MARCH 12, 2002
Testing on Fridays
ONE of the issues which will be discussed at the forthcoming Formula 1 Commission meeting is the question of whether or not it is a good idea for there to be two-day Grands Prix. This idea is going to be unpopular with the promoters, as the local governments want to make the most of the influx of people, and so that could mean that there will be eight votes against changing the current system. It only needs one more vote and any change to Friday running will be defeated. There is believed to be a proposal on the table for Friday to be used as a day of unofficial testing, replacing all other testing that currently takes places. This is not likely to succeed as the big teams will argue that there is no cost-saving in cutting back on testing as they will invest the money in simulation technology and so will pull even further ahead of the opposition which cannot afford to do such research.
The issue of cost-cutting is currently in fashion in F1 but history has proved that it is very rare that any regulation ever actually reduces expenditure and often had added to the costs instead - the opposite effect to that desired.
The most effective way to cut costs in recent years has been a tightening of the money supply rather than new regulations and that is happening now with the onset of the recession. This means that teams cannot afford to do everything that they wish to do and so are forced to make compromises. The danger of course is that the big teams will tend to move further ahead of the opposition - which is what the authorities are also trying to avoid.