Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Bring back testing? Here’s a better idea

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jules Bianchi, Ferrari, Abu Dhabi, 2010
Jules Bianchi, Ferrari, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Jean Todt wants to allow teams to test during the season for the first time since 2008.

But while there is a need to give young drivers more opportunities to drive Formula 1 cars, there are downsides to allowing too much testing.

That’s why I think a better alternative is to bring back non-championship Grand Prix races.

The problems of testing

Bringing back testing to give new drivers the opportunity to get mileage at the wheel of an F1 car makes sense.

Aside from that, why increase the amount of testing teams can do? It’s not as if there’s been a massive spate in car failures. The Chinese Grand Prix set a new record for the most drivers to finish an F1 race.

But a radical change in the technical rules is planned for 2013. So it’s not hard to see why teams might need more than the 15 days of pre-season running, plus a few other days during and after the season, which they get at the moment.

Still, there are many good reasons why testing was banned in the first place and F1 should take care not to forget those lessons.

Too much testing will reduce the teams’ need to run in practice on race weekends. And the more teams can test and understand their cars and the new tyres, the more predictable racing will become.

Then there’s the cost. The teams have already disbanded their separate testing teams to save money. Earlier this week Williams stressed the importance of the Resource Restriction Agreement in helping them reduce costs and remain in the sport.

This points towards several obvious things the FIA must restrict if in-season testing is to return.

How testing should be restricted

Teams should be required to test together, at the same tracks, on the same days to keep costs down.

They should not be allowed to test at Grand Prix venues, to ensure they still do set-up work and testing during race weekend practice sessions.

They should only be allowed to run drivers with no Grand Prix experience. And, of course, the total number of test days allowed should be kept to a strict minimum.

But what’s the point of going to the considerable expense of running F1 cars without taking advantage of the opportunity to draw a crowd and make some money? This is why bringing back non-championship races makes sense.

Make testing an event

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

A three-day, non-championship race weekend could include all the testing time teams need on Friday and Saturday, followed by qualifying and a race on Sunday.

There would be other benefits such as allowing them to test changes to racing rules outside of the championship: such as getting rid of the ‘use both tyres’ rule or changes to the Drag Reduction System.

Resurrecting non-championship race could allow teams to give testing opportunities for young drivers but also participate in a competitive event which will offer far more opportunities for promotion than a dreary eight-hour test.

It would be F1’s equivalent of a ‘friendly’ football match.

Who wouldn’t want to see Jules Bianchi in a Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo in a Red Bull, Oliver Turvey in a McLaren and Romain Grosjean in a Renault racing at Motorland Aragon and Imola?

A ‘pie in the sky’ plan, perhaps. No doubt Grand Prix contracts include clauses that prevent F1 cars from participating in any other races in countries that hold world championship events. But that still leaves us with Portimao in Portugal and Magny-Cours in France.

But running F1 cars isn’t cheap and the teams should take advantage of any opportunity to promote themselves and the sport.

F1 races, 1950-2001

The rise of the world championship means there hasn’t been a non-championship race for F1 cars since Keke Rosberg took the chequered flag at Brands Hatch on April 10th, 1983.

This chart shows how many world championship and non-championship F1 races there have been in every year since the world championship began.


1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
World championship races 7 8 8 9 9 7 8 8 11 9 10 8 9 10 10 10 9 11 12 11 13 11 12 15 15 14 16 17 16 15 14 15 16 15 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 17 16 17 16 16 17 17 17 16 18 19 18 17 18 17 19 19
Non-championship races 16 14 7 4 24 16 10 10 5 5 5 21 20 14 8 6 4 6 3 4 3 8 7 2 3 3 2 1 1 2 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


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Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Red Bull / Getty images

127 comments on “Bring back testing? Here’s a better idea”

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  1. Dutch_Alex
    12th May 2011, 9:56

    Although letting drivers with no grand prix experience drive the cars is a good idea for the reasons stated, I think the regular F1 drivers should get some mileage during these tests. This way they would be present, and it would probably draw a bigger crowd. It would be ideal. A chance to see F1 cars, and your favorite drivers, but it would probably cost a lot less than a normal grand prix weekend. I’d certainly consider going to a test if one was nearby. Because a real grand prix is just too expensive for me.

