Top teams criticise in-season testing

By on Saturday, May 12, 2012

Photo credit: Red Bull GEPA

Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey and McLaren’s Sam Michael both claimed they did not see any particular value in holding the recent Mugello test.

The three days’ running at the Tuscan track replaced one of the winter tests, after the teams decided it would be a better use of their resources to split their limited amount of testing days in this way. But Michael and Newey today argued that the test was not an effective use of their teams’ time. “Personally, I think you could do without it,” said McLaren sporting director Michael, during the FIA Friday press conference. “I think it’s a lot of energy and expense during the season that we probably don’t need. Of course McLaren will gain a lot out of that test but Formula One is all relative, so all we really did was spend a load of money. And did we really shift relative to Red Bull or Ferrari or Mercedes and the people who we’re competing against? I don’t think so.”

Newey, voiced his agreement, adding that, since the ban on in-season testing came into effect three seasons ago, the teams have developed techniques to compensate. “We’ve all learnt how to use Fridays [FP1 and FP2 during a race weekend] more effectively as test sessions, so the value of in-season testing has depleted because of that,” said Red Bull’s chief technical officer. “I think the fact is things are tight for a lot of teams and the most expensive thing to do is run the car. That’s far more expensive than wind tunnel testing or CFD or simulators and whatever else you might like to name. If one of the major things is to save costs then I think in-season testing would be one of the relatively low-hanging fruit.”

The counter argument was put by Toro Rosso technical director Giorgio Ascanelli, who explained that for smaller teams the in-season test was actually quite valuable. “They [McLaren and Red Bull] are teams with a lot of infrastructure. Although I agree with Adrian – the most expensive way to make experience it going around a circuit – [but] if you haven’t got a simulator and haven’t got a good tunnel then you need some running to certify what you do.”

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