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F1 teams vote against return of testing
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 May 2013   |  11:21 am GMT  |  78 comments

The Formula 1 teams have voted against bringing back in-season testing, after a meeting of the Sporting Working Group yesterday.

Ferrari, which owns a test track on its doorstep at Maranello as well as the circuit of Mugello in Tuscany, which hosted a test last summer, was keen to see a return of testing and proposed various ideas including some aimed at opportunities to bring new drivers on.

But in a vote yesterday, only the Ferrari engined teams for 2014 supported the return of testing, the majority were against it, these did not include Toro Rosso but did include Marussia, which is expected to use the new Ferrari turbo engine.

However sources in the F1 paddock suggested that the story is not over. At present the process of enshrining rules and regulations is unclear as there is no Concorde Agreement in force.

In-season testing was cut under the Resource Restriction Agreement, which was brought into force for the 2009 season.

The idea was to cut staff numbers as testing costs rose to around $1,500 per lap.

The only exemption is the three day Young Guns test, which gives drivers who have not competed in a Grand Prix a chance to drive an F1 car, although some teams use experienced development to do test mileage on new parts. It also gives teams a chance to get some much needed extra revenue by running drivers who have a budget.

The Young Guns test was voted through again and looks likely to take place at Silverstone.

Last year the teams ended up divided on which venue to use, with some of the less well funded teams doing tests at Silverstone while others went Magny Cours and some to Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Also discussed at the SWG meeting was the subject of a penalty point accumulator, similar to the way it works with road car licences in many countries, leading to a ban for persistent infringements.

This has received a generally positive response, but teams have different ideas of the implementation, so there is further discussion to be had.

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F1 is the only…sport where people can’t test and pratice. Ridiculous.


Ha! 20 races and they’re at breaking point! Wimps! NASCAR techs do 36+ in a year. Only teasing.

I’m somewhat surprised that more teams didn’t vote for in-season testing. So many teams seem to be having problems correlating data from the track and their efforts in the wind tunnel and CFD runs etc. I would have thought they would jump at the chance to have some testing, where they didn’t have to keep an eye on the next day’s qualifying and race strategy etc. Nobody yet knows fully how it will all gel together in 2014, especially with the current tyre situation. Maybe they are all super confident that they will have things sorted out before the new regulations in 2014. I’m not so sure.


Whilst the suggestion to test on Mondays seems like a good one, the differing points of view put forward by people on this forum seems to highlight perfectly the problems that F1 seems to face in reaching agreement on this topic (and many others). Add in the various vested interests of the haves and have nots among the teams and it is no wonder that so much time is spent debating the matter with very little ever getting agreed much less changed. It is always easier to maintain the status quo.

Tom in adelaide

Beautiful photo….. Sometimes i think i like the tracks more than the racing. The real tracks that is.


Hi James

I’m not sure last year the Young Drivers test were split berween silverstone abu dhabi and Mugello. I think it was Magny Cours in september. Mugello in May was actually a testing session for all of the teams with their official drivers. In fact we had enthusiastic opinions from them about the track.

Stephen Taylor

Paul Ricard you mean.


in fact James has now fixed it


No, it was Magny Cours

100% sure of this

Mugello was not Young Driver Testing, it was official session


What is the point of changing the curents points system to an “accumulator” system? It’s not like the current system isn’t working, or there have been complaints?

The introduction of the Driver/Steward has been a work in progress and it’s been getting better year on year. Also, under the stewardship of Todt, the FIA has become a lot less political. With no axe to grind, and no egos to be humbled, we do not see penalties based on politics anymore.

Formula 1 does far to much navel gazing my opinion. Always trying to fix things that are already working. Maybe these things need a few tweaks, but not an overhual and introduction of a whole new system. Is this part of the trend to attract more of the playstaion generation, I ask? For whom penalties, crashes and things other than racing is part of the “thrills”? This is a very clear case of “can’t see the wood for the trees”.

What we want more of is real racing, NOT more penalties. Anything that stands in the way of that cannot be a good thing for the sport IMO.


There is no current points system for rule breaches – the only points allocated are WC points for the driver and teams which is completely different.

What James mentioned is a penalty points system where – as I understand it – if a team breaks a rule they will given points against them (or possibly have points taken away, as in a demerit system like a drivers licence).

When the points reach a limit, then an actual penalty will be given (fine, grid drop etc.)

