In-season testing

A recent comment by Bernie Ecclestone caused a rebuttal by Luca di Montezemolo of Ferrari. The comments centred on the recent ‘flag-gate’ controversy, and I’m not mentioning it again. But Montezemolo mentioned two things, Bernie is too old to run F1, and the in-season testing ban is wrong.

For starters, Bernie knows very well what he is doing. It’s still obvious when he mentions how F1 doesn’t need a race, just before a contract extension is signed. It gives the organisers that little bit of pressure. He’ll be running the F1 circus for a few years yet.

But the in-season testing ban to me smacks a bit of sour grapes on Montezemolo’s part. Had there been testing this season, Ferrari wouldn’t have needed to run new parts in free practice, and with their wind tunnel problems, they still would have been able to develop the car to challenge properly for the title.

But then, McLaren could have worked on their pit stop procedures, and Red Bull could have got more data to help them combat their problems adapting to non-blown diffusers. Lotus could have got their car working, and Mercedes may have found a way to get the double DRS system working without eating their tyres.

The in-season testing ban levels the playing field. It is Ferrari’s fault that their wind tunnel is not giving them the correct data, and it is something they need to correct, whether there is in-season testing or not. But if there were in-season testing, it would be Ferrari who benefit most, having their own private testing track.

I remember in the 1998 F1 Season Review, the testing details between Ferrari and McLaren were mentioned, with Ferrari conducting twice as much running as the British outfit. Now, it’s a level playing field. I think this season’s idea, with young driver testing, was good to get test drivers accustomed to the machinery, and limited part development was allowed, but for me, in-season testing is a thing of the past.

Perhaps Montezemolo should concentrate on running the business and his Italian political hopes, and leave the politics of F1 to those who know what they’re doing, like Stefano Domenicali. His ‘ideas’ and constant criticisms of F1, the need for three-car teams (bad) and testing, are getting a tad boring now!


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