Honda key to testing agreement

The BAR-Honda team now holds the key to any successful bid by a majority of Formula 1 teams to agree on a drastic reduction in testing this year, autosport.com can reveal, even though Ferrari appears as reluctant as ever to join up to the cost-saving scheme

Honda key to testing agreement

Ahead of a team bosses' meeting with FIA president Max Mosley later this month to discuss much-needed cost cuts, owner Frank Williams has said that he believes the resolve of the non-Ferrari teams to go their own way and act alone in reducing testing now rests entirely on BAR's decision to join them.

That is because although BAR signed up for the initial testing cuts agreement that was mapped out at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Honda, which will be a co-owner of the team, has subsequently expressed its desire not to reduce testing by the 50 percent amount being talked about.

It is understood that Honda wants a minimum of 34 days testing during the season - well above the 24 days that has been agreed at recent team bosses' meetings.

Without Honda coming on board the scheme, then Williams has admitted that the agreement of just eight teams is not enough to go forward with a testing reduction - and that they may then all be forced to run up to the current limit of 48 days that they have had for recent years.

"Honda wants 35 days and with a little luck they will come around to 30 days testing," said Williams. "Even 30 days is a saving of around 15, and then maybe we can come down a bit more than that the year after.

"I am hoping that even though it is not agreed yet, we will all agree to take the pain."

When asked by autosport.com whether it was the case that there needed to be a minimum of nine teams in agreement over the testing limit or there would be no deal, Williams said: "Yes."

If the teams can all agree to reduce testing to a certain limit, then Williams confirms that there is enough resolve amongst the outfits to try and embarrass Ferrari into coming on board - by hoping the media are ultra-critical of the team if it carries on its mammoth testing programme alone.

"If the teams are prepared to take some pain and do some less testing and leave Ferrari out there, we hope the press, especially the Italian press, starts to moan at them," said Williams. "They are going to get a lot of aggravation.

"I don't know if it will happen. We are resolved and there is no gain without pain. That is a fact of life.

"You must understand that the teams are desperately serious about saving money. F1 is too expensive."

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