The FIA has made another quiet but sensible decision, putting right something which was clearly wrong this season by allowing young drivers to test a car should they be called upon to move up to a race seat.
The testing ban was introduced as a cost saving measure, allowing teams to lay off their entire test team staff, but it backfired and the young drivers situation was clearly not acceptable for the world’s premier motor sport discipline.
The FIA statement says, “If a team declares that one of its current race drivers is to be substituted by a driver who has not participated in an F1 race in the two previous calendar years, one day of track testing will be permitted between the start of the week preceding second Event and the last Event of the Championship.
“The following must be observed: Any such day may only be carried out by the new driver and may not take place on a circuit hosting a race in the current Championship year.
“Any such day may only take place within a period 14 days prior to the substitution and 14 days after the substitution has taken place. If a team, having declared the driver’s substitution and performed the test, does not then enter an Event with the new driver, the team will be penalised by a reduction of one day from the pre-season track testing days available in the following year.”
Given the uncertainty and budgetary difficulties of some new teams we may well see this new rule being used next season.