Posted on June 9, 2013
XPB.cc

Next season will be the busiest on record for the F1 teams; a 21 race calendar is taking shape for 2014 while on Saturday in Montreal the Sporting Working Group approved a package of test days and aerodynamic reductions which are set to save money, while bringing back four test sessions.

The package agreed by the SWC will now be put forward to the FIA World Motor Sport Council taking place on 28 June at Goodwood House, England.

The package envisages the end of the Young Drivers test session, a reduction in straight line aerodynamic test days from eight to two, while promotional days are also cut to two. Wind tunnel time in team factories is also cut from 40 to 30 hours per week.

In their place, the F1 teams will remain in place for a two day test with one car after four European Grands Prix. Barcelona and Silverstone will be two of the venues. Eight of the 11 teams voted for the new measures which meant that it had the majority required to pass.

Ostensibly keen on the move are the less well funded teams as it allows them to run drivers who bring budget. Typically an F1 team can charge around €300,000 for a test like this. However they will need another engine above the allocation in their supply contracts to do the tests and this will cost an additional €1 million.

There is concern among some of the less well funded teams that this package is part of the ongoing agenda of some of the more powerful figures and teams to move the midfield and backmarkers towards customer car teams.

Many will complain about the loss of the Young Drivers Test, but in practice young drivers are likely to carry out quite a lot of the testing planned anyway, partly for budget reasons and partly because the teams will not require the race drivers to do another two days having just completed a Grand Prix weekend, unless the team has some technical problems to work through.

This package of measures has been there on the table to be done for some time and this was the third time recently where the teams held a vote; previously the vote did not pass because the package wasn’t right, but it seems that in the last two weeks the teams have got together and made it happen this time.

Perhaps the controversial Mercedes Pirelli test in Barcelona last month – which is now the subject of an International Tribunal hearing likely to take place on June 20th – acted as a catalyst for this; four two day tests is more than sufficient for Pirelli to develop tyres and to work on any issues. The teams realised how dysfunctional the Mercedes test episode made the sport look and have come together with a common sense response. However the fact that three teams voted against it, shows that they are not all on the same page.

Meanwhile a 21 race calendar for 2014 is being discussed. This will feature the race in New Jersey and the new race in Russia and the Olympic park in Sochi.

However paddock sources suggest that this may drop to 20 as there continue to be doubts about the viability of the Korean Grand Prix, which is losing a lot of money.

The calendar is set to start in Bahrain in early March, following on from a warm weather pre-season test there and the other winter tests are set to start earlier in the year, so that teams and engine manufacturers will have time to work on any glitches with the all new, hybrid turbo engines.

With this season ending in late November and new car testing likely to start in January, this will be the shortest off-season in recent F1 history, reflecting the scale of change the 2014 regulations represents.

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Four in season test sessions return in expanded 2014 F1 calendar
50 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Phill
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 3:49 pm 

    And it’s about time too!

    [Reply]

    DB4Tim Reply:

    And it saves money because they are not needing to travel to the test, already there…..FINALLY….long overdue !!!

    [Reply]

    Grant H Reply:

    I thought physical testing costs more money than CFD, with CFD you can try hundreds of different designs without even making a part, testing you have to design and manufacture the parts, bring them to the track and see if they work, some will some wont, more tests will suit big teams as they can try more parts and have the infrastructure to design and manufacture faster than others, this was the reason why the scrapped testing was it not?

    I personally don’t disagree with testing just think it’s funny how F1 is somewhat reverting back

    Better cost control measures would be no of chassis per year or number of updates per season or number of personnel on design development etc

    Otherwise the big teams will continue to increase gaps to the others

    [Reply]

    Robert Reply:

    The problem is that CFD does not always work, and you can get into a situation like McLaren are in where their CFD models indicated that everything is hunky dory, but the actual CAR in the real world has major issues they cannot find. CFD is and always will be an approximation. I helped put in a ticket demand simulation system for a major US airline, and the Phd.s that did the maths behind it got is _very slightly_ calibrated wrong and cost them $50 million the first year it went live…and there was no way for them to verify it to prevent that. So simulations are tricky things, and NEED real-world testing to calibrate…which is likely McLaren’s problem, in that they cannot calibrate the new car to their CFD because their old car test data is obsolete with the large changes they made.


  2.   2. Posted By: Simmo
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 3:55 pm 

    Well, this certainly came as a (pleasant) surprise to me, especially after the attitude after the 2011 testing!

    James, do you know which 3 teams did not want to test? It would be interesting to know.

