the car would have to be changed. That’s the problem.”

The three day test ended with Lotus’ Romain Grosjean setting the fastest time on a day when, according to Pirelli, the 11 teams covered 1134 laps of the Tuscan circuit, equivalent of 43 Grand Prix distances. The teams chomped their way through 207 sets of tyres, despite limited running on Day 1 due to rain.

Don’t miss the latest JA on F1 podcast out this week: Maxing it out – how to get the best performance from an F1 driver. It’s free to download just click HERE

MUGELLO TEST, Day 3

1. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m21.035s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m21.267s + 0.232s
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m21.363s + 0.328s
4. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m21.604s + 0.569s
5. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m22.229s + 0.879s
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m22.325s + 0.975s
7. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m22.497s + 1.147s
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.579s + 1.229s
9. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1m22.662s + 1.312s
10. Paul di Resta Force India 1m23.002s + 1.652s
11. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m23.169s + 1.819s
12. Timo Glock Marussia 1m23.466s + 2.116s

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170 Comments
  1. AlexD says:

    James, what is the world from the paddock in terms of Ferrar’s gains? It is 0.3-0.4 or something like 0.5-0.7? What is your bet?

    I would expect all teams to improve at least 0.3 and Ferrari needs to do much better. So what would you say?

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ll tell you in Spain when we see all the kit. Tune into BBC Radio 5 Live for the Friday afternoon practice and together with Jaime Alguersuari and Gary Anderson we will go through each team identifying what is new and what we think its worth.

      1. Andrew P says:

        James

        BBC limits the distribution of this programme.

        In Australia we originally got around it by using the TuneIn digital radio app, which now appears to have locked out coverage as well.

        Do you know of any alternate access that allows fans to follow the practice sessions in the rest of the world.

      2. Nadeem says:

        +1 anyone can help out

      3. Craig says:

        James, pls can you talk to Mr Allen re remorseless BBC plug. ;)

        I find the various Teams rep comments perplexing and a bit of a general moan.
        They want and look for testing but then moan like a MF!
        I totally agree Barca would have been very, very logical but as you are fully aware, this is F1.
        I dare say there is a $$ kicker going on somewhere.

      4. Erik says:

        Ha ha, all so true!..

      5. Kay says:

        LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! @ JA’s reply and confusion LOL……………………

      6. Wayne says:

        Brilliant, the quote of the week award goes to

        ‘James, please can you talk to Mr Allen’

        - comedy gold.

      7. Wu says:

        What did I just read?

      8. part time viewer says:

        I put a comment about how good the sky covarage is on another thread and guess what it was removed. great site, but not impartial

      9. James Allen says:

        Not sure what you’re saying here. There are hundreds of comments on threads all over this site praising SKY’s coverage. We are proudly impartial.

        If your comment failed to pass Mod it must be because it broke the rules on defamatory content

      10. Toleman fan says:

        James,

        I can’t see that in the R5 listings. Do you know what time you’ll be on?

      11. James Allen says:

        Live for every session on 5 Live Sports Extra, R5 for race and parts of quali

      12. SP says:

        James, I will be at work during this live radio show. Is there any way I can catch it later?

        Thanks!

  2. Dries says:

    If they didn’t feel the need; why did they bother showing up? It’s not like they were obligated, were they?

    Also, I never understood why F1 doesn’t do what MotoGP does; and test AFTER a GP.
    Sure; it wouldn’t work too well for back to back races; but the races where you have an extra week, it would be good.
    Everyone and everything is there; it’s a GP track, so it’s safe, and it wouldn’t make the GP boring like previously, because it’s already run.

    James, can you shed a light on why F1 hasn’t introduced this yet?
    Also, loved the podcast again! Keep up the good work!

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Brilliant point i never realised the Moto Gp status in reflection of that it makes absolute sense and would save a fortune in logistics etc.

      And even if they used the after race testing for testing/junior drivers only that alone would be an advantage looking at the bigger picture.

      1. AD says:

        Testing on the Monday is definitely an excellent idea. A lot of fans would stay for an extra day rather than fight the crowd to leave a venue on a Sunday night.

        The GP2 drivers would be on site for possible new driver testing… and dare I dream that the broadcast equipment could be used to stream the event to the web? Streaming F1 tests in the office on Monday would get people talking about F1 around the water-cooler.

      2. Lev Piautzer says:

        live stream from testing on f1.com. Tomorrow after the race starting 9am.

        nice idea, bernie should try out the idea of web broadcasting this way.

    2. Dave says:

      I agree. Test on the Monday after a race and not only is all the kit and personnel in place but you also negate the Barcelona effect where the race is boring as everybody knows the track inside out.

      Sell tickets at no more than a fiver each, and mandate that at least half the laps have to be done by young/test/reserve drivers, and you’ve instantly got a cost-effective and fan-friendly solution.

