Former team boss weighs in on the ‘skulduggery’ of testing and ‘unpainted bodywork on cars’

Michelle Foster
2023 cars practicing a start. Bahrain February 2023

2023 cars practicing a start including Haas Williams McLaren Alfa Romeo. Bahrain February 2023

Amidst the “skulduggery” of testing, former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan says if you want any sort of understanding of who’s on top, “look at the long runs”.

While the end of days’ timesheets are what make the headlines, Zhou Guanyu surprising many on Friday when he beat Max Verstappen to P1 by 0.04s, the times mean very little.

No one except the teams themselves know the fuel loads or engine modes they’re running and while their rivals can make an educated guess, it is just that, a guess.

“There’s a lot of skulduggery that goes on with the teams, they’re positioning themselves,” Jordan said in a wide-ranging interview with OLBG.

“Some teams want to be quick and show sponsors that they’re going to be competitive and show young drivers a chance.

“The really sensible teams and the teams at the top, they’ll be doing long runs, they’ll want to see how the tyres are reacting to the new floor regulations.

“The floors have been altered to stop the porpoising, and hopefully that works but you never know what comes out of the woodworks when these cars get running.

“My view is that the Bahrain test will show a lot as to where teams are. You need to be careful you don’t get a time that’s out of sync, in other words, this is just a quick run, low fuel, soft tyres.

“Some teams will try that and see what their qualifying position is like, and that’s no harm.

“As Jordan, we would have done that, it’s nice to know where you stand. It gives confidence to the staff, the team, the drivers, and everyone involved. They can show that the car is going to be competitive.”

But, he added: “Don’t read too much into it, but if you look at the long runs, and single them out, you can see which of the cars will be there at the end.”

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But what the 74-year-old really wants to know is that the FIA is going to do about this year’s cars that have all to some extent been stripped of their paint.

In a bid to take a few grams off their cars, every one of the teams has some section of exposed carbon fibre, opting for that over a full paint job.

Jordan isn’t a fan, and he doesn’t think the FIA or the team’s sponsors will like it either.

“The FIA will be looking into the unpainted bodywork on cars and sponsors might not like it,” he said.

“I’m a commercial guy, and if there was a sponsor that said to me they wanted the car multi coloured, they could have it multicoloured as long as they paid. The weight is up to the team.

“To lose weight costs a lot. You have to equate to the money coming in and the money going out. In terms of the weight, it’s different materials, different structures, and how to make the car itself.

“You can find weight in certain areas but the FIA are very strong on safety and will insist that all the regulations are in order.

“I think more and more sponsors will come and those areas of pure carbon will disappear very quickly as soon as the world gets busier on a commercial front.”