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MARCH 19, 2004

Team bosses split on more testing at races

The top Formula 1 team bosses are split on whether they would like to reduce testing away from the Grands Prix if there was more mileage allowed at a Grand Prix event.

"It would increase our costs," said Ron Dennis of McLaren. "When you go testing, you make one of something. If you test prior to a Grand Prix and you truly believe that you have an even chance of the development working on the car, you would manufacture in sufficient quantities to be able to immediately introduce it to that race. So it would increase costs if you had free testing at the event. The whole ambiance of a test is different. It's not just about doing laps, it's a different mindset, a different process. Occasionally you run the car illegally in testing, because that gives you the ability to understand. You might run your car underweight and then chose to put weight in different places etc. But if you make testing part of the event, the car would have to comply. It's far more complex that you would first think."

Jean Todt said that he would be against such an idea because of Ferrari's need to test tyres.

"As long as there will be more than one tyre company, it's very difficult to limit testing. We are the only top team with Bridgestone, which puts us in a situation to do a lot of tyre testing, probably much more than the other competitors. So I think that as long as Formula 1 is the way it is with tyre companies and all that, it's very difficult to change things."

Frank Williams said that he would be willing to support "a sensible further reduction in summer testing by a modest amount". Williams said that every year Formula 1 costs more money but added that the revenues are not increasing at the same rate.

"There's serious competition for dollars for advertising, so certainly privately held teams have to be mindful of their costs. I recognise Jean's position fully. If we had a test track outside our back door I would fight through every court to save it."