      1. Tim S says:

        Fantastic ideas

    3. JF says:

      I didn’t know that, that would be a great idea. Also ie could help Pirelli burn off unused GP tires.

    4. cjf says:

      This is a great idea, the testing time would also be more productive as the teams would have shed loads of data from the weekend providing a baseline with their current specification cars.

    5. Pranav says:

      Logic? In Formula 1? You must be dreaming.

      1. stoikee says:

        Haha! Nice one. But these are really great suggestions. I’m sure teams would love it even if the catch is that only the young drivers would be allowed in the cars.

    6. Hendo says:

      Unless of course, your driver put the car into the wall on Sunday!

      1. M00bie says:

        Both drivers? Also I’m not sure if the testing car is one of the drivers cars or a third car? If it was a drivers car then isn’t it adding extra mileage to the gearbox etc… Which has to last so many race weekends…

      2. BW says:

        You can change the gearbox after the race is over provided you put it back there before Saturday of the following racing weekend.

    7. james h says:

      it would be good but with 4 tests a year plus 1 young driver test.Then 20 races a year with the team getting there any thing upto a week before the race.The teams would never have any time to there self.I think they could start the race weekend on Thursday not friday.Thats 20 more test days a season.

      1. James Allen says:

        Yes but they don’t have test teams any more, so imagine now knackering 20 GPs plus 5 tests would be for the mechanics! They don’t want the expense of test teams on the payroll

    8. Erik says:

      Two problems despite it being a great idea..
      1. F1 would be waaay to proud to follow someone else’s lead (a shame in this case).
      2. A cost-saving measure in F1?.. pft.. who would line all of those pockets if no one’s spending money?..

    9. Ohm says:

      Exactly what I thought..they used to do young driver test after the Abu Dhabi GP didn’t they, so why not do the same for actual tests.

    10. Stone the crows says:

      Maybe they didn’t want to have a week of reporting from Mugello in which Lotus or Red bull and HRT are mentioned in the same sentence for the same reasons. Probably there was something to gain from testing, just not as much as Ferrari and others, and as said not worth the stress and expense. Most likely Red Bull and Lotus are in a good enough position that they don’t want to give any opportunity for their rivals to catch up with them.

  3. Mark says:

    Are teams contractually obliged to take part in this test then?

    1. Kay says:

      HRT wasn’t in it if I recall correct.

    2. Aaron95 says:

      No, but no team is going to pass over the opportunity to run their cars. Perhaps it’s not the idea circuit, but you can bet they all made some small improvement from testing there.

  4. Rach says:

    If Red Bull/Lotus/Mercedes/Mclaren didn’t want to test, why are they there? No one forced them.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Bad pr for the sponsors etc taking the negative stance of not attending anything scheduled for F1 as a whole not to mention the negative effect it may have as in fan suppport.

    2. Davexxx says:

      I agree, but I guess any team that didn’t attend can’t then complain about “lack of testing”! You can’t win… ;-)

    3. Nick says:

      Because there is still useful data to be gained from the sport. I suspect if you spoke to the engineers, that are very happy with the large amount of data they now have to work with.

    4. Erik says:

      Pre madonnas

      1. Wu says:

        Prima donna*

        It means “first lady” in Italian.

      2. Wade Parmino says:

        I think you mean “Prima Donnas”. LOL.

  5. Iwan says:

    Very strange. Surely they knew before hand what the circuit is like and what the use of testing on it will be. It’s not like the design and lay-out was revealed to them at the last second.

    And if they knew the circuit lay out wasn’t going to be useful why not suggest another venue. Heaven knows they kick up a storm over things a lot more trivial than this.

  6. Bo Amato says:

    Petrov’s comments are really frustrating. The track is fantastic. Webber’s comments sum up a racing driver. Racing drivers for the most part are risk takers. Spa, Monaco, the last of the circuts where drivers can make a difference. Monza somewhat. These new tracks are so wide that it gives drivers so much room for error it is like racing on a runway at Heathrow.

    Brands is a great track.

    I guess Petrov did not crash because he was looking to go quicker in his first season at Renault, he was juts plain awful.

    Motor Racing is dangerous Mr. Petrov. It you don’t fancy it give your money to a young lad or older, who is happy to dance with the devil in order to try to find a few 10ths to move further up the grid.

    1. Foghorn Leghorn says:

      Agreed. Webber’s comments sum up a racing driver, Petrov’s comments sum up a Sunday driver. Can’t imagine Jarno would’ve been complaining about the circuit…

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        Webber is right, the track is fantastic but Petrov has a point regarding safety. If there was more run-off and less sand traps it would be good.

    2. CNSZU says:

      Petrov’s comments were intelligent. He was talking specifically about testing. For a test track you need large runoffs due to parts failing.

      1. M00bie says:

        Perhaps they should test at Barcelona and then have a real GP at Mugello, I’d love to see a GP there. Might even be tempted to make the journey and see it live.

        F1 needs to keep , silverstone and spa though. So that’s two races in Italy so Mugello could be a 1 off European GP?