    Also, you say Barcalona will be a location, but it isn’t a race location in 2014, which is what has been said in this article.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Working on it!!

    Red Bull voted for it, Ferrari of course and McLaren. Not checked with Merc yet (!) and I imagine midfielders who need the money will have done.

    [Reply]

    Michael Grievson Reply:

    If RB and Ferrari voted its a safe bet to say TR and Sauber did as well

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Barcelona might be on the calendar. They were meant to alternate with Valencia, but now apparently want the Spanish GP all to themselves.

    Glad that Bahrain goes first … get that one out of the way quickly.

    Looking forward to New Jersey next year.

    [Reply]

    Simmo Reply:

    Well, I do hope that Barcelona get their way, because Valencia is (as Jeremy Clarkson says) catastrophically boring (and yes I know, 2012 was different, but absolutely no guarantee that that will ever happen again).

    It would be a shame not to have Barcelona on the calendar, for the first time in many decades.

    Yeah, hopefully New Jersey will be good :D

    [Reply]

    VV Reply:

    My guess: Williams, Marussia and Caterham.

    [Reply]

    Optimaximal Reply:

    I can’t see Williams voting against a decision that a) saves them money and b) allows them to avoid this absurd flailing when in trouble where they bring 5 variations of the same part to an event and have Maldonaldo break them all!

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Pat869
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 4:19 pm 

    Who sits on the SWC for each team is it the Team Principle or Sporting Director/Team Manager.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Sporting Director level

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Andrew Barker
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 4:20 pm 

    The shortest off season in recent history music to my ears !!! Might not need to go to the doctors for my tablets this year then lol.

    Kind Regrards

    Andrew

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Andrew Carter
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 4:25 pm 

    Quick, somebody call a doctor, we’ve had a rare outbreak of common sense in the paddock!

    [Reply]

    C.Yeo Reply:

    3 don’t seem to have suffered any symptoms. Maybe another couple more hard knocks?

    [Reply]

    DB4Tim Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Kevin
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 4:31 pm 

    What are the aero reductions?

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    That was what caught my eye more than the testing. Be interesting to know what has been agreed – surprised Red Bull voted for that side given their general dominance in the aero department. I’m guessing its another wing limitation.

    [Reply]

    Fireman Reply:

    I think the aero reductions were dropped last december, only the lower nose was retained. Clarifications anyone?

    But the return of testing is pretty wise decision!

    [Reply]

    Quade Reply:

    Yes, they moved back to the 2012 aero standards (aside the low nose).
    Its a pity though, as the artist impressions of the 2014 car before the aero compromise were quite beautiful.

    [Reply]

    Docjkm Reply:

    As all know from my previous comments, the aero reduction was a chance to seriously move the sport forward. Now these have been gutted, and knowing RBI/Newey voted FOR gives no solace to those of us seeing where the real problems of F1 are commonly based.

    Ah well, at least the rest of this package seems like moves in a logically positive direction. But with large changes to ‘the formula’ in 2014, the missed opportunity to tame UBER AERO is more than just lamentable to me.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Spyros
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 4:38 pm 

    Finally, some common sense out of F1…

    …assuming it all happens, of course.

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: Craig
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 4:44 pm 

    Are spectators allowed at these tests ?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes of course

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Now all we need is for them to let the spectators drive the cars.

    Now that would be a test! :)

    [Reply]

    slim Reply:

    you/we would black out after one lap

    Bullfrog Reply:

    Just bring at least €300,000 with you…

    Why only one car per team? Is that “to cut costs”?
    Won’t be much of a spectacle, even if the 3 dissenting teams grudgingly turn up and test.

    And the price of hotels, food etc will still be astronomical a day after the Grand Prix.

    iceman Reply:

    I just hope being right after the grand prix won’t mean high ticket prices. I suspect it will though. It’s not that long since F1 testing was free at Silverstone, but it was £10 in the last year or two before the current testing restrictions. They only used to let in 1500 spectators for testing, presumably due to lack of staff to supervise larger numbers.

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: zombie
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 4:49 pm 

    Finally some common sense. Next stop remove the freeze on engine development and let F1 go back to the glory days of 70s-90s.

    [Reply]

    Fireman Reply:

    I think the new engines aren’t immediately frozen. I’m not sure if it’s completely open game though.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Kenny M
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 5:05 pm 

    Hi James

    There has been a deafening silence on the New Jersey Grand Prix, is this one actually going to happen?

    Regards.
    KM.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Promoters were here this weekend and say yes

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Anne
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 5:31 pm 

    This is great news. I hope they can find a way to help small teams with their small budgets not to fall behind. And FIA must make rules about test very clear to avoid problems.