    1. Perhaps get them to turn up on Friday and have one practice session each with the test driver? It would bump up Friday attendances which will probably be a bit low if it were only rookies driving around for a non-championship race.

    2. I would make them join as well. Why not put in some 4-6 non championship events and allow regular drivers to participate in up to 2-3 of them.

      That would make it even more exiting, as we could have Ricciardo battling it out not just with other new drivers but also with the likes of Vettel and Webber in the same car for comparison.

      We could make those shorter events with 2 shorter races per weekend and even things like having the regulars start in opposite order at the back or things like that.

    3. Can i add that i think that they should allow drivers with grand prix experiance in but not the drivers in the current world championship. Because i and probaly alot of others would like to see if bruno senna is really any good when put in a renault.

      1. I agree with that. Any non-current drivers should be allowed a shot.

        1. I would let the current drivers in for a few races as well. Nothing better than having these promising guys win over a Seb Vettel or Alonso to show how good they are.

  2. Testing WAS an event though… I went to the last one at Silverstone on 2008 which was a fantastic day, many 1000 others there, and some of the stands were fairly full – a great way to experience F1 for £12 I think it was.

    1. Would it attract more people than an actual race, though? I don’t think it would.

      1. I suppose the only issue is letting relative novices race in such expensive bits of kit. Testing is one thing, but a lot of team might not like risking their cars in extra races.

        Btw, I’m using IE9 and can’t post replies to comments. I can make my own post, just not reply to any.

        1. The teams have signed them up as reserve drivers, which means that they might have to put them in the car on Saturday before Qualifying for a Grand Prix on a track that they have never driven before, maybe even in a place like Monaco.
          Driving the car around some Tilkedromes with huge runoff areas will work out fine, but if they really would want to make it safer they could run only one car per team or even start races behind the safety car…

        2. matt90, just turn “compatibility view” on and everything is sweet

    2. But if the teams would be allowed to do this. Using their current cars and even testing new things.

      But without payments to FOM and track advertising by the organisers or alternatively showing team sponsor PR, it would certainly not have to be expensive.

      We could have circuits like Brno, Lausitzring, Portimao, Turkey (after it gets dropped), Algarve (if allowed by FOM), Zandvoort, Brands Hatch, Donington, Paul Ricard, Magny Cours, Red Bull A1 Ring all doing events during the year.

      1. 2 big probelems

        1) If it is a big event like suggested just above then teams may not want to travel as it costs alot of money to travel places. Even Turkey is a long haul by road, if money is your problem then allow Ferrari to play around at marenllo (sp), mclaren somewhere it england etc…

        2) Many of those places in europe wouldn’t work for 2 reasons…
        a) Many aren’t up the F1 standards. Not many tracks are and tracks aren’t going to be upgraded like crazy for this I think
        b) If there was an event at Brands Hatch and Donnington, how do you think the silverstone bunch would feel? Sure Silverstone has the official GB GP but if it costs hundreds to get a good seat watching it and 10% of that get a good seat watching the same cars go around another cirucit just as close then which are you going to do. Many (not crazed fans) or those who have a budget would ditch the GB GP for a non-championship event.

        I think it would be great but it wouldn’t work. Maybe it countries were there isn’t one already, like France, but certainly Bernie and his contract friends would get a bit anoyed, less say if there was a rival that ran cheaper etc…

        And if the tickets were the same price no one would go to 2 and you’d lose customers.

        1. Wrong, you got Algrave, Turkey, Red Bull A1 Ring, Zandvoort, Paul Ricard and Magny Cours. As well as others like Motorland, Imola, Mugello and Estoril. To me it sounds like a great idea.

  3. Great idea Keith. The arguments in favour of old-style testing have long been debunked and it’s about time we had non-championship races again. It’s like in snooker, golf and tennis, where they have ranking and non-ranking events, majors and internationals and so forth. F1 used to be like this once upon a time too, so the idea isn’t foreign. We could start with the two circuits you mention and then work on getting some others.

