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Fry optimistic on testing agreement

Nick FryHonda Racing's F1 team boss Nick Fry believes teams will be reluctant to expand their testing programme in 2006 despite failing to agree on new testing restrictions for the season.

And the Briton believes there is in fact still a chance that all teams, including Ferrari, will reach a mutual agreement before the season begins in less than two months.

Nine of the ten Formula One teams agreed last year to limit testing during the F1 season to 30 days, but Ferrari refused to join the agreement and instead continued testing whenever they felt necessary.

The teams are currently negotiating a new testing agreement but so far all ten teams have failed to find a common ground.

But Honda's Fry remains optimistic that a solution may be found eventually.

"It's too premature to say," Fry told, when asked if the testing agreement has collapsed. "Obviously we are in a position where we do not have everyone's agreement.

"It will be good for everybody if we had an agreement which was agreed by all ten teams, and we are trying to do that and find the formula that would suit everybody.

"Maybe we will succeed, and maybe we won't. But I think it is premature to say it has failed. It is difficult, no doubt, to get something that suits everybody. But we are still hopeful that we can."

The bone of contention between the nine teams and Ferrari is how to restrict testing - with the Italians insisting there should be a mileage restriction per tyre supplier, while the nine teams supported so far a restriction of days per team.

And Fry said there is no way his team would support a mileage restriction, simply because it would make their testing programme rather costly and inefficient.

"Mileage is difficult, because we all work very hard to be very efficient, and obviously the majority of the teams do not have their own test track," Fry explained.

"So we have to travel somewhere like Jerez [in Spain] to do a test, and it would be incredibly inefficient for us to do only 150km and not use the rest of the day.

"If we are to end up with just pure mileage restriction, the rest of us will become instantly so inefficient, and therefore more expensive, so that is not ideal.

"But I do respect Ferrari's position that they have a test track. So we have to find a solution which satisfies everybody. Again, it is difficult. But we need to try."

Finally, Fry rejected the notion that a failure to reach an agreement will start a testing race that will escalate costs across all teams. The Briton, in fact, believes very little would change in the amount of testing the teams would carry out with or without the agreement.

"The irony of the situation is that because we have become more efficient, even if it was complete freedom (without a testing agreement), I doubt anyone will go crazy on the amount of testing," he said.

"Obviously most of us wasted some of our 30 days [in 2005] through weather changes during the course of a day - and I think if there was no agreement you could get into a position where bad weather can be compensated - so I could see people increasing a little bit.

"But I doubt anyone will go suddenly from 30 days to 60 days. Certainly that would not be our plan at Honda."

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