        Would be awesome….

      2. M00bie says:

        I ment to say f1 needs to keep monza, silverstone and spa…

        Infant those are the only 3 tracks I’ve been to watch f1 for real. Been to silverstone for the last 6 years but going to hockenheim this year instead…

        So excited, I can’t wait.

      3. Dmitry says:

        He was just worring for himself, because we all know how much he likes to end up off the track.

    3. David From Australia says:

      Who was it that said ‘A good track has consequences?’

      1. MrNed says:

        You did. Just then (ho-ho)
        Good quote though, whoever said it :-)

    4. richard says:

      Couldnt agree more, pathetic comment by petrov, f1 drivers are already wrapped in cotton wool. Get watching british superbikes real racing. Dont get me wrong love F1 just dont like many of the tracks they race on now a days.

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        Track design is just as important a factor for safety (if not more important) as the structural design of the car. There are many incidents of death in F1 history where if there was more run-off or better designed barriers, the driver would have survived, even in a car that was not super super safe.

    5. MrNed says:

      Imola. Now there’s a track that I miss. Would be great to see F1 cars on it again, but it’s never going to happen.

      1. Richard says:

        Never been a big fan of imola, it was always one of those “its impossible to overtake tracks” Pointless racing there IMO.

        Worst race on the calendar now for me is Valencia.

        Spa, Suzuka, monza, silverstone, proper race tracks.

  7. Methusalem says:

    Why this particular test at this early stage of the championship? Why are the McLaren cars so slow? Why are Jenson and Lewis the only main drivers absent?

    1. Kartel says:

      Seems like sponsor commitments for Jenson (Turkey demonstration run?), not sure about Lewis.

      1. Aaron95 says:

        There is a young driver test later in the season. McLaren decided to use the same drivers in both tests.

      2. Mike68 says:

        The McLaren team it seems have decided to run their young drivers here so they will have a baseline to work with on the next chance to test which is the young drivers test session.

        McLaren also did not bring any major updates because they knew what the track was like and instead just did tyre performance testing and using their rookie drivers to work on a base line.

    2. Chris G says:

      The team said earlier in the week that they would use the same drivers as the young driver test later in the year, for consitant feedback during summer testing

    3. Andrew Carter says:

      McLaren said last week in Autosport that they want to compare this test with the young driver test at Silverstone so Paffet and Turvey will be used in both.

      As for why they’re so slow, nobody chases times at a test, theres nothing to gain from it.

    4. VanDhloms says:

      They are probably working on understanding their race pace base setup better, which is what they’ve been concerned with since the beginning of the season. It would make sense to do that using the packed they know instead of loading upgrades in the car.

    5. Toleman fan says:

      At a wild guess? Because Mac’s simulation is now so good that the test drivers who rarely drive the real car are now as familiar with it and as tuned in to giving feedback on changes as the race drivers.

      And everyone else’s…isn’t. So they need to lean harder on the race drivers.

  8. hero_was_senna says:

    Petrov “It is not safe and wide enough. If you lose it, the walls are so close and you will smash into the tyres.”

    1) I have never heard any of the MotopGP riders even comment about safety here, a circuit at which they hit 340kph, and they really do face possible fatalities on circuits.
    A sad statistic, that has seen a couple of deaths in the last couple of seasons.

    2) How could he or any F1 driver say anything about circuit safety and yet willingly drive at Monaco.
    I know the usual answer, lower average speed etc, but Perez was lucky last year, Button and Wendlinger have also had similar accidents there. But Monaco stays because of historical significance.

    1. All says:

      “The circuit has many high speed corners and is a thrill to drive in a modern F1 car, according to most of them. “Spectacular”, “Incredibly fast” and “Stunning” are just some of the reactions from the F1 drivers at the test. Mugello has an average lap speed of 138mph.”

      An almost standard 1000cc production motorbike can lap the Isle of Man TT circuit’s 37 miles of public roads at 129.7mph.

      Would be fun to hear Mr Petrov’s view on that.

      1. james h says:

        you drive at 200 miles a hour then brake 20 meters from a wall and hope the new part of your car that has never been used in anger before dont brake.

      2. Mitchel says:

        +1

      3. Ben says:

        … and they’ll be back here again in a few weeks for this years TT Festival, trying to raise that record to over 130mph! :)

      4. J_Damper says:

        The past just called, apparantly they lap at over 130mph now:

        Superbike – John McGuinness 131.5mph
        Superstock – Ian Hutchinson 130.7mph

    2. RobertS says:

      I agree, Drivers have got so used to racing around Bahrains and Abu Dabai’s with tarmac run off, soon as they are faced with a race track which is fast and flowing lined by grass and tyre barriers it becomes too dangerous, Such a shame.

      I heard a while ago the only reason they don’t race there is because of the access roads to and from the circuit

    3. veeru says:

      He was obviously frustrated by something and let it out on the entire track itself.

