George Russell calls for big F1 testing rule change

With just days to go before the new breed of Formula One cars hit the track n Bahrain for 3 days of testing, George Russell is calling on the FIA to change the pre-season rules.

There has been a two decade old focus on reducing testing by the FIA as a method to cut the budget a team requires to go racing and level the playing field. 



FIA resolute on reducing F1 testing time

In the late 1990’s on any given Wednesday at Silverstone one or more of the teams based in England would be there pounding out the laps with new components on the car.

Then in season racing was banned, but the teams had 3 pre-season tests each of 4 days in length to evaluate the new designs they’d created over the winter.

The first four days was a ‘shakedown’ in Jerez, a circuit not representative of the modern F1 tracks. Yet the warmth of the February sun in the Iberian peninsula meant by mid morning the track temperature was representative of what could be found in the Sumer of Northern Europe.



Russell calls for two car F1 tests

This test was followed by eight days in Barcelona, a circuit famed for its ability to identify any aerodynamic deficiency so the F1 teams can modify their designs.

Now the teams and drivers have just three days of pre-season testing something George Russell believes is too short for the drivers to prepare properly for the season ahead.

He said: “Personally speaking, I don’t think three days is enough

“You’ve got to remember from a driver’s perspective, that is one-and-a-half days per driver. We were fortunate to do the [tyre] tests last week but, had we not, that would have been getting on for 12 weeks out of the car from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain.”



Bigger F1 teams will gain bigger benefits from more testing

Russell believes the teams should be allowed to run two cars at the pre-season test.

“I think that would probably be the best compromise for all of the reasons why they’re trying to limit it. But right now, one and a half days per driver I think is too few.”

With pre-season testing being held in Bahrain, the location for the opening race of the season, the incremental cost of having the second car there a week before the grand prix would be minimal.

Yet as always, the bigger teams would take bigger gains from the extra testing time and the subsequent analysis, something the FIA is keen to prevent.



Mercedes F1 pre-season setbacks continue

Russell’s call for what in effect is more testing comes after a week where Mercedes have suffered setbacks in their preparations for the start if the 2023 season.

The porpoising problem which plagued Mercedes last year may have returned in the new W14 car. Clips have emerged of Hamilton’s head ‘nodding’ during the recent filming day in Silverstone.

Further as TJ13 reported yesterday, Mercedes discovered a fundamental flaw with their suspension at Silverstone forcing therm into a last minute redesign with a sub-optimal construction compound.



F1 cars ‘too reliable’

Mercedes technical director Mike Elliot agrees with Russell’s call for more testing time. Ironically due to the massive improvements in reliability of the modern Formula One car it takes far longer to discover any reliability woes.

“These cars are now so reliable that you need more mileage than three days to really start seeing some of the issues. The second big impact is that we’ve got to use our limited time as efficiently as possible,” Elliot revealed.

“We’ve got to learn as much as we can, to work out how to get the most performance out of the car and what we can learn to feed into the next developments.”

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2 responses to “George Russell calls for big F1 testing rule change

  1. Allowing teams to use two cars even if the day amount remained at three would be a decent compromise.

  2. Considering the drivers are putting their lives on the line every time they race then more testing would seem appropriate. It’s not just the drivers lives. Anyone at the track could be hurt, or worse, by a wayward car. Fans want to see cars racing, not breaking down. Safety is of the essence. A day and a half testing per driver is not enough

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