    The only problem would be that I don’t think the costs would be met by revenue and the teams would be exhausted, but the latter is more a systemic fault; as costs come down, maybe a minimum amount of mechanics could be mandated, so they don’t get burnt out? Of course, that in itself is a reason to not return to any form of testing but I haven’t seen the teams raise the issue. Also, the calendar is quite compact already, but again that’s the fault of the system: currently the teams have to turn up on Wednesday for scrutineering on Thursday, I remember last year Horner suggested it be moved instead of having qualifying on a Sunday (because of what happened at the Japanese GP), I think this would be a good move.

    1. Seems like a good idea. Maybe the teams could have an “A” squad for the championship, and a “B” squad for non championship rounds. The way I see it is each team would have a technical section that is responsible for the design, upgrading, and setup advice for both the A and B squads. The actual A and B squads would have separate mechanics, trackside engineers, truckies etc, The benefits of such a setup would be :

      – Avoid overworking trackside staff, A squad guys still only have one race every 2 to 3 weeks, and B squad guys would only have a race every 2 to 3 weeks.
      – Give opportunity to up and coming engineers, drivers, and mechanics, by giving them a spot in the B squad. If they prove to be good the teams promote them to the A squad.
      – Additional sponsorship dollars for the teams. Teams could run different sponsors on A and B squad cars, maybe B squad sponsorship would be cheaper, opening the sponsorship market to smaller companies
      – Improved cost effectiveness. I would imagine the cost of the man hours designing a car far and away outweighs the cost of manufacturing one. So the cost of producing four cars as a opposed to two would only be marginally higher.
      – More data gathering opportunities for the teams, and
      – Most importantly more racing for us.

      1. I think the issue with all that is that costs would go up – the teams would have to employ 2 teams of mechanics, have 2 loads of transporters etc. Ferrari, McLaren etc would probably be fine with it, but I imagine the smaller teams would really struggle with it, and would probably prefer a (cheaper) traditional test session to another full-blown race event.

        1. Yeah, there would be additional cost, but there would also be a chance for additional income, and exposure, rather than testing which generates very little of any, if any.

          Also teams like Team Lotus won’t need to have GP2 teams, or other development series that they currently fund. You could have shorter races with no pit stops, reducing the number of pit crew required. The teams could organise a common catering company to feed all the teams, removing the need for individual motorhomes for each team. The same transporters between the A squad and B squad could be used, as there would never be a championship race, and non championship race on the same weekend. You could also make it whilst the championship races are in fly away mode the non championship races are held around Europe, and vice versa.

    2. javlinsharp
      12th May 2011, 14:41

      There is no reason why the races must be held during the normal season, before or after is fine. I for one could use a good dose of F1 right after the new year.
      This clears out the “burnout” problem.

      Personnally, I love the idea of a non-championship/GP Weekend simulation in the off season.

      Jean Todt, you have my approval to move forward with this :-)

      1. Well the only reason is the tracks all being mooted are situated in countries that get cold in the winter!

      2. There is no reason why the races must be held during the normal season

        True, but the teams need a certain amount of off-season to get their new cars ready, and of course there is a winter test schedule.

        I like the idea of non-championship GPs, but I see too many obstacles to them happening.

  4. Perhaps more people would turn up if every test wasn’t in Barcelona. I know going to the same venue repeatedly allows teams to compare data from one test to the next, but it draws a much smaller crowd.

    The idea of non-championship GPs is great. I know it’ll never happen because of circuit safety ratings, but the idea of F1 around Brands Hatch again is pretty exciting.

    1. It would make more people turn up for the race as well :-D

  5. I would love to have testing back. I understand the argument that it would create predictable racing but at the minute that is exactly what we have. In season testing might lead to more close racing as more parts can be tried and there may be a bigger swing in results from race to race.

    As for the cost element, I can see many political issues surrounding Non-Championship races. However, if that led to the old circuits of the good old days returning for a reason other than finance, I, and many others, would be all for it.

