AUGUST 4, 1997
Bernie and testing
IT is no secret that Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is trying hard to get the Grand Prix teams to agree to restrict the amount of testing which happens between the races.
This is unlikely to deter Ecclestone and we expect that there will be a lot of talk over testing in the next few weeks as Ecclestone tries to get restrictions agreed before the FIA World Council meets in October.
There are several reasons why Bernie wants less testing. It will enable him to argue that there should be more races as this year the major teams have proved that they are capable of running big tests between each Grand Prix - and sometimes two tests simultaneously.
He is also keen to cut back the testing so that F1 engine-builders will have production capacity to be able to supply more teams in the future. It is not simply a question of finding engines for Benetton and Arrows but rather should be seen as part of a longer-term plan to increase the number of teams involved in F1 racing. The limited number of engines available has always been a major stumbling block for anyone considering entering F1.
Ultimately, Ecclestone's dream has always been to have two F1 leagues with teams being promoted or relegated between them at the end of each season depending on their results. This would enable there to be twice as many Grands Prix - as the two leagues could alternate weekends - and thus Bernie's companies could make twice as much money.