F1 teams agree to reduced pre-season and in-season testing for 2020

Formula 1

Formula 1 teams have agreed to a significant reduction in testing for 2020 as part of a trade-off for the addition of a 22nd race to the calendar.

During the summer break team bosses backed an email vote that confirmed both their acceptance of the extra event, and the cut in testing.

Various permutations for pre-season testing have been discussed in recent months, but teams have now agreed on six rather than the current eight days, with two three-day sessions split by a four-day break.

The tests, which are planned as usual for Barcelona – although a deal with the Spanish track has yet to be formally signed – are scheduled for February 19-21 and 26-28.

The pair of two-day in-season tests, which this year took place in Bahrain and at Barcelona, have also been dropped.

Instead, one day has been added to the post-season Abu Dhabi tyre test with 2021 18-inch tyre mule cars, which will now run over three days.

Two of those days have been reserved for rookies, as per F1’s sporting regulations, which specify that there should be two days each season for young drivers.

“Less testing, we all agreed on it, we all think it’s a good idea,” said Haas team principal Gunther Steiner when asked by Autosport about the change.

“If you would have asked 10 years ago [if] doing six days a year was workable, I would say it’s impossible.

“Now it’s possible. We’ve gone from eight days pre-season and four days in-season to six days and no days. We will survive.”

Haas driver and Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director Romain Grosjean suggested less pre-season testing would help F1’s leading outfits.

“I don’t think that’s the right choice, it will again give the advantage to the bigger teams,” he said.

“In-season I can understand. Winter testing, eight days was already very little, and six days is even less, obviously.”

Although teams have agreed to the changes, which have been signed off, Pirelli has expressed concern that the crucial Abu Dhabi mule car running is currently weighted towards rookies.

Pirelli has 25 in-season car days for 2021 18-inch tyre mule car testing to be split between the teams.

However, as Abu Dhabi is the final validation test, Pirelli would prefer that experienced drivers are more involved and has suggested alternatives.

“Especially for the 2021 preparation it will be important to have a proper test on the 18-inch tyres,” Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola told Autosport.

“We are going to discuss it, but I don’t have any information yet.”

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