Le Grand Retour
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French Grand Prix
Four in season test sessions return in expanded 2014 F1 calendar
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Jun 2013   |  3:45 pm GMT  |  50 comments

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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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



Luca di Montezemolo must be dancing with joy!

He has been asking for in-season test for many years…


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.


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!


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.


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.


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,


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.


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


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?

colin grayson

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


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.


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.


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


Absolutely agree, common sense has ruled the day.

Tornillo Amarillo

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.


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


Hi James

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




Promoters were here this weekend and say yes


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


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


Are spectators allowed at these tests ?


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.


Yes of course


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

Now that would be a test! 🙂


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.


you/we would black out after one lap


Finally, some common sense out of F1…

…assuming it all happens, of course.


What are the aero reductions?


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.


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!


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.


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.

Andrew Carter

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


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

Andrew Barker

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



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


Sporting Director level


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.


My guess: Williams, Marussia and Caterham.


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!


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.


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 😀


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.

Michael Grievson

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

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