Teams set to reject testing return plan

Formula 1 teams are set to reject an offer from FIA president Jean Todt to bring back limited in-season testing from next year

Teams set to reject testing return plan

Todt revealed at last weekend's Turkish Grand Prix that he wants to bring an end to F1's in-season testing ban - and plans to discuss the matter with teams ahead of the European Grand Prix.

However, although Todt believes it makes sense for a return of some testing, teams are not convinced it will be a good move - as they fear it will simply lead to an escalation in costs.

When asked by AUTOSPORT for his feelings about the idea, Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner said: "I think that the balance that we have is right. Maybe we could do a bit more running on a Friday, or have a few more sets of tyres, which would encourage teams to run with more young drivers.

"The problem with testing is that as soon as you reintroduce it, you reintroduce test teams and the cost will escalate.

"One of the biggest cost savings we have seen is the reduction in testing, so I think the balance we have with the pre-season and the young driver test at the end of the year is right - and fiscally beneficial not just to the big teams but to the small teams as well."

Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer reckons that the return of testing would be a retrograde step for F1, at a time when big efforts had been made to reduce costs.

"We don't want to do it. Why go backwards?" he told AUTOSPORT. "There are some fundamental things that, when I was at Honda, at first we disagreed with but looking back I think we were wrong and [then FIA president] Max [Mosley] was right. One of which was getting rid of the qualifying car - we used to run qualifying engines. What an expense? For what? Nothing.

"Pace ferme. Another fundamental thing - to get rid of not just qualifying engines but cars. Great thing. It didn't hurt the show.

"Engines lasting more than they used to last. A fundamental thing that is right. Gearboxes lasting more than they used to last. A fundamental thing that is right. All of these things brought costs down and didn't ruin the show.

"No in-season testing saves a lot of money. We don't have a test team now. What would happen if we brought in-season testing back?

"We already do 19/20 races and our crew are stretched already. Now you are going to ask them to do another two or three tests. You will have two teams again and, once you have two teams, the costs escalate. Why go backwards on that front? Then you have to add on the cost of testing per kilometre as well."

FOTA chairman and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh told Reuters in Turkey that the needs of the small teams would be a big consideration in any move to see testing return.

"Many teams would like more testing but we've got to be respectful of the small teams as well. We've got to contain costs," he said. "If the larger teams start testing and it's seen as to the disadvantage of the small teams then that isn't good for the sport."

Even if the testing proposal is rejected at the F1 Commission meeting scheduled for next month, Todt indicated in Turkey that he would push through the regulations for 2013 instead - which will not need the approval of teams.

"I would have loved to have done it in 2011, but we could not impose it as there was no reason to impose it on safety grounds," said Todt.

"So, it will be in 2012 if we get enough [support]. It is something that we are going to present at the next Formula 1 Commission which will be on the Thursday in Valencia, and if not then, we can implement it in 2013 without any agreement.

"At the latest it will be 2013, but hopefully people will accept a few days testing during the season from next year on."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo suggested that his team would be in favour of a return to in-season testing.

"We are not able to do testing, to do training. F1 is only professional sport in the world where you can't train or test," he told CNN.

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