F1 teams find loophole in winter testing ban?

Grand Prix teams are considering running engine and gearboxes in sportcars to get around the winter test ban

F1 teams find loophole in winter testing ban?

In an effort to cut costs and give overworked engineers and mechanics time off during the winter the FIA has banned testing by F1 cars in November and December. But the idea, which was unanimously approved by the teams, now has serious opponents trying to get it repealed because it has drastically pushed forward car development deadlines.

BMW-Williams boss Frank Williams refused to rule out the fact that his team might use a sportscar to develop components.

"Saying someone is using a loophole in a regulation implies there is a regulation and you have found a way around it," said Williams at the A1-Ring. "But there is no regulation that says you may not run a sportscar in the wind tunnel or may diversify and run a vegetable business.

"We are free to run our businesses as we like except at Grand Prix weekends. We spoke to [FIA president] Max Mosley about it on Thursday and he told all the teams present at a meeting we can do what we like as long as we are careful about the dates and the Grand Prix car we use is a current one and is safe.

"The extrapolation of that maybe manufacturers shouldn't even run their dynos in the wind tunnel. That's their business. Testing in the winter is the team's business. So if we are able to do it with a sportscar or an F3000 car we can.

Asked directly by Autosport.com whether he would, Williams said: "You'll have to wait and see."

McLaren-Mercedes boss Ron Dennis said such a move was not within the spirit of the rules even if it did not actually break any regulations.

"Ron has a point but there is lots of spirit and lots of tough regulations," said Williams.

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