    Testing before 2008 was excellent for the fans, I felt but if, as you suggest Kieth, that all top drivers and teams were present on one day, then we may have a spectacle worth travelling for.

    Either way, more F1 is beneficial to teams and fans alike.

    1. In season testing might lead to more close racing as more parts can be tried and there may be a bigger swing in results from race to race.

      No it wouldn’t, because the teams that build the fastest cars also get to test.

      Indeed, the teams that have the fastest cars tend to test more, so what we’d get is a stretching of the gap between the fastest and slowest teams.

      1. @ Kieth Collantine,

        I was referring to the top teams. I understand that the gap between the top and bottom teams would increase but, as Hispania have proven this year, a good car out of the box is still a good car regardless of testing restrictions. Maybe it is my bias, but I think that Red Bull’s domination is wearing thin on the casual supporter. Since late 2009 the only things stopping Red Bull have been changeable weather conditions or outstanding drivers from competitors. As many fans on this website have pointed out, since Monza Vettel and RB are near untouchable and I think that if Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes were able to test then the top of the standings may be closer by the end of the season.

        1. Mark Hitchcock
          12th May 2011, 13:49

          But that’s Keith’s point. All the teams would be able to test. That includes Red Bull. What makes you think Ferrari, Mclaren or the rest would be able to get more use out of testing than Red Bull.

          If Red Bull had more time to test their innovations like the flexi-wing etc. then surely they would actually gain on the rest of the field.

    2. I agree that more F1 is fine, but not with testing. As we saw in the pre season, more testing is only about spending, in effect something the richer teams will benefit from most.

      If it would be races there would be a lot more people interested in that. And that would be an excellent PR event for sponsors if they can have more influence on the whole thing. That in turn would make it easier for teams to get sponsors.

  6. Bring back the Tasman series!

    1. That’s what they could call it!

      All in all Keith I think this idea is brilliant!!!!!!!!!

  7. This would be great for cross-promotion of motor racing. F1 is usually too expensive for people to attend, but always has massive numbers (well, Turkey being an exception, although it wasn’t exactly empty), while other racing series have cheaper tickets, multiple events a day but aren’t quite so popular. Having a non-championship event sharing the same weekend as other racing series would increase attendance and visibility for that series and I doubt people would mind paying a little extra to watch that series AND an F1 event on the same day (I know I wouldn’t mind what-so-ever).

    Plus, could you imagine some cross-promotion of, say, DTM and F1, with the F1 cars going around the Norisring, or the Nurburgring (not the wimpy GP course). Maybe some promotional events with one of the Le Mans Series. HELL! Stick the cars at Le Mans during the early test session. Do a promotional race with Aussie V8s at Bathurst!
    All I’m saying is, get these non-championship events at big name racing series at popular tracks for a while, see if numbers increase, then target lower series. I imagine having F1 racing on the same weekend as, let’s say, Brazilian Stock Cars, would do wonders (I didn’t even realise there were Brazilian Stock Cars, but it’s entertaining viewing).

    If they make cheaper F1 events at longer/more dangerous/more exciting tracks shared with lower race series, the people will show up.
    Just my 2p

  8. I don’t think non-championship races are the right idea, simply because testing is so expensive and there’s no visible benefit from taking part – there are no points on offer.

    I think the best solution would be to give all teams a set number of testing days throughout the year, and then extra days that are dependent upon their championship position. The higher your championship position, the less days you get. This is to allow struggling teams extra time to develop their cars and advance their standings.

    1. PM’s hit the nail on the head. Any for of non championship GP is nonsense in a day when we are trying to minimise costs.

      As for the testing days throughout the year, they can already do straight line tests, and “filming day’s” granted, with different tyres, limited top speed etc. But teams are cunning. I honesty don’t see the need for testing to return.
      Millions are being spent on developing the l4turbos, amd now todt wants more to be spent on testing! Amd Keith wants it to be spent on whole non championship GP races!!
      I think everyones forgotten that costs are trying to be cut in F1

      1. I think everyone’s forgotten that costs are trying to be cut in F1

        Perhaps you missed where I said “what’s the point of going to the considerable expense of running F1 cars” and “running F1 cars isn’t cheap”, not to mention:

        Then there’s the cost. The teams have already disbanded their separate testing teams to save money. Earlier this week Williams stressed the importance of the Resource Restriction Agreement in helping them reduce costs and remain in the sport. […]

        Teams should be required to test together, at the same tracks, on the same days to keep costs down.