      It’s a joke. No wait…He is a joke. That’s why I say one word about people like him.

      Pay Drivers.

      1. jb says:

        technically thats two ords but i totally agree ;)

  9. why did the teams go if they thought it was a waste of time ? they MUST have thought they where going to learn something .. otherwise yes its stupid to go …

    i guess there really saying that they should have gone somewhere else…

    Matt

    1. Mike J says:

      makes HRT (albeit indirect) decision look good all of a sudden

    2. Stone the crows says:

      Peer pressure? Perhaps they thought there was more to gain but now that they’ve run on Mugello they’re seeing it was a bad decision overall. As I posted earilier I think that the top teams don’t want to give Ferrari a chance to get up off the matt, especially while they’re on their home turf.

  10. DMyers says:

    It may have been a “waste of time”, but nobody forced them to go. Some people will whinge about anything.

  11. terryshep says:

    So maybe HRT weren’t as stupid as some people suggested? If, as Christian Horner says, they didn’t feel the need to come here, why did they?

    Re the other topic of the day, Vitaly Petrov’s opinion of the circuit, one wonders how he feels at Valencia, Singapore, Montreal or Monaco?

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Out of his depth, perhaps?

      1. terryshep says:

        Maybe Vitaly was giving his sense of humour a practice run? If so, it needs more testing.

        Surely no F1 driver would seriously compare his risk with that of a motorcycle racer?

  12. Dave says:

    If the teams don’t think the test is worth it, why did they bother going? The test is not compulsory is it?

    1. . says:

      If they do not go, the ones who do go gain more than them. So everybody was ‘forced’ to go.

      1. PK says:

        Then it’s not useless is it?

      2. Heinzman says:

        so therefore it is not a waste of time is it

  13. Andy says:

    If Red Bull, Lotus etc think it is a waste of time and money, why have they turned up?
    If they believe it was not going to have any value they should have just stayed away, this would have more impact with the FIA.
    To turn up and then whinge seems a bit pointless.

    1. Erik says:

      Maybe next time all of those team sponsors should fund a charity program instead of an expensive test for moaning millionaires. F1 forgets the world it’s in sometimes.

  14. fras2020 says:

    Why, if they didn’t feel the test would be useful, didn’t they just save the money and not go to the test? As HRT have demonstrated, nobody has been forced to go!

    I suspect it’s just frustration by Horner and Boullier that it is giving those with more time to find (namely Ferrari) a chance to catch up!

  15. CarlH says:

    Formula 1 teams and drivers complaining about having the opportunity to put some miles on the car. Not good at all and a real surprise to hear.

    This test has been agreed for months, why weren’t the cost and relevancy concerns raised earlier? It’s not like Mugello is a newly built track of which only Ferrari knew they layout. It seems to me that those complaining are the ones who haven’t been able to produce any useful updates in time for the test. If Red Bull or Lotus had found something they needed to evaluate I somehow feel these complaints wouldn’t have been given a public airing.

    If they were sure it was going to be a waste of time and money why didn’t they pull out? I hope this test has produced major results for Ferrari, then they would really have something to whine about.

    P.S. When have Horner and Red Bull ever felt the need to be worried about money? Don’t they just spend whatever they want anyway?

  16. quemerford says:

    Why are the teams/drivers being wise after the event? If the track was no use, then why show up, its been the way it is for many years & on the test shedule for many months?

    All very odd!

  17. Khan says:

    I wonder why they cant do extended sessions on Friday’s at some of the grand prix weekends as an alternate to a test like this?

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Because the support races need some track time as well.

      1. James Clayton says:

        are there any support races of Fridays? I though it was only Sat & Sun.

        I agree with Kahn, give the teams 4 hours on a Friday morning in which they can ONLY use reserve drivers. The reserve drivers can give their feedback on the updates. Then on the Friday afternoon give the race drivers a 2 hour session.

        This will give reserve drivers plenty of track time, and increase their importance in the team as they will need to be giving accurate feedback so that the race drivers can jump in and do a quick verification run to say ‘yep (s)he was right about x/y/z’ before moving on to quali/race prep. The fact that they’d need to know what they are doing would also prevent teams from using reserve drivers as PR stunts.

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        That would harm rookie drivers even further since they would be getting an hour less track time than under the current set up. Considering how tough it is for rookies to properly get up to speed with F1 these days, thats just a bad idea.

        Also, considering that the Porsche Super Cup, GP3 and GP2 all hold their races on Saturday and Sunday, they all hold practice and qualifying on the Friday and then only get half hour sessions as it is. F1 increasing it’s track time of a weekend would only be screwing over the yuoung drives trying to get to the top, which is just shooting yourself in the foot.

      3. GT_Racer says:

        “are there any support races of Fridays? I though it was only Sat & Sun.”
        The races are held Sat/Sun, However all the practice/Qualifying is done on Fridays.

