DECEMBER 18, 2003
IRL bans private testing
Formula 1 has been trying to do it for years, but the unwieldy decision-making structure has made it impossible and so costs continue to boom in F1. Over in America the Indy Racing League has no such restrictions and Tony George has announced that private testing is out. George founded the IRL in 1994 in order to keep down costs to enable US drivers to race at the highest level and the move to cuts costs in 2004 follows that philosophy.
Teams will no longer be allowed to conduct private tests but instead will be allowed to take part in a number of organized tests at different venues. The first of these will be at Homestead-Miami Speedway between January 27-29 with a second at Phoenix in mid-February. In addition the engine manufacturers are being allowed three days of testing with their works teams while teams will be allows to run rookie tests to check out young drivers. The aim is to cut costs and make sure that each team has an equal opportunity to test. The IRL has also followed the F1 route and has ordained that only one engine will be allowed for practice, qualifying and the race during two-day events and may change engines before qualifying during three-day meetings. This will reduce the number of engine rebuilds necessary and thus cut further costs while also getting rid of expensive qualifying engines. There will also be a five-lap limit on the use of T-cars.
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