        If they decide not to bring back testing at all I wouldn’t be that bothered.

        But, as I said in the article, if they are going to the expense of bringing back testing then they might as well use that cost and time in a way which will promote the sport better and potentially bring in more money.

        1. I missed your first quotes when reading/possibly forgot them by the end of the article.

          But I agree with your second point

          1. Wait wait! Thought about it and I disagree. The problem is that it’s all circumstantial on people buying tickets for the non championship GPs. If not enough people buy tickets then way more costs are being incurred by teams and the FIA swell as circuits, in rental costs, shipping costs, etc etc.

            It’s hard to gauge if there would be enough demand for tickets in a non championship GP.. Especially in this day and age.

            But of it works then I’m all for it

          2. Mark Hitchcock
            12th May 2011, 13:56

            That would all depend on where the GPs took place. Put one on at Brands Hatch and you’re practically guaranteed a sell-out if the tickets are the right price. Put one where there’s no interest in motorsport and you’ve got a failure.

            And the F1 teams are still using the circuit, shipping the cars etc. when they test so I’m not sure how costs would actually increase as you say.

        2. I think there is no reason why doing something like a non championship race would have to be a lot more expensive than testing.

          But it would have a great advantage of getting more paying viewers at the track and sponsor events around that to add value for the teams and their partners. Thereby making this a lot more interesting for anyone.

        3. But running cars in “test” mode requires less people in the garage, less people in the circuit (for each team) as well. Whereas running the cars in “race” mode requires the whole group.
          My point is, its still more cost-friendly to run test than a non championship weekend, unless I missed a point somewhere..

          1. Yes you will need more people on-track. But if the teams were allowed more control over the non-championship races, or even to organise them, then on the flip-side they would have actual income from them, both from ticket sales and potentially from sponsors. Income that they don’t have from testing days.

            What it might do as well if organised properly, is show CVC/FIA what lowering ticket prices could do for attendance.

            I’d be for shorter multiple races, DTM-style. That would allow for one race with the newbies and one with the established names. Provided the first one to race didn crash out, of course.

    2. I see what your aim is there. But in essence it’s the same as success balast. Which has proven to be problematic at best in other categories.

    3. The higher your championship position, the less days you get. This is to allow struggling teams extra time to develop their cars and advance their standings.

      So we should apply the DRS principle to testing allocation now as well? I cant agree with that, as I dont think teams be punished for their success.

      I don’t think non-championship races are the right idea, simply because testing is so expensive and there’s no visible benefit from taking part – there are no points on offer.

      Im not so sure about this. Testing certainly is expensive, but I dont think there is nothing to be gained from doing it in the guise of non-championship GPs. I would absoultely watch these non-championship races, and I think most F1 fans would as well. That means additional exposure for sponsors, and possibly additional TV revenues if it were broadcast by FOM. It could even help to ‘test the waters’for bringing F1 to places with world-class (i.e., F1-appropriate) circuits that arent currently hosting races. If testing is to come back, I think this could be a superb way to do it.

    4. Expensive to us, but to an F1 team on a £40-£220 million budget? Nah testing isn’t tat expensive.

  9. I think it has been mentioned on here before and I like the idea of a Monday test day after select races during the season.

    Costs are reduced as everyone is already there for the race, and as it is after the race at that venue, the teams will be testing changes for the rest of the season rather than just trying to get the best setup for that track.

    I can’t see the teams going for non Championship races

    1. Monday testing is also a good and practical idea.

      However, the idea of non championship races is in my view still the best alternative.

      The only flaw I see, is the money involved. Because if it’s a race, you probably want to broadcast it and give people paid access. The logistics for that cost a lot more than the current tests do.

      But still, I like it, especially the idea to test new rules like DRS usage.