        GP3 practice is held before FP1, GP2 practice is held after FP1, Then there is Porsche Supercup practice just prior to FP2. The GP2/GP3 qualifying is then held after FP2.
        Porsche Supercup qualifying is held on Saturday between FP3/qualifying & the GP2/3 race 1 is then held after F1 qualifying.
        GP2/GP3 + Porsche race is then held Sunday morning prior to the Gp.

        On some tracks there is also additional local support races to fit in.

        There was an argument that there shoudl be practice held on Thursday for young drivers, However thats setup day for the TV crews & when all the track walks, Scrutineering & press conferences are held.
        Moving this to Wednesday means all the crews have to get there a day earlier.

        Staying over & running a test on the Monday after a race means the crews have to stay at the tracks a day later.
        Also no chance of it been streamed on f1.com as contractually FOM are not allowed to do this due to the contracts signed with each broadcaster.

      4. James Clayton says:

        Andrew, Rookies would probably actually get *more* track time in the second session as there would be no waiting for the track to rubber in; plenty having been laid down at the first session.

        Your point about the practice/qualifying for the support races is valid.

  18. olivier says:

    I don’t agree with Petrov. The limited run off areas remind me of Montreal … I’d say: Valencia out, Mugello in. Mugello would certainly be part of my Dream World Championship.

    Talking about dropping races. What about Bahrein? Ross Brawn made the sensible suggestion to have a meeting after the race … What’s your general feeling of the Bahrein WE?

    1. Erik says:

      +1

      Turkey was the same (no fans, political) and it’s now gone. Bahrain is an embarassment to F1 and reflects badly on people who vouch for the sport.

  19. Rich C says:

    If it hadn’t rained we probably wouldn’t be hearing this whining.

  20. Kay says:

    Formula 1 – whine about anything :D
    heh.

    I guess the only way teams will be happy is revert back to early 2000 days where there’s unlimited testing. If they like it, test. If they don’t, stay out and shut up.

    It seems anything related to F1 is a vicious cycle. You do too much, complain. None at all, complain. A little bit more than none, complain. Near unlimited but not quite, complain. No overtaking, complain. Massive overtaking, complain. Some overtaking but not done in ways they like, complain. LOL……

    Jeez………….

    1. rafa says:

      I kind of agree with this comment. No one except the winner is ever happy with anything. If you were leading till the last race and lost it all then, it´s ok for you to say the entire season was crap.

  21. LuckyFF says:

    I think Redbull and Lotus are afraid of more in-season tests to come which suits Ferrari’s development in the future. That is why they are up against it even though they come for Mugello test. Webber also made a point that Mugello is not the right place to do testing, which deemed to be Ferrari’s test track.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Not to mention Alonso and Massa knowing where all the land mine’s and deliberate oil spills were, Guess Alonso was so preoccupied fighting the car today he lost concentration in regard to this :)

    2. JF says:

      This has nothing to do with Ferrari.

      1. james h says:

        ferrari do own the track

      2. JF says:

        Yes and…

        Its not a race, there are no points for testing. Doesn’t really matter if Ferrari knows the track a little better, the rest will be able to simulate/model it just as well. They can’t use it anymore than any other team. No advantage in todays F1, especially since this track is not overly relevant to most other circuits.

  22. Tom says:

    Instead of going there, eating all the food and then saying “Yeah, no, this is a waste of money, obviously”, why doesn’t Christian Horner just stay at home?

    It’s great to hear so much enthusiasm from the drivers though (apart from Petrov – Tony Fernandes should have a word with him about positive thinking!)

  23. Aaron95 says:

    If testing before the Barcelona race makes for a dull grands prix then why not stay behind and test at the circuit on the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday? Seems like an obvious solution to me.

  24. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    James, do you think McLaren is going to get the Double DRS any time soon?

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ll tell you in Spain

      1. James Clayton says:

        …sounds like you think you’re on to something???

  25. Brace says:

    I’m sure all the teams have Mugello in their simulators, accurate to the last millimeter, so I really don’t see why didn’t they say anything before.
    I’m totally honest when I say that Red Bull must be my most despised team. I just can’t stand Horner, and don’t even get me started on Doctor in irrelevance, one mister Helmut.
    Next time, stay home. All of them moaning bunch.

  26. Sebastian says:

    Hi James!

    Listened to your podcast last week. Truely excellent!

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks. Tell your friends!

  27. Anil says:

    It’s a massive shame that almost every modern track is very slow and doesn’t have the ‘flow’ that a circuit like Mugello has. Simply stunning layout and it’d be great to have an F1 race there, but unless Tilke is allowed to add a hairpin or two we wouldn’t get this track or something similar on the calender.

    What’s your opinion of the track james? I’ve got to say that I’d rather see a procession on a track like this, Suzuka or Silverstone rather than the slow tracks at Valencia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi etc.

