Debate: Friday Man

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, Melbourne, 2007Another tweak to the Friday driver rules are being proposed following new revisions made to them over the winter.

This year, teams can run two cars on Friday and one of them, if they choose, can be driven by a test driver. So far only BMW and Williams have taken advantage of that, most teams not wishing to disadvantage their race drivers’ track time.

But now Bernie Ecclestone is suggesting that it be compulsory for one of the drivers used on Friday to be a test driver. Often I can appreciate both sides of an argument but this is an idea I am dead set against.

Why on earth should one driver in a team be forced to miss out on valuable track time at a given race?

I cannot understand why BMW and Williams have chosen to run test drivers on Friday and I certainly don’t think teams should be forced into doing it.

Especially at new circuits, such as Fuji Speedway this year, it would be a tremendous disadvantage to the driver left out. Late in a season, if two drivers in the same team were competing for the championship, it could cause enormous difficulties.

It would be terribly damaging for Formula 1 if this kind of rule paved the way for more teams to run essentially one-driver teams where the second man is forced to slavishly support the championship bid of the other.

If anything, I would like to see the option for teams to run test drivers on Friday rescinded, or at least changed so that both their race drivers can also get track time.

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