De la Rosa slams in-season test ban

Date published: November 21 2011

Pedro de la Rosa has hit out at F1’s ban on in-season testing, saying it makes it near to impossible for someone to step into a car and do well…

Pedro de la Rosa has hit out at F1’s ban on in-season testing, saying it makes it near to impossible for someone to step into a car and do well.

In-season testing was banned in 2009, however, since then there have been several calls for it to be lifted. This has prompted some suggestions that at leat one test takes place during next season, although this has yet to be agreed upon or ratified.

One person who wants the rule changed is McLaren’s de la Rosa, who reckons it penalises teams and drivers who may actually need to make a vital change to their line-up.

“It is a paradox that after the Abu Dhabi GP the teams organised three test sessions for ‘young drivers’,” he wrote in his column for the Formula Santander website.

“It makes perfect sense to me that in the highest category of motor racing you can test in a limited and controlled way to avoid the spiralling of costs which had occurred a few years ago, when private tests were unlimited and each week after a Grand Prix we tested for an average 2 or 3 days a week with two cars.

“It makes perfect sense to me to limit and control tests in order to contain costs, but come on, limiting them to 3 days a season exclusively for ‘young drivers’ seems an exaggeration and an aberration for a sport which should be the prime example of competitiveness and innovation in the world of motor racing competition.

“Neither does it make sense to me that a ‘young driver’ is considered to be someone who has not raced more than two GPs in their whole sporting career. For example, Jaime Alguersuari is only 22 yet he is now not considered as a young driver and could not test in these Abu Dhabi sessions.

“But what is worse as far as I am concerned is that the reserve drivers, those of various ages who like me travel with our teams all year all over the world, who sit on the bench every two weeks like a substitute goalkeeper sitting on his own awaiting his opportunity, are not being allowed to test for a miserable three days with the ‘young drivers’ to get ourselves in shape and be ready in case we are needed as a reserve in the next race in Brazil, for example.”

He added: “In short, the reserve drivers are those who have to replace the first choice drivers but are the only ones who are not allowed to test during the season in an F1 car, except on simulators. And this is all under the umbrella of “reducing costs” and giving more opportunities to “young drivers” (ONLY 3 days).

“Certainly by this time you must already have deduced that there are drivers of 30 years old who by the mere fact that they have still not raced in more than two GPs in their whole sporting careers continue to be ‘young.'”

The Spaniard’s solution to the problem is for teams to be restricted to eight test sessions, which they may use pre-season or during it.

“The teams must urgently establish and agree between them a limited schedule of private group tests. For example, why on earth is a limit of no more than 8 test sessions (of 3 days each) not established for the whole season and pre-season, for which the teams can choose whoever they want, young, old, reserve or first choice?

“Perhaps it is too simple and therefore people are afraid to make the leap… But believe me, it is urgent for the health of F1.”