I’m sure that following the many, sometimes disasterous driver changes in 2009(poor old Badoer), the testing rules were changed slightly for 2010 to allow a one day test for a driver who hasn’t raced in F1 for 2 or more years. Another part of this rule I remember is that if the driver doesn’t end up racing, the team will be deducted 1 day from pre-season testing. Is this rule still in place and could, theoretically HRT have a one day test for Ricciardo to try out their car?
You are right and this rule is still in place. This is what 2011 F1 Sporting Regulations say:
If a team declares that one of its current race drivers is to be substituted by a driver who has not participated in an F1 race in the two previous calendar years, one day of track testing will be permitted between the start of the week preceding second Event and the last Event of the Championship. The following must be observed:
– Any such day may only be carried out by the new driver and may not take place on a circuit hosting a race in the current Championship year.
– Any such day may only take place within a period 14 days prior to the substitution and 14 days after the substitution has taken place.
– If a team, having declared the driverís substitution and performed the test, does not then enter an Event with the new driver, the team will be penalised by a reduction of one day from the pre-season track testing days available in the following year.
Considering where they are based they could well leave to Silverstone a day earlier and have a stop in Valencia for example (Ricardo Tormo circuit), have a day of testing and continue. At least it could help Ricciardo so that he knows the car a bit better.
There’s at least a day of setting up, and a day of packing everything up, as well as the organisation of getting the track into a state where they can run the car safely. Assuming there is a full day testing, that’s three days of time spent just on giving Ricciardo more experience in the car, which he probably doesn’t need.
In-season testing, like they used to do would involve a separate test team that could test without interfering with the logistics of the race team. Ferrari can do “filming days” quite easily at Fiorano because there’s no travel involved, so there’s much less setup.
There’s a slightly more basic problem, which is that Hispania are currently operating out of Colin Kolles’ base in Germany. That’s why they’re trying to get use of Mercedes’ wind tunnel as it would be more convenient for them.
In an interview with Autosport, Ricciardo has said that the seat fitting and similar things would happen at the Silverstone track so I guess no testing is planned before Silverstone. Ricciardo can, however, use this one day between Silverstone and Nurburgring, too. But I don’t think that Ricciardo needs the test as desperately as Alguersuari and Badoer needed it two years ago as he has taken part in all Friday sessions this year.
It was Alguersuari showing himself to be capable but ridiculously hamstrung by the silly 2009 state of the regulations that enabled the loophole. Not that I expect the underfunded and mid-transfer Hispania to be able to make use of it.