MAY 11, 2012
Teams question testing relevance
After F1's only in-season F1 test at Mugello, teams have questioned the value of the three-day session.
When testing disappeared, a number of teams voiced the need to have at least some testing during the season, to validate components and car updates. Now, however, teams have become used to partially treating Friday free practice at grands prix as test sessions.
Commenting on the Mugello test, McLaren sporting director Sam Michael said: "I think we could do without it. It was a lot of energy and expense, and did we shift relatively?"
When Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey was asked what he learned from Mugello, he said, "that the pasta in Italy is still the best in the world! We all spent money and the value of in-season testing is questionable."
Some of the smaller teams, which lack the computing power and simulation tools of their better-funded rivals, may have been expected to be in favour of an on-track session, but Toro Rosso's Giorgio Ascanelli added: "Things are tight for some teams and the most expensive thing to do is run the car..."
Pirelli's Paul Hembery admitted that it was also an expense for F1's tyre supplier and suggested that it may have been more useful to test at a track that actually hosts a grand prix.
The possibility of switching the end of season Abu Dhabi young driver test to Silverstone mid-season, is also unpopular with many teams. The fact that left-over engine mileage can be used at Abu Dhabi is one reason, whereas teams would not use race engines mid-season, and would therefore incur additional expense.
Also, if the test is to remain true to its purpose of blooding young drivers, many feel that is better done at the end of a season when they have completed their respective championships and can better concentrate on an F1 test.