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The lack of testing issue in Formula One has been a topic of discussion for some time now…two years in fact. the efforts to reduce costs in F1 was a mandate by the FIA’s then-president, Max Mosley. No one can doubt his intention to lower expenses in a declining economy but many of the teams found new and unique uses for those former testing dollars…namely, multi-million dollar simulators.

As the 2011 waned, current FIA president Jean Todt suggested that the lack of any in-season testing was a bit draconian and submitted an idea of some controlled tests during the season. Interestingly, to me at least, the teams didn’t seem too jazzed about the idea and some even said they did not favor it.

The Pirelli Dilemma 

I supposed when you’ve tied all your testing dollars up in big computer simulators, the idea of adding more dollars for testing is expensive. There is a bit of a additional knock-on effect with this lack of testing, however, and it may impact the teams should a solution not become apparent.

As the sole supplier of tires for the Formula One series, Pirelli has been using a 2009 Toyota car for testing their tire compounds in their development process. This car is becoming irrelevant to the program as it does not represent the current technology and characteristics of today’s chassis’s.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motor sport guru, says they are looking to the teams to provide the Italian company with a 2011 car in which to test their new compounds for 2013:

“There has been a suggestion that we could modify the 2009 Toyota, but the car is now in a museum and it is not a realistic proposition,” Hembery said. “We’ve not yet been given what we think is a suitable option.

“We would like a 2011 car from somebody, but we don’t really care who it is from. We want to do our testing with precision and feel that the older the car gets, the further away it is from a state of the art car.

“We understand the teams’ point of view that they don’t want to give an advantage to anybody, but at a certain point we will have to make our own decision to achieve what we have to because nobody will give us any credit for not using a suitable car if things go wrong.”

There is an issue that Hembery lays out the issue well in that which team would be willing to give Pirelli a 2011 car, firstly, and secondly, would other teams feel that this would give the contributing team a competitive advantage?

What do you think Pirelli should do? They can’t, of course, build their own car to current F1 specifications because that was never part of their budget. Could the FIA work toward more testing in 2012 with the intent of letting teams participate with Pirelli and give their young drivers a chance for seat time? Who would fund the testing session, track time etc?

Have a good idea on how to solve this puzzle? Let us know below.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Matt

    I am sure plenty of up-and-coming GP2 drivers would be willing to pay top dollar for a few days in a modern f1 car. That should take care of most of the costs by itself. Correct me if I am wrong.

  • robfiction

    Why aren’t teams jumping at this? Having your 2011 car develop the tyres of 2013 would give you a huge advantage.
    And put simply, we saw how the Bridgestone connection helped the MS-Ferrari dominance!

    • BTW, what was the first team that has come to your mind?
      That’s right – Ferrari. Rumor has it now that Pirelli will use F150 as base, sources say.
      Time will tell.

  • Matt

    Idea: last placed team contributes a car each year to next years development. Nobody would object to HRT getting a boost as opposed to a Renault or sauber.

  • Last2.LateBrake

    It could be a good job for Rubens. With last Placed teams to provide the rig.

    • Absolutely good job for Rubers – a guy with 20 years of experience should be able to provide good feedback.

      As for the car – there are lots in the warehouse. Pirelli just have to ask for them.

  • Schmorbraten

    Hungary, Monday, 30th of July. Start of the summer break, where no-one is in a hurry to pack up for the following race. All teams are free to run there the whole day, but only on the 2013 prototype tyres except for one or two sets of 2012 tyres for comparison if the weather is significantly different from the three days before. Should be relatively cheap for the teams, and because they also benefit of having an opportunity to test out components and setups, they wouldn’t need to be paid. Maybe Pirelli buys the drinks.

  • MIE

    There is still a spare place on the grid for a 13th team. Perhaps the FIA could use the Pirelli test contract as a way of determining the competitveness of a prospective team before allowing them to join the circus.

  • Meine

    Why not take the Ferrari, bridgestone did and that seemed to work ;-)