    1. James Allen says:

      Looks an exciting track. I went there once in Feb 1998 to inteview M Schumacher for ITV after his Jerez incident with Villeneuve. I watched the Ferrari testing there and it looked terrific, some dramatic change of direction corners. It’s a bike track really

      1. CNSZU says:

        What is a “change of direction corner” as opposed to an old fashioned “corner”? Any corner would automatically imply a change of direction, would it not?

      2. James Allen says:

        ..both ways, as opposed to one way. eg Becketts

  28. Rob Newman says:

    The only team who really wanted this test was Ferrari. I am sure they got what they really wanted from this test.

  29. mgicn says:

    James,
    first of all thank you for your excellent blog. I’ve seen nothing on the web which comes near in terms of quality.
    I’ve one question: have you gained already some insight into the Mclaren-driver/Mugello issue? How is it possible that they are the only top-team that don’t have their normal driver line-up on the grid? As Webber said, it’s a no-brainer in these days. Could it be contractual obligations towards their test drivers? I don’t see the logic behind their decision.

    1. james h says:

      what are mclaren going to learn about jenson and lewis they dont already know on a car with no new parts? Also why have test drivers if they dont test the real thing.

      1. Brace says:

        For example, the thing they didn’t know in Bahrain. :)

  30. Joe says:

    Well apparently some teams showed up to “waste time and money”. Some other teams showed up to learn more about the Pirelli tires and to make improvements on their car development.

    Sounds like some teams put this test time to good use and others decided to waste it. Don’t blame it on the test.

  31. fras2020 says:

    James, I just wondered why it is that the testing ban is necessary to reduce costs given that the RRA should cap total spend and therefore prevent the endless testing we used to see?

    Surely it would be fairer (and I think more interesting due to the contrasting approaches that would ensue) to have no restriction on testing such that teams had greater budgetary freedom within the confines of RRA. The teams that chose to increase testing may for example, have to reduce spending on CFD or wind tunnel development.

    Ferrari would be able to use utilise their huge investments at Mugello and Fiorano whilst other teams may feel that money spend on testing is not worthwhile, and that continued investment in CFD represents better value. The current rules seem to unfairly benefit those who foresaw the importance of CFD and simulators at the expense of those whose methodologies rely upon physical testing.

    1. James Allen says:

      Agree 100%. But it’s because of the complexity of trying to sort out a formula like this that FOTA fell apart over the RRA.

      1. Erik says:

        Plus it seem (to me at least) that once a season gets going all bets are off as far as budgets go – these guys are all fiercly competitive.

        Try and control a McLaren or Ferrai if they have free reign on testing and need to find 0.3 secs to catch Red Bull say. Surely history proves that teams spend what they have to win. Open testing would then just benefit the wealthy teams. Just look at the late 90′s.

    2. james h says:

      Have a budget cap but spend that budget on any thing they want.Then see which team does the best with what they have.Sounds ok

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        Yes. This would be the way to go.

        One problem however would be teams trying to cut costs in certain areas to put the funding somewhere else. This could result in mass sackings of personel and the overworking of the remaining others. Given the extremely tight regulations, it would also make innovation almost impossible. If a budget cap was put in place, the engineering and design parameters would have to be slackened so cheaper mechanical innovations and technologies could be allowed. The mid to late 1970′s was one of the best times in f1 history for new ideas. The field of cars was so diverse in design and appearance.Problem was, most of these fresh, cool, unique and sometimes weird concepts were just banned by the sport straight away. It is a constructors championship as much as it is a drivers.

  32. fausta says:

    They should just select a few of the races which have two or three week intervals after them and do a Mon-Wed test. Similar to MotoGP. Something like this would work out better as it would affect the race being after and the teams would already be there.
    2 or 3 of these a year. It is fun watching the teams trying the new parts and adds more to the season.

    1. Mike J says:

      and adds more to the spectators who travel a distance to watch a GP…..and probably more access to drivers AFTER the GP!!!…since it is so difficult before it

  33. hero_was_senna says:

    I do find it funny that 10 years ago and more, Ferrari ran most of their testing at either Mugello or Fiorano.
    Fiorano is always thought too tight to compare to a modern F1 circuit. Supposedly Mugello is unlike any F1 circuit because it’s too fast!

    Yet…. Ferrari dominated F1 like no other team before.
    During the winter, everyone would be at Barcelona or Jerez or Silverstone. But no-one knew what Ferraris pace was.
    First qualifying, Ferrari turns up and destroys the opposition.

    It’s just typical of F1 and their knee jerk reaction to things, they complain once they have arrived in Tuscany.

    They complained about Bahrain, but now that particular GP is over, when do you think they’ll get together to talk about that again.

    1. James Clayton says:

      “They complained about Bahrain, but now that particular GP is over, when do you think they’ll get together to talk about that again.”

      In about 11 months time I guess…

      1. James Allen says:

        When the political situation will be exactly the same as it is now. The Saudis will not allow any meaningful change in circumstances for the Shias, as far as I can see

      2. randomperson says:

        I think you mean ‘the Sunnis’ rather than ‘the Saudis’, but I have to say that I agree 100%.