As I said, that’s my impression of the proposal – if I’m wrong on any point (if not all), let me know.

It is my hope that if this system comes into effect then we might see drivers being able to race from where they qualify, even if they have the odd mechanical failure, which will result in more ‘real’ racing.

But generally – aside from my gripe about gearbox penalties and so on – they do seem to do a good job these days.


The whole issue around testing is interesting. Sadly, I see no significant value in testing a car with a less experience driver. Sure it will provide much needed experience to the young driver, but the quality of feedback from your main drivers cannot be overlooked. My view is this: If a team has sufficient resources to do on-track testing, let them do it. There’s a good reason why piloting exists. Nothing beats a real test. You do not have to discover during the season that your predictions are somehow skew…that can take a lot of money and other resources to become competitive again. Testing may be seen as significant in costs, but there’s good quality data coming from it. And this data can be used to advance the CFD field etc (a positive contribution to motor industry). Personally I can re-introduce in-sesion testing but restricted to a percentage of the total distance covered during the entire season.How teams wish to use the allocation? It becomes entirely their choice. However, teams will have to reveal their intentions and report the actual mileage from each car. Failure to adhere to the ground rules should face a severe penalty.



How sad to see some of the coments above.

Fact.Pharmaceutical Company’s spend millions

of $ on R & D,simply put its a question of

better life and saving a life, it does not

differ from F1 where R & D and testing the

components of such inportance that on the

end of a day can save a life.

For those teams who just want to put hand

out and say what about me?, they should

heed the quote of the late US Presindent the

Franklin D Roosevelt, if you can’t stand the

heat in the kitchen get out.

Surprised at Mercedees not supporting the

testing?,for sure it tells you they are not

there for long,they want out and supply the

engine only,as for Renault they do just that

supply the engines.

The great Man Enzo Ferrari said let the

competition be, competition makes a better

breed,we all reminiscence of yesterday when

Tazio Nuvolari driving an Alfa Romeo beat the

might of Germany the Auto-Union.


I believe F1 testing is not primarily for testing components for safety, it’s more for performance.


Can’t understand why they don’t make certain Fridays an open pitlane test day with say 3 sets options and 2 set of primes and a tyre of choice that isnt being used that the teams can use test engines and gearboxes that could be limited like the race engines and gearboxes are

To allow the lower placed teams in the championship more track time the higher placed teams could be forced to sit out at 1 hour intervals so for example at 9am the bottom 3 teams can go out all day when they want, at 10am the next 3 teams can go out etc and the last 4 couldn’t join the track session till 12pm until say 5pm

Fans would get to see the cars more and then on Saturday the normal practice and qualifying can take place


A great idea. This next race in Spain is a perfect example of when this could have happened.

On back to back weeks there is no way they could get set up a day early but when there is a break like this I don’t see the problem.

Didn’t they used to practice on Thursdays as well or am I remembering it wrong?


I think they practice on Thursdays in Monaco. Friday is sacred or something.


I think a better option would be to set a given amount of budget per team, heavily audit it, and then allow the teams to spend it on what they like be that testing, creme de la creme designers, wind tunnels etc

You would then see some very varied approaches


Don’t see why they don’t get testing days if the break between races is more than 2 weeks. This can only help teams make their cars more reliable. I mean, it would probably add 2 testing sessions during the season so I don’t see how this could be a significant cost compared to the old test whenever you like days.


Well the idea of testing the day after the race or allowing a third test chasis to be use by young prospect drivers to test in P1 are all great ways.

I still can’t get my mind wrapped around the calender. A full week between Spain and Monaco then another week gap before Canada. Then 2 weeks followed by the rare back to back British and German GP’s then a break for 2 weeks and a break of 3 weeks between Hungarian GP and SPA. September, October, and November are fairly busy. F1 seems like the racing is more of a hobby for the engineers than a racing league.

The teams could afford to test if they were to limit certain other activities like paying Ferrari money they don’t deserve so they can have 900 employees. They could have a much stronger TV contract if they didn’t have such a large number of gaps between races and such a small number of races. Also the instability of where they are going to race has to be a big factor. How you guys only have a handful of races in the EU where F1 is strongest is amazing. I know Bernie likes his $24 million fees and I know some of these government officals overseas like thier “special” relationships with Bernie but there is something seriously wrong here. Has Mr. Eccelstone done good for F1? Unequivocally yes! Has F1 maybe outgrown his leadership? I think so. To me a newbie fan I believe F1 is the premiere closed track racing in the world and already concerned about the lack of vision for the future I wonder how you veteran fans feel?


