Drivers rue long-life testing

Ferrari duo Michael Schumacher and test driver Marc Gene have admitted that Formula 1's new sporting and technical regulations for 2005 are having a major impact on their life - even with the season still several weeks away

Drivers rue long-life testing

The switch to long-life engines and the fact that tyres must now last an entire race distance has had a knock-on consequence in testing - with drivers being told to undertake mammoth long runs to get on top of reliability and safety concerns.

This means that against a backdrop of teams trying to cut back on testing in a bid to reduce costs, they have found themselves backed into a corner by actually needing to do far more mileage than ever before.

Schumacher, who returned to testing action at Barcelona this week, said: "Testing now is just laps, laps and more laps. In a way it is like doing race simulations and every test is done in this way because the rules are different.

"Having to have one race with the same set of tyres means that the teams have to prove that the tyres will last that long. And on the engine side you have to work for two races now, so testing means that you do far more long runs. It will mean a lot more laps in the future."

Speaking to autosport.com, Gene said: "The drivers are doing less outings but each one lasts longer. It is a bit more physical because you have to do more laps - and it is now normal to do 100 to 120 laps per day.

"Now we are by ourselves on the track for 20-odd laps, about 35 minutes, whereas in the past we would do three timed laps, come in to the pits and then talk to the engineers."

Gene added that the extra length of testing runs now meant it was increasingly vital that the driver remembered the characteristics of his car throughout the entire run - sometimes meaning that information has to be relayed back to the pits actually during the test.

"It is true that we have so much information from each run, so what I do is when something comes to my mind I tell the team on the radio - otherwise I will forget," he said.

When asked by journalists whether the extra work would provide grounds for an extra pay packet from his bosses, Schumacher cheekily suggested that he may have to go and have a word with Luca di Montezemolo.

"I did not think of that," he said. "But I may have to talk to the president..."

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