      3. James Allen says:

        No, I mean the Saudis. They run that country.

  34. BurgerF1 says:

    Horner’s comments above do not at all jive with his comments here: http://en.espnf1.com/f1/motorsport/story/77623.html

    Perhaps his comments are being taken out of context.

  35. David Ryan says:

    I also find this post-event criticism a bit peculiar – as has already been pointed out, no one particularly forced them to go to Mugello, and the circuit is a well-known quantity so it’s not as if they wouldn’t have realised it would be a high-speed circuit before they went. Personally, I would have thought the teams would be happy to have a golden opportunity to check their wind tunnel calibration is correct and to verify parts are working properly before loading them onto the race transporter. Both of these have the potential to save much embarrassment and time-wasting on a race weekend, after all. As for Petrov’s comments, the FIA has certified the circuit as suitable for F1 testing so I don’t see what his issue is to be honest. It’s not as if Monza has acres of car-park-like run-off areas either…

  36. andrew says:

    If you get nothing new and beneficial out of the test, then it’s a waste of time and money. But then again, it’s called a test and testing carries inherent risks, period. No risk no reward, it’just that simple. The teams participated hoping to learn. You can’t believe everything these team directors say. Much of their commentary is intention red herring material.

  37. Mike84 says:

    Can’t satisfy everyone all the time. And it seems silly to never be able to really test any alternatives during the season. Friday practice, they’re so busy trying to find a set-up while saving tires, how could you do what you can do at a 3-day dedicated test?

  38. rad_g says:

    Every team on twitter saying the data is useful.

  39. Youngslinger says:

    It seems the teams are only there to see what the others are doing!!!

    1. Simon says:

      … and to talk to each other’s drivers.

      1. Youngslinger says:

        …as if!!!!

  40. leeshleeash says:

    Too dangerous – im sorry, some of these guys are not racers. Just a a bunch of whiney girls now – no wonder has become so soft and dull.

  41. snaltrial says:

    Noticed in some of the pics from this test – and indeed for quite some time now – that the mechanics dont wear those rubber anti KERS shock gloves when the car returns – why is that? How have they got around that?

  42. Anshul says:

    There could be another possibility regarding the testing venue which might kill two birds with a stone.

    Test at Barcelona, which will obviously prepare them for the whole season and not race there. Also takes off one boring race off Spain (now that we don’t have a Spanish World Champion).

  43. SK Anand says:

    James,

    Kudos on yet another excellent episode on the podcast.

    The BBC Radio 5 program where you will review the FP at Spain on Friday, is that something that one can hear on the web. I was looking at the schedule for the weekend and did not find any.

    It it possible to have a copy of the audio file of the show on your site, should there be no contractual issues?

    Look forward.

    Thanks

    SK Anand

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t believe so, but maybe other readers know more

      1. Aarron says:

        You need to get a VPN that will give you a UK IP address, then you can stream it on your computer.

  44. Michael Grievson says:

    They knew the layout before they went so should have went somewhere else

    The only reason I can think of going there would be for political points with Ferrari when the teams want their way with something in the future

  45. AENG says:

    What’s fascinating is that, it’s not predictable championship! so far at least..

  46. AENG says:

    The unpredictability factor much owes to tire issue, of the last year’s configuration we would have quite predictable sequence (my guess)/ Mclaren / Red Bull / Mrec – Lotus / and then middle group inc. Ferrari etc. With that perhaps Mclaren lost most

  47. Paul Kirk says:

    I understand all the tyres are returned to Pirelli after use. I certainly hope they are being recycled/retreaded for further use! Incredable to think that 828 tyres were used in 2.5 days of running! I’d hate to think that they were just burnt/scraped.
    It’s a funny old world, one minute they’re trying to save money/resourses and be seen as “green”, and the next minute the teams are using tripple or quadruple the number of tyres they would normally use.
    Personally I reckon a set of tyres should last the whole weekend and still be ok for some testing.
    Ok, it might make the racing a bit boreing for some, but at least the drivers could actually RACE for the WHOLE race! AND make all cars start a race at a specified minimum weight that would mean they would finish the race with 10 to 20 litres in the tank so they didn’t have to go to economy mode and drive slower to conserve fuel.
    PK.
    (I know that’s ridiculous, but I can only dream for real racing!)

  48. Jimbo says:

    I don’t understand why the teams are suddenly complaining that Mugello is unsuitable for testing, Ferrari seemed to do ok out of the place when they tested there every other week in the Schumacher era!?

  49. BBob says:

    Petrov is typical of this new generation of drivers. The answer to tight confines and negligible run off areas is to NOT crash. I don’t ever remember Senna or Mansell whining about these sort of things. Petrov has only family rubles to thank for his drive.

  50. James D says:

    If Red Bull think it’s a waste of time they could always stay at home!