      And maybe some nonchampionship races will be more exciting than championship races, which might urge circuit owners to adjust their circuits.

    2. micktleyden (@)
      12th May 2011, 22:54

      Yep Monday testing strikes me as the best bet, teams still need to do their setup work on Friday and Saturday and they already have everything at the track.

      The non championship races is a great idea for fans, but in the era of cost cutting I can’t see it flying. The costs of putting on a race would not be much different to a championship race but the revenue would be signifcantly less, as it will have far less exposure for sponsors.

      They can swing it, I’d be all over it, but I think it would just drive costs back up and force te smaller teams out again.

  10. The problem with testing on a race weekend, is that, you have absolutely no opportunity to repair any defective component or performance deficient component, as such, if you do identify a fault you have to wait until the next race weekend to fix it or compromise your performance.

    Having all the teams testing on the same day, while potentially saving costs, can be more expensive to individual teams, in terms of getting maximum returns for a test run.
    For example, when teams are all a running together on a track, team a wants to do short runs, team b wants to do long runs and acquire data over that duration, if either team a or b stops on track, it affects the other teams ability to carry out its own experiments. The net result being, you are most likely unable to run your own programme to suit your particular needs.

    My feeling is that, once the teams have been given a set number of kilometers or hours within which they can test before and during a season, the team should be given the option to use up their allotted quota as they deem fit.
    So if like HRT, you decided not to participate in the pre season tests, then you can use up your test quota at any time during the season.
    Forcing teams to adopt a uniform testing regime, only benefits the bigger teams, with a huge manufacturing potential and resources to attend the tests, and with multiple varations of components. While the smaller teams will of course have longer lead times to manufacture components.

  11. I’m not convinced that having a racing weekend would be cheaper than having a testing week.

    The same crowds would attend, and the circut would take the money from tickets. The FIA would make money from TV broadcasts. At the end of it, the teams will get very little from it, and probably less data than a proper test. On top of that, the teams would need to push at 110% during the race, damaging and wearing their components, which would cost a lot to then replace. In testing the teams and drivers dont push very hard unless they are doing a stress test.

    A race weekend would be great for the fans, but because it is not for points, the teams will get very little from it, and most will probably not show up at all.

  12. To me it is a great idea, Keith.
    I remember last time I was at Mugello for a test session (Ferrari, Mclaren, BAR, Sauber and others were there)…
    Well, really, the only thing I missed was an actual race! I would have also paid a ticket to see it.
    At the same time it would not be a competitor for actual F1 circus, since Bianchi vs Ricciardo vs Grosjean doesn’t appeal the same of Alonso vs Vettel vs Hamilton…but it would appeal enough anymore!!!

    Consider how many opportunities people have to watch F1 run live (really a few!!!), and how many they would like to have.

  13. Megawatt Herring
    12th May 2011, 11:07

    On a side issue what do people think of letting any car that fails to meet the 107% rule allowing them to complete a race distance worth of testing at the track after the race, I’ve never been to a race but I imagine they would have to do it after everyone else has gone due to safety in the pit lane.

    Although I don’t see a team not making the 107% for the rest of the year this rule this would solve the problem of an uncompetitive car not being able to improve due to a lack of testing.

    Back on topic I like the Idea of a reserve drivers only test however the larger teams, perhaps all the teams, would use an experienced driver to test parts and not let rookies get used to an F1 car.

    Testing is a tricky subject but I think testing would cause more problems than it would solve.

    1. The only problem I can think of with this, is who gets to pay for the track time.

    2. HounslowBusGarage
      12th May 2011, 12:51

      Generally GPs have support races, so allowing a car outside the 107% to test would probably involve doing it the day after the race. Which is going to be hugely expensive in terms of marshalls and medical staff just for one HRT.
      And I for one, would not pay to watch a single HRT go testing for a day.

  14. I’m less sure about the non-champ races idea. I’d feel obliged to watch them, because I’m such a fan, but would do so with a certain feeling on emptiness because there wouldn’t be quite the same importance. Would they even be broadcast on TV?