    And I hope Bernie drops Korea

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Tornillo Amarillo
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 5:50 pm 

    Everything good!

    As I said, they don’t have to kill the Golden Goose!

    I’ve noticed Canadian GP will be there in 2014 indeed under the current contract, but they have to negotiate for 2015 and later.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: mhilgtx
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 5:59 pm 

    Absolutely agree, common sense has ruled the day.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Steve
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 6:08 pm 

    Silverstone is usually in the middle of the season. It will be interesting to see when in the season the four tests take place – from a team standpoint earlier is better of course. But I suspect the FIA would prefer testing occur later in the season to delay the teams figuring out the tyres for as long as possible.

    [Reply]

    Optimaximal Reply:

    It’s in the article – ‘after the previous Grand Prix weekend’…

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Quizzical Eyebrow
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 8:01 pm 

    A first race at Bahrain immediately following a test at Bahrain. I suppose nobody goes to Fridays at Bahrain anyway, so they won’t mind the interesting views of empty tarmac.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: colin grayson
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 9:11 pm 

    finally a step in the right direction , but not a giant leap for F1

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Dave P
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 9:38 pm 

    I note no mention of how the teams will handle this.Previously they said they would need a decicated test team as asking the race team to be away that many days, and for also 21 races was too much. James has any team indicated to you how they will cover this?

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: Quade
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 9:38 pm 

    I’ll sing hurrah when we know for sure that the 2014 tyres will be durable.

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: Elie
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 9:38 pm 

    No arguments here. 6 or 7 weeks off is still a nice break for the teams over Christmas / new year and if it better prepares them for the season ahead one would think they would have less dramas at the race weekends although this new engine formula will be full of surprises Im sure

    20 races is plenty and who needs a race in Korea if only 20000 people show up ! It makes perfect sense to start the season at Bahrain following testing and this should be more representative of the starting season pace / reluabolity , tyre performance for all teams. I wish they would drop Monaco too it really is a pointless race right now as this years proved! Everyone’s excited about New Jersey but Im more keen to see Sochi- I think it will be awesome to see a completely different cultural race weekend in a modern and Hugh market at an Olympic venue no less. I sti pray for the day Sydney wakes up and takes over Melbourne!.

    As for budgets teams must look at the longer term, sure they may need an extra engine in testing but it may save them running costs and more engine life throughout the season. All in all a really good balance.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Grant H
        Date: June 9th, 2013 @ 11:01 pm 

    This could suit Ferrari most as its widely recognised that in the Schumacher era a lot of the foundation from their success came from testing, they chose not to invest as heavily in computer modelling such as mclaren and to some extent have been playing catch up since,

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: RobertS
        Date: June 10th, 2013 @ 1:52 am 

    Even though this is a good step. I would like to see 2 car tests for the Monday after a race. Surely this is cheaper than 2 days in the middle of the week with one car? That way both drivers have a chance and you could put a young driver or test driver in the other car. Motogp manages it pretty well.

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: andrew c
        Date: June 10th, 2013 @ 3:58 am 

    I wonder if theres a commercial opportunity for the smaller teams here by charging fans a relatively small amount to be part of the test events. I’m sure there’s an opportunity in there somewhere.

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: Kit South
        Date: June 10th, 2013 @ 5:24 am 

    I think the is just more playing with the rules. We have so many invented things in F1 now, points for 10th place, KERS, DRS, no refuelling and tyres that are only competitive for 50 klms. Each seems OK for a while but then the affect fades. After years of developing V8 engines to their peak efficiency they are going to be tossed out for a new power plant; in the quality management world this is madness! This constant playing with the rules is only succeeding in taking the ‘ace’ out of race, and we are only left we rrrrrrrr!

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: BobS
        Date: June 10th, 2013 @ 6:53 am 

    I understand that the test is only for one car, but not why both cars could not be present, that way if the car under test had a problem you could use the second car to continue the test, but still only have one car on track. You could also have one car on track testing while setting up the second car with different configuration, and under this new system both cars are already there.

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: JB
        Date: June 10th, 2013 @ 12:13 pm 

    Luca di Montezemolo must be dancing with joy!
    He has been asking for in-season test for many years…

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Steve Fraser
        Date: June 19th, 2013 @ 3:32 am 

    Hi james
    Can anyone tell me when the British GP for 2014
    is? We are desperately trying to find out, so as to be able us to arrange our travel plans from Australia. P.S. your interviews on our Channel One are most informative.
    Best regards
    Steve.

    [Reply]

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