Surely they can’t keep using the financial crisis as justification to limit in season testing.


The money the teams spend goes back into the GFC ravaged communiuty surely and can only strengthen the economy.


In my view nothing changes. Its all about disparity of resources between the front and back of the grid. Back in the days of in-season testing, the likes of Minardis and Jordans couldn’t afford to participate in the in-season tests and now its about not having enough resources to build a state of the art simulator.

Same goes for the idea of penalty point accumulator. There has always been inconsistency in the way penalties are handed out. F1 stewards resort to handing penalties based on the outcomes and not the actions. So while a Romain Grosjean/Maldanado gets penalized for taking out another car, Hamilton/Vettel get away scot-free for similar infringement.
Another element is increasing attempt from F1 to woo casual fans by making “the show more entertaining” dramatic and randomly handed penalties are part of that trend. So I’m very sure nothing will change on the penalty front as well.

If FIA/FOM really have good intentions and want to introduce transparency in the way penalties are handed out, what is needed is same set of professional stewards that travel with the F1 circus to all the races on the calendar. That would make some one accountable. [mod]


“If FIA/FOM really have good intentions and want to introduce transparency in the way penalties are handed out, what is needed is same set of professional stewards that travel with the F1 circus to all the races on the calendar. That would make some one accountable.” —- Agreed. Surely enhanced professionalization of the stewards’ roles and consistency in who fulfills them can only be a good thing.




Not point out only you, there have certainly been others on this and many other sites that have decried the “casual fan”.

I do not know what the casual fan you speak of is. Is it the business man who attends the race only because his company purchased a set of $7,000.00 for him and one of his clients? Is the fan in China that watches maybe one race a year and just dreams of having an actual car. Who is this casual fan?

This an arugument of arrogance in my opinion. Take my local baseball team the Texas Rangers, for over 30 years they were terrible but now they are one of the best teams in the league. You see “diehard” baseball fans complaining about casual fans at the ballpark. They say they don’t undestand the finer parts of baseball. Yet before these so called casual fans started coming to the games the Rangers could barely break 2 million in annual attendence, usually it was around 1.0 to 1.5 million. Now they are regularly over 3 million fans. Now they are winning and have the money to compete. F1 is no different if it wishes to grow (and I have some doubt there) it must continually attract casual fans and convert some of those fans into rabid fanatical fans.

I think we can do with much less bashing the new fan or the casual fan when I see many “diehard” fans post all over the internet how they are done watching F1 due to DRS, KERS, and Cheese Tire (Tyres). To me if a “fan” stop watching due to a rule change that makes the sport more competitive then what does that make that fan? I think we all know it makes that fan a fair weathered fan.

I would also ask that all of those that hate the tires (tyres) and DRS to watch closely the race to the detection line and how the teams use the tires. For me the chess match and the race to the DRS are great the only thing that needs to be changed is the silly rules on blocking.

Also on the penalty points, there is no way that will work until the FIA shows that it can actually officiate a race transparently, quickly, and fairly. So far they have a sorry history of bias and unfairness.


this no testing was put in place to “save resources” and “cut staff members”? didn’t I just read that Ferrari has over 900 staff working on F1 alone, how about McLaren, Red Bull, etc.? seems like they’ll all regret this next year with a new car and new engine.


I don’t really like this reality show F1, which scrambles driving ability with DRS and horrorful tyres, so humiliating what once was the fastes race. This F1 is a masked regularity competition and it’s quite depressing, knowing a driver is at 70% his possible speed because of tyres, beeing unable to overtake or resist a worse driver. This is no more the highest level car racing series, but a TV product for occasionals viewers. Testing on the field is the base od developing and since the prohibition, teams are spending huge amount of money with symulations. It’s a paradox, but who has more money to spend, could even gain more advantage by it.


Horrible. They should at the very least have limited testing during the season. I cant see the reason why teams wouldnt be given one day during periods like this recent one with 3 week breaks. 1 would have been more than enough. implement them while encouraging/forcing new driver runs and at the same time avoid new parts proving their faults during races. Anyway good old F1, s*** will chance only when someone dies because of something


The most interesting part of this for me is the possibility of a points penalty system.

Hopefully if this comes together it might lead to the abolishment of the ridiculous gearbox penalty / engine failure rule.


