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BAR Abandon Paul Ricard Test

The 'Group of Nine' testing agreement, that limits those teams signed up to it to just 30 days testing during the season, has continued to overshadow this week's running at Paul Ricard when BAR decided to cut short their running on Friday so as to save a day for later in the season

With rain having marred this week's test so far, and Toyota having already decided to abandon their testing on Thursday night after Jarno Trulli damaged a chassis, Renault are now left alone as the only outfit running at the former home of the French Grand Prix.

BAR had been expected to continue running on Friday but, with the team only wanting to run their latest Honda engine developments on a dry track, they decided that it would be better to save the day's running until later this year.

The decision to abandon the test and save a day has exposed one of the major flaws in the argument that the 30-day limit actually saves costs. Although BAR may have saved money in terms of engine mileage and petrol, they have still spent as much as they normally would in transporting the car to Paul Ricard and having personnel present for the entire test.

It is not the first time that teams have found themselves with a full complement of test team staff at tracks - only to have them sitting around doing nothing.

Last month at Valencia, in the final test before the season, McLaren's mechanics were reduced to playing football in the paddock while they awaited news from Silverstone to find out if Kimi Raikkonen had actually began a scheduled test there under rainy skies. Teams are not allowed to run at two tracks on the same day.

Ferrari, who have refused to sign up to the 30-day limit, believe that reducing the number of staff at tests and limiting mileage is a much more effective way of reducing testing costs.

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