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.