Red Bull boss Christian Horner calls for in-season testing rethink

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner believes Formula 1 teams should rethink whether an in-season test becomes a regular feature in the future, on the back of this week's Mugello experience

Red Bull boss Christian Horner calls for in-season testing rethink

Although the 11 teams present were able to complete some valuable development work, Horner is one of many leading figures who suggests that the benefit may not have been worth the cost of running there.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT about his views on the week, Horner said: "Any test time you have is useful, but whether it is the right thing for F1 to be testing in-season is probably a bigger topic.

"When you look at the cost of running here, we will have done three times the mileage of a grand prix weekend. In many respects would it have been better to have another grand prix weekend than to go testing?"

Horner says that as well as the financial cost of the Mugello test, the three days of running has also put extra stress on staff - who are already facing the prospect of a 20-race calendar.

"The season is gruelling for the guys and we disbanded test teams some while ago," he said. "Mugello is a great venue, a lovely track and the drivers enjoy it, but I think in the scale of things is it right to be testing in-season?

"If you look at the focus on cost saving, this test hasn't achieved that for any team. Moving forward we should look at whether or not in-season testing is the right thing to be doing."

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier also reckons that the test probably turned out beneficial only for those outfits who were left struggling with their cars after the first four races of the season.

"We would have liked to avoid this one," he said. "When you are struggling it is different and I'm sure Ferrari is happy to have this test.

"In general we are not in favour of this. We would prefer to have had all the testing in February, like last year, but it depends on your position, I'm sure some teams will vote in favour because they need track time to develop their car faster, but the teams with good cars don't need it."

While F1's team principals have been sceptical about the benefits of the test, drivers were more positive about the value of the three-days of extra running.

Fernando Alonso said: "I think we don't have enough tests. In a way I prefer what we did this year because in this test there is, after the first four races, different thoughts and different things that you may discover in the first four races that you need to reconfirm in one test. It is always nice to have this opportunity.

"This week has been amazing here. Driving in Mugello, driving one lap here is like driving 100 laps at another circuit. The emotions and feelings you have here are quite special. I enjoy so much this week, so I am quite happy with the test."

Romain Grosjean added: "I think it's good to have both [pre-season and in-season tests] like we have now. It's important to have a good amount of pre-season running, as the cars are brand new and you want to make sure everything works and try to develop a good baseline setup before the races themselves.

"On the other hand, this gives us time to work on developments that maybe wouldn't have taken the same direction at the start of the year before we had the data from the first four races, so like I said, I think the balance is about right."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Jonathan Noble
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