    My preferred solution would be for teams to stay on until Monday or Tuesday at certain races (but not ones with a back-to-back race the following week!). I do agree that this be done with non-racing drivers, but I would allow drivers who have raced in previous seasons (eg. Hulkenberg) to allow them to ‘keep their eye in’.

    The advantage of this is that the teams and infrastructure would already be there (plus any GP2 drivers who are doing the testing), which would be a significant cost saving and little need for separate testing teams.

    Also, testing at a track AFTER they have raced there means that there is little to be gained in terms of track knowledge, but they can still compare runs with new parts to those done on Fri-Sun with the current car.

    As for spectators, fans with full race weekend tickets could pay a small supplement to stay on for testing if they wish. Die-hard fans who have already travelled might stick around. I’m sure a that lots of journalists would also prefer not to have to make extra journeys to get to testing too.

    Perhaps as an extra bonus for fans who stay, there could be a mini-race towards the end of the day’s schedule, with reverse-championship grids and a small prize pot to encourage participation?

    1. It’a nice idea and definitely preferable to old-style testing. But I’d rather we take F1 to other places for people to see it, even if it doesn’t count towards the championship.

  15. Thinking about it the non-championship events are a fantastic idea – I’m sure if we had them this year the DRS zones would be fine-tuned in half the time as well as giving newbies some valuable experience

  16. Who wouldn’t want to see Jules Bianchi in a Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo in a Red Bull, Oliver Turvey in a McLaren and Romain Grosjean in a Renault racing at Motorland Aragon and Imola?

    Only a crazy person, that’s who!!

    1. Yeah I know, but lets persuade them to go to Knockhill instead! ;)

  17. Disagree. I think it’ll be too expensive. The teams would be throwing stupid amounts of money at it and would probably get less of a return. I dont think the tracks would manage to break even on this one either in terms of financial gains, which is what they all seem to be caring a lot more about now.

    What I think should happen is what Bernie Eccelstone and Eddie Jordan touched on in the BBC coverage to the Turkish GP – and that is have very limited testing sessions/weekends per year, but only allow young drivers to test – ones who have not raced in F1. That way the teams are able to run their own programmes to develop both their cars and their drivers. Two birds, one stone.

    I dont think fine tuning race craft of the drivers would be a reason for non-championship events either, as pretty much all test drivers compete in other racing series anyway.

    1. But having inexperienced guys doing testing will be only beneficial for teams like McLaren who have an experienced tester who qualifies as a newby driver (paffet).

      Otherwise using young guys limits what you can test apart from straight line runs and shake offs.

      1. Testing yes, race weekends no. Too expensive

      2. But having inexperienced guys doing testing will be only beneficial for teams like McLaren who have an experienced tester who qualifies as a newby driver (paffet).

        They could always impose a mileage limit – i.e. not allowed to run drivers who have covered more than X miles in an F1 car. That would avoid the issue.

        1. But that would make the testing session utterly useless for evaluating new parts!

  18. An absolutely superb idea, Keith!

  19. I was thinking exactly this just a few weeks ago. But I think there would be too much commercial wrangling, FOTA, FOM, FIA blah blah blah… it’ll never get through

  20. Friday:
    Standard Practice 1
    3rd Driver Practice (Quali)

    Standard Practice 2

    3rd Driver Practice (Race)
    Standard Race

    With more teams are running 3rd drivers in practice again, why not sacrafice one of Friday’s practice sessions for the registered 3rd drivers only. They could have their own tyres and engines for their practice sessions which would promote more F1 running on track for fans, rubber in the track for teams as well as testing new parts and helping with weekend setup.

    There would be 12 competitors on track using each teams 3rd car, and I suggest they turn this 1hr session into a quali session for the 3rd drivers to line up in their own Sunday race, using a 1hr countdown and fastest lap at the end wins pole.

    Also add a new session on the Sunday so there is 2 sessions on each of the three days, the race day is the most expensive but gets the least hours of F1 action. I suggest adding another 3rd driver session using the 3rd chassis. This would be a one hour endurance race where most laps wins.

    1. What with the Porsche Supercup and GP2 support series, there’d be no room.

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