FIA president Jean Todt is keen to accelerate the re-intoduction of in-season F1 testing from 2013 to 2012 and I believe that this is absolutely the right move to make at a time when senior team personnel have been backing moves to enhance and expand the strength in depth of the sport’s coverage throughout the media.
At the present moment teams are banned from testing during the season, but moves are being made behind the scenes to have an additional young driver test during the course of the season in 2012. Frankly, I can’t see any good reason why we don’t revert to full blown three day tests at Barcelona, Monza and Silverstone, although I’m sure the competitors would squeal in pain at the logistical challenge such a move would pose during the course of a 20-race season.
“This is being reviewed in the sporting working group right now and we had a meeting at Silverstone about it,” explained Williams’s outgoing technical director Sam Michael at the British grand prix.
“There has not been a vote yet. All they have done is put a few ideas out there about what you could potentially do, which might involve doing an extra young drivers’ test during the season.”
Todt admitted during the Turkish grand prix weekend that he was looking to have in-season testing return in 2012 pending the approval of the teams, but would push it through without their agreement if necessary for 2013.
Although teams have saved a great expense by banning in-season testing, it has come to the detriment of young drivers who are unable to gain enough experience behind the wheel of an F1 car. With such limited running, all pre-season testing is usually carried out by race drivers.
Time was when major in-season tests provided prodigious curtain raisers to key events on the calendar – and were welcomed by the circuit owners as another healthy profit centre.
If F1 is worried about its media exposure, whether through the print media or the internet, then it seems to be that the cars should be kept running longer.
So Todt’s strategy deserves the thumbs-up.