Jan 19, 2010

The case for retuning the F1 testing ban

Stefano Domenicali has come out in support of more testing days for Formula One teams.

The Ferrari boss believes that the reduction of testing to 15 days this winter simply does not give the teams enough track time. The change was instituted as a cost reduction measure.

The loss of testing in season limits the teams' ability to try out new ideas to improve their cars, which could make them more competitive and improve the show.

In addition, Domenicali indicated that the cost savings is really not being realized anyway.

"We need to consider the money we are saving compared to the additional money that we are spending at races as a result," said Domenicali. "If you take money away from one place, you spend it in another."

But it could be argued that this is also a safety issue, he added.

"We need to think about safety, young drivers and allowing drivers to test if there is the need for a replacement in the middle of the season, as happened last year."

The evidence is pretty clear on that front.

Romain Grosjean had a tough year at Renault after taking over from the sacked Nelson Piquet Jr. at the European Grand Prix.

Luca Badoer was just awful in the Ferrari as a sub for the injured Felipe Massa.

Giancarlo Fisichella moved to Ferrari for the final few races and struggled big time due to the lack of time in his new ride.

Even championship challenger Rubens Barrichello may have benefited from increased testing last year after he took half a season to come to grips with the Brawn's stopping system.

Testing would have helped the Brazilian get more out of the car prior to the team adopting new brake material that gave them a different feel. Once that happened, Barrichello was As it stood, the car favoured Button to that point and allowed him to stretch his lead in the championship. Not great for the show.

Maybe a simple solution is a cap on spending for development purposes that includes a fixed amount the teams must claim for each test day, rather than a limit on the days allowed. That way, each team could decide how it spends its development cash whether at computer screens using computational fluid dynamics, trying things out in the simulator, or testing at a track.

This could also help the smaller teams that may not use all their days as they could be hired out by suppliers to test new components while also trying some things they may not under their budget plus they'd also earn some income.

Sounds like a win for everyone.

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