It definitely seems stupid that there is a bigger / the same penalty for a mechanical failure than dangerous driving or deliberately cheating in one way or another.


Ok it’s good in general that the teams don’t want to spend big per testing lap. But then you have Red bull can put 20 engineers onto designing a new rear wing back at the factory and have it work immediately. Honestly it’s getting really silly ,Mercedes came back into the sport on a limited budget then they had to go and spend a fortune building the team up to be competitive with Ferrari, Red Bull and Mclaren otherwise walk away again.

It’s just bizarre that every time F1 talks about reducing costs it starts to run rampant in so many other ways.. No really I would much prefer to see an extra day testing ( probably a thurs on the 3 week gaps) than seeing teams with 600 staff back in the factory- it’s ridiculous. It’s like saying lets cut sugar out of our diet but we’ll go out and eat magnums every day.


No, this is ultimately a good decision.

The formula has settled into a crunch to get the cars out the door in working order, and use the scant testing time during the weekends to optimize their machinery.

The only people who support the testing are those without regard for the massive costs of F1 in general, and specifically the potentially debilitating expense of in-season testing programs.

Good call.


I see it this way.

Testing has been banned mainly to reduce costs.

Well, if they wouldn’t spend tens of millions of Euro on aero, maybe they could afford spending more time on the track, where it should be. Not in a room with a computerized frame and a big screen.

This will give them the real data, test engines along with other parts and new drivers. Test the actual tyres etc.

I thought they would have realised by now how aero dependant F1 is today and that should not be the case. I read that article from Porsche which said they decided to join LeMans instead of F1 because of the very low relevance to road cars and very high dependance on aero.

Here is a quote from that article:

“But the final decision was the only logical one. F1 was an alternative, but the road relevance is not there. Also, there is a lot of publicity around politics and tyres, but not so much about the engines and chassis. The aero, too, is incredible, but so extreme that it cannot result in any development in our road car understanding.”



My guess is the vote by the teams will be mirrored here. Ferrair fans for, all others against.




Hello James!

A very disappointing decision in my mind….

I think an extension on the Young Guns Program would be a good idea. That scenario along with, about, three test sessions spaced out every six weeks or two months during the season using a Team’s third driver and the regular race pilots, would prove very beneficial. (Tire evaluation, for example)

Furthermore, how about Mugello being used as one facility, since it’s owned by Ferrari, and Paul Ricard, which I believe is owned by Bernie Ecclestone, as the the other test track, for a little variety’s sake….

It seems as if there is the distinct possibility for something both positive progressive in this potential occurrence. I could see the Sporting Working Group getting together with the owners Ferrari/Ecclestone and working out a deal in the interests of the sport, Formula 1….

After agreeing a cost saving deal, on facility usage, this opportunity would also give potential Grand Prix drivers great on track experience. At the same time, F1 Teams would be allowed the chance to evaluate young driver’s prospective talent and technical abilities–just the way it was back in the day….


Young guns can be given last year machine to test on. Regular in-season/pre-season testing and allowing potential f1 drivers a test should be differentiated and handled separately.


F1 engineer teams already do 19/20 races, 3 pre-season tests and one young guns test mid season. I imagine most of them are at breaking point, and the next 3 years will be even more grueling for them with the change in regs requiring continuous total development.

My point is that if they try and put any more driving into the year than the teams will need to hire two set of mechanics, and this would be incredibly expensive in an era of resource restriction. It isn’t so much the cost of hiring a track, it is the cost of managing an increase in team workload.

(all my opinion btw so i accept some people will disagree)


Have they considered taking a leaf out of MOTOGP’s book and staying on after a GP for a day or two of testing.

F1 weekends are a bit bizarre, using FP to test parts, frequently inconclusively. Given the financial input, IMO this is a little bit lopsided. If the teams carry on at the same track they just raced at, the costs, logistics, are minimalised.


Well that would be the only thing F1 should take out of Moto Gp. Everything else with MotoGP ATM is awful


Why do you say that?

The racing is closely fought and there have been different winners of each race.


CRT’s are a farce. The actual field is only 12 moto gp bikes and the rest are super bikes.

DORNA now run MotoGP and WSBKs. So a massive conflict of interest going on there too. Not seeing a light at the end of this tunnel


Ridiculous and dangerous.

Issue #1 for me as a fan is that I see unfinished cars, and I underline that, waiting to unleash potential.

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