McLaren: reintroducing mid-season F1 tests would overstretch teams

Formula 1 could not reintroduce mid-season testing without teams setting up separate test squads again, reckons McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale

McLaren: reintroducing mid-season F1 tests would overstretch teams

Next year's testing structure is on the agenda of this week's meeting of F1's Sporting Working Group in Barcelona.

The central issue is when and where pre-season testing should be conducted in 2014 given the demands of the massive technical regulation change.

AUTOSPORT understands that the possibility of mid-season testing returning has also been floated.

"I think we have to be very cautious about the reintroduction of track testing, if we decide to go that route," said Neale during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone conference.

"It will put a lot of pressure on that particular sector of the business.

"To run in-season tests at nine or 12 days or so will probably mean the reinstatement of some sort of test team, and that is against everything we've been doing to try to manage costs in Formula 1."

With a 19-20 race F1 calendar now standard, Neale fears team personnel could become even more overstretched.

"I am very cautious and I think Ross Brawn has said some very sensible things about taking care of those who do have to travel to every race," he said.

Separate crews for testing were commonplace in the days of unlimited running.

Testing was drastically restricted as part of the raft of cost-cutting measure introduced for the start of 2009.

An extra test was added at Mugello in May last year, but afterwards teams felt this had been unnecessary and agreed to return to winter-only running this season.

Neale believes recent years have proved that in-season testing is not required.

"As we moved out of that and had a greater reliance on simulation, rigs and models and dynos, I haven't noticed Formula 1 becoming unreliable," he argued.

"If anything, the reliability has continued to improve."

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