FIA confirms return of in-season testing in 2014

2014 F1 season

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Giedo van der Garde, Caterham, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2013Formula One teams will be allowed to test during the F1 season once more from next year, the FIA has confirmed.

The World Motor Sport Council approved plans for teams to conduct four tests during the 2014 season.

“Four two-day track tests will be allowed in season in place of the current eight one-day promotional days and the three-day young driver test,” said a statement from the FIA.

“These will take place at tracks in Europe on the Tuesday and Wednesday after a race in order to ensure minimal additional resources are necessary.”

Teams will also be allowed to begin pre-season testing earlier, in January, to give them more time to develop the new 1.6-litre V6 engines which are being introduced next year.

The FIA also announced “a significant reduction in the amount of wind tunnel testing and CFD work has been imposed to help reduce costs and potentially allow two teams to share one wind tunnel”.

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Keith Collantine
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  • 27 comments on “FIA confirms return of in-season testing in 2014”

    1. So simulators become even more important…

      This is however a good descisin I think. Although some trams who have invested heavily in cfd and windtunnels are kinda shafted by this.

    2. Meh. Four 2 day tests as opposed to 8 promotional days isn’t a huge change. However, the fact that they’re proper tests is interesting (assuming they are now allowed to use race tyres).

      I see this being a problem for young drivers now. Most teams will likely use their current two race drivers in tests as opposed to young/reserve drivers, as christian horned pointed out the other day. Not good.

      1. Well, those promotional days were maximum 100 km, so its really 8 times 100 km and 3x 300-360 km that are replaced with sessions where they can do up to 350 km a day (1800 km vs 2.800 km).

        And given that these test days are done with all teams together, on tracks that had a race, I would guess it could well be cheaper for the teams too.

      2. Have to disagree there. I think this is only good for F1. Of course this is a huge change from promotional days, because they can actually try new things on their cars, including using proper tires. This gives them opportunity to use their reserve drivers too, even if it is just form one stint on one of the days here or there. Even if teams are more likely to use their primary drivers, they don’t have to, and also the lesser teams that have been tending to sacrifice some Friday practice time to try out a new pay driver thus penalizing their primary pay driver’s car time, have more options now.

        1. Just to note…was disagreeing with @timi while @bascb was posting. @bascs I agree. I think this is a no-brainer and they should have been doing this all along…staying at a venue while they’ve already freighted everything in for the race weekend I mean.

    3. So they banned testing and encouraged more wind tunnel and CFD design to reduce costs.
      Now they’re allowing testing and discouraging wind tunnel and CFD usage to reduce costs…?

      1. Perhaps the ‘costs’ of not providing Pirelli enough testing opportunity, and the resulting controversy with their need for in-season test with Mercedes, is also being factored in with this decision. To me there’s nothing wrong with tweaking things to keep costs under control, AND making them better for everybody. Things may get tweaked again. Nothing is written in stone and I certainly think actually testing on the track, and doing it by staying at venues where they already have freighted in the equipment for the race, makes perfect sense.

      2. @ajokay, it was ever thus in F1, at least since the money became more important than the technology.

    4. Nice to see in season testing returning but how on earth are you going to moniter the usage of wind tunnels and CFD?

      1. Good question. I understand that is exactly what the smaller teams don’t like about this, because its far to easy to be shady about those last too.

        1. @bascb The FIA said they were going to remove the gray area around testing but now they added a new one!

          1. yeah, clear testing rules but murky rules for everything else!

            1. I’m not one to automatically defend the FIA by any stretch, but on this I think they are making the right call. I’ll assume they have a way of policing wind tunnel and CFD testing and I certainly don’t think it is in their best interest to do things to harm the smaller teams, so I’m sure the intention here is to reduce costs and help smaller teams, and it’s not written in stone either. It’s a good move in the right direction and may be tweaked further.

            2. That seems overly optimistic to me @robbie.

              I read an extensive article about the background of these new testing rules, they were thought up by the big and rich teams, discussed with the FIA by them and voted through by them (Sauber voted pro – but only because Ferrari had them), the rules came through because Mercedes changed camps and is now pro testing.

              In that piece there was an interesting part where it mentioned how Windtunnel hours are counted – by the teams themselves. RBR has an older tunnel, and it takes a long time to get up to speed. So they count only the hours run when they are completely up to speed. But no one knows what they test in all the hours while running a little lower speed, and those are not counted in. That is one example.

        2. @bascb, but at least those smaller teams without massive budgets for windtunnels and CFD will be able to test updates regularly the old fasioned way.

          1. yes, but building many parts and on track testing is far more expensive than just to think them up and run simulation on them in CFD, and then test only the ones that have a good feedback.

      2. CFD capacity and windtunnel time have been restricted and monitored for several years.

        The rules allowed the teams to swap CFD and straightline testing for windtunnel time or vice versa.

        1. It’s also worth noting that the rule is for full-scale (i.e. put their car in the tunnel) testing.
          The teams can do much more testing with their 50/60% scale models.

          1. Teams are not allowed to have full scale windtunnels by the rules @optimaximal

    5. Glad to see testing return, even if a little. I hope the rules regarding limitations of windtunnel and CFD is clearer to the teams than to us, though.

      With the Young Driver Test gone, I’d like the teams and FIA to give some consideration to a rule imposing a number/percentage of kilometers should be driven by a driver under 30 with less than 2 GPs driven in the last 36 months or so.

    6. Its pointless. At the end of teh day, if they have the money they will spend it.

      If they can’t get the advantage in one area they’ll spend it in another.

    7. A good overview of the role of CFD in F1.

      Given the ever-decreasing cost of computer power, it’s going to be virtually impossible for the FIA to police CFD use. Those regulations made sense when CFD had to be run on computer systems at big research institutions. They make less sense when you can build your own teraflop level computer cluster in your own home.

    8. What’s a two-day test at Monza after the Italian Grand Prix going to achieve?

      Unless Mexico is coming back in the autumn, I can’t see any other low-downforce tracks that will benefit much from the Monza setup. Probably quite a good place for those constant-speed aero test runs though.

      1. And perhaps a good chance to throw some young drivers in the car too.

        1. Work on their pit stops, on standing starts, on reliability issues, on brake options etc etc. Methinks they can do plenty of things even though I take your point about the low-downforce reality of the track.

      2. They can test new wings trying to reduce drag without loss of downforce, it’s supposed to be testing, not practice.

    9. Having two day test outings following four of the European GP’s is a move in the right direction, but I think that they might have it backwards. It would make a lot more sense, to me anyway, to make these in season tests part of the actual GP weekend show. Why not designate the Thursday and Friday BEFORE the selected race weekends as full blown, 8 hour test days, and sell some more tickets? It would seem to be a good idea logistically as well … show up one day earlier as opposed to staying three days longer.

    Comments are closed.