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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teams to test resolve on in-season testing

Teams are to take a vote today on in-season testing, ESPN are reporting.

This vote has sneaked up on me as I've been a little out of the loop recently due to the fact that I'm struggling to keep my company afloat in these tough economic times and lately all of my efforts have been focussed on the "real" world rather than my passion; the upshot being that I haven't had time to check out all of the exciting things happening in the F1 world.

When you chuck in the fact that I don't watch Bahrain you can appreciate that it was easy to lose touch with the Blog.

Anyhoo, the hullabaloo about testing in-season has been Ferrari's pet peeve since it was banned in 2009 as a cost-cutting measure.

Prior to the ban being imposed the teams had a third pit team whose only function during the season was to go testing.  Each in-season test cost over $300,000 per team in terms of salaries, cars,parts, transport and accommodation.  But of course Ferrari have their own test track at Fiorano, making the whole thing much easier and far cheaper for the Italian team.

Jonathan Neale from McLaren seems to think that there are four teams in favour of testing but falls short of naming them.

I think I can do that for him:

Ferrari at Fiorano (obviously)
Force India (Silverstone)
Mercedes (Brackley - just down the A43 from Silverstone)
Red Bull (Milton Keynes - Just down the A5 from Silverstone)

I'm assuming that it is unlikely that Caterham or Marussia would support a return to in-season testing simply due to their budget issues, but the likes of Lotus and Williams are not too far away from Silverstone either so the costs associated with testing there might be achievable for those two teams.

Certainly, Williams would have a history of testing at Silverstone and would probably like to have in-season testing to focus their efforts on improving the car this season.

McLaren however are not in favour of a return to in-season testing, citing the economic climate, cost saving and equal opportunities as their reasons.

We know however that they test their cars in-season on their secret test track under the MTC as first revealed in Episode 1 of TOONED (with that kind of facility in place, out of the eyes of the prying media and FIA they can carry out their secret test programmes while pretending to be on the side of the little teams).