Imagine telling Tour de France winner Cadel Evans to stay off his bicycle for the next three months, or ensuring Tom Daley's baths don't contain more than a foot of water between diving contests lest the young Briton perform a double somersault from the taps during his morning ablution rituals.
Yet that is precisely the comparable situation Formula 1 drivers find themselves in after the sport agreed to ban in-season testing as part of its cost-cutting initiatives: absolutely no sitting in moving F1 cars between the drop of the chequered flag after a race and 10am a fortnight or so later. To quote Michael Schumacher: "I cannot think of another top line sport where training is banned between events."
Fiorano was the scene of much in-season running for Ferrari in a past life © LAT
By 'training', the seven-time world champion means not a run around the block or a bout in his gym, but the act of strapping himself into an F1 car - the equivalent of Evans' bike or Daley's pool - and burning rubber to improve his own performance, plus that of his machine.
One could largely blame Schumacher for the prevailing situation, for it was during his Ferrari years that testing was taken to the extreme, with the Scuderia making its Fiorano test facility available to its star driver for up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken