Formula 1 teams gear up for first proper in-season test since 2008 at Mugello

Formula 1 teams are gearing up for their first proper in-season test for four years, which starts at Mugello on Tuesday, with those involved in no doubt that any progress made there will help play a defining role in the outcome of the world championship

Formula 1 teams gear up for first proper in-season test since 2008 at Mugello

The first four races have proved just how competitive the field is this year - with almost nothing separating the leading contenders in the battle for victory.

With further complications caused by the sensitive nature of this year's Pirelli tyres, teams have been left with a huge workload to try and get through at Mugello to ensure that they can hit the ground running at the next race in Spain.

A lot of the interest in Mugello will be on Ferrari, which is set to start working on the update package that it hopes will lift it nearer the front of the grid.

The team braced itself for a tough start to the campaign, with is F2012 lacking in performance, but Fernando Alonso's exceptional driving has kept him firmly in contention for the world championship - as he lies just 10 points off leader Sebastian Vettel after the flyaway events.

The full package of developments for Ferrari - which are believed to include new exhaust configurations as well as sidepod and bodywork tweaks - are not expected to be ready until the Spanish GP.

The team said it will use the first two days to carry out exhaust solutions comparisons and that it will introduce 'more significant updates' on the final day.

Alonso himself is under no illusions about how important the next few weeks are for himself and Ferrari - if they are not to squander their efforts in the first four races.

"The team are working day and night, and Felipe and I trust the team and we trust that the next updates will come," said the Spaniard. "I think the Mugello tests and the next races are an important point for us, so hopefully we can start a different championship from that point on."

Mercedes is another team eager to make the most of its three days running, with the W03 having shown itself to be quick in the right conditions - but inconsistent in delivering that peak performance.

Although the Mugello test is the only opportunity teams will have during the season to evaluate new components and conduct work that is not normally possible on a grand prix weekend, the choice of venue has led to questions about the ultimate value of what will be learned from car updates.

Mugelllo's high-speed nature is not typical of many F1 venues - with its set-up and aerodynamic demands only really relevant for tracks like Silverstone and Suzuka. In particular it lacks the slow speed turns that are so typical of forthcoming races in Monaco, Canada and Valencia.

Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane said that even with the limited value of Mugello, there were still benefits from the test.

"The track is only representative of Silverstone, maybe, so I think it will be more about trying things we cannot do on race weekends," he told AUTOSPORT.

"On race weekends we don't have tyres to test things - so we can run different suspension set-ups in Italy for example. These are things that require complicated changes - so we can hopefully understand the fundamentals over the course of the week, rather than just aero updates that we can do on race weekends."

McLaren is the only team not using its race drivers over the course of the week, with Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey conducting duties instead of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

HRT is the only outfit that has elected not to take part in the test, because it wants to focus its efforts on its new factory move.

Read about the reasons why in-testing disappeared and why F1 may actually not need it anymore here.

shares
comments
Sauber confirms Chelsea FC partnership

Previous article

Sauber confirms Chelsea FC partnership

Next article

Does F1 still need in-season testing?

Does F1 still need in-season testing?
Load comments
Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021