  51. Tom in adelaide says:

    Well, whatever it is that it takes to be an F1 WDC, Petrov clearly lacks it.

  52. VanDhloms says:

    James what happens to the season engine allocation limit for this type of testing? Do teams use the same 8 engines for the season?

    1. James Allen says:

      No extra ones for testing

  53. Phil H says:

    F1 teams wanted testing. They got testing. They now complain.

    Whinge, whinge, money, money, whinge.

    Petrov – a man who sorely needs his testing mileage.

    Whinge whinge, unsafe track, scary, whinge.

    When Jackie Stewart, the father of F1 safety, complained to the sport’s governing body, F1 was in a terrible state. The tracks were lethal, car safety was non-existent.

    He was trying (and succeeded) to save lives. Add to that, the raft of safety revisions introduced in 1994 and F1 is the safest motorsport out there. If the track were unsafe, the teams wouldn’t test there.

  54. Phil H says:

    Also – what is it about F1 drivers these days?

    Petrov crying about a track, Hamilton and Schumacher moaning about tyres, Vettel moaning that it is wet (Korea 2011) Alonso moaning about Rosberg blocking him.

    I know F1 has always had it’s whingers, but it just seems to be so endemic these days.

    Bloody well man up, the lot of you.

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      I found Rosberg’s move pretty unsafe, but ur right about the rest.

  55. Guy says:

    A thought,after Horner’s comments about the cost of this test being the same as a GP weekend with little benefit>

    Instead of a test week have non championship races. Those chasing the championship can experiment a bit and the smaller guys could go for gold.

    Maybe that weekends layout could be more test orientated

    1. Rudy Pyatt says:

      Good call, Guy. I’d LOVE to see that idea come back. Brilliant.

      Non-championship races were common up to the ’70s (e.g., the Oulton Park Gold Cup, the Solitude GP and the Syracuse GP). The teams got a lot of valuable testing done and younger drivers got valuable racing experience. Mark Whitlock’s book on F1′s 1.5-litre era covers this phenomenon quite well.

      James, did your father race in any of those non-championship GPs?

      It would be nice to see non-championship GPs again. As a matter of fact, I know that the FIA used to mandate that any venue seeking world championship status had to demonstrate its readiness to do so by hosting a non-championship race to international standard in the preceding season. That would be a useful rule to apply now, surely.

      I agree with earlier comments. If a track is deemed safe enough to test on, it’s safe enough to race on; more, any FIM certified track should be safe enough: If you can race a bike there, you can race a car there.

      Some may protest that non-champ races open the way to the return of dedicated test teams, driving up costs. Against that argument, you have an actual race going on, not just a “test times grand prix.” Surely an actual race lets you learn more than “a simulated race distance.”

      All else aside, the question is: Would Bernie allow it? Does his lease give him the power to prevent such races from happening? Granting that he has control over the “F1″ label, he has no such control over “Grand Prix”. If a track promoter wanted to simply refer to the race as such, then there’s no conflict on that score. Does Bernie have arrangements with track owners that they won’t attempt to promote such events? Are the teams obligated to refrain from racing in any events outside of the F1 World Championship? Would any of these possible restrictions run afoul of EU antitrust laws?

      What the heck. Let Jonathan Palmer schedule a race a Snetterton and see what happens. Even better if he goes for Brands Hatch. Laguna Seca? Road America? LeMans? Oh yeah…

      1. James Allen says:

        No, he was mainly a sportscast driver, Le Mans etc

  56. Craig @ Manila says:

    Total of 207 sets of tyres used in total of 1134 laps.
    So that means each set lasted an average of about 5.5 laps.
    Am I missing something or is this very hard to believe ?

  57. Steve says:

    With these tests in Mugello, I hope Ferrari will find the way to the podium and especially find the colors in the race : http://www.wallpapersf1.com/Fernando-Alonso?wallpaper=870

  58. Matt says:

    James,

    I was reading over at espnf1.com that lotus thought they gained a lot of knowledge from the mugellotracks test (guess it may not be that much of a waste) and that they ran a full 100% scale wind tunnel test in the US.

    I thought the maximum was a 60% scale?

  59. elie says:

    Obviously some teams will benefit from Mugello more than others. But surely it makes sense logistically and economically to run an extra day – thursday on a few gps only which are Three weeks apart, knowing most teams are there earlier. How many times over the last few seasons have we seen teams introduce new bits which they dont quite get enough set up comparison by quali on sat.but by next race is perfect.
    I agree that Mugello only suits Ferrari cause they test there. Again more political crap we can do without !!.
    As for HRT- they are moving factory and will need time to be ready for the race !..I think thats more important for them than missing a race..

  60. Micheal Evans says:

    I think the test should be held at Barcelona, but the week after the race, instead of before. This way the race won’t be predictable, it’s at a track that is useful for testing and won’t cost a lot of money as everyone can leave everything set up =]

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