In a inadvertent way, the USGP in Austin is already causing consternation in the paddock. In order to accommodate travel and the addition of the USGP in Austin Texas, the Young Driver’s test (traditionally held at the end of the year in Abu Dhabi) has been opened up to an alternate idea of testing mid-summer at Silverstone. The challenge of getting from the Middle East to Texas is one of the reason for the test being offered mid-season in the UK.
Never short for words, Lotus F1’s Eric Boullier was critical of the mid-summer test arguing that it’s bad for the young drivers telling AUTOSPORT:
“I am a supporter of young drivers, and for me Abu Dhabi (in November) was the perfect scenario.
“The young kids finish the season, and you can organise this test in a hot, nice place, with nice variety. So I was actually a bit cross with the decision to bring it earlier to Silverstone.
“We had a strong discussion, let’s say, and definitely I was against this, especially for the reasons raised. For me it is absolutely a nonsense to have a young driver test in July when all the young kids are in the middle of the season and focused on racing and the championship. We cannot disturb this. It is completely the wrong timing.
“You also have another issue: bringing this test in the middle of the season you have to consider there will be a different point of view for the team; and as a team it’s another opportunity to develop the car and bring some parts to test.”
Now Boullier has a friend in the bitching business in the form of Abu Dhabi boss Richard Cregan. Richard also has reservations about the mid-summer test and why not? The only two teams who have committed to the test are Red Bull and Toro Rosso. The mid-summer test as Silverstone has all but gutted the event at Abu Dhabi and economics alone would have you hopping mad. But equally, it’s the young drivers that Richard cites as his major concern telling The National:
“If you’re a good young driver in the middle of a season, then it’s not ideal to be testing a Formula One car midway through the year,” Cregan said.
“These guys should be focusing on whatever series it is they are racing, which is why the F1 testing in Abu Dhabi worked so well in the past because it was effectively the end of their season.
“It is first and foremost a Young Drivers Test and it must remain that.
“It is a chance for young drivers to get maybe a first chance to drive an F1 car and it is chance for teams to run their eye over a driver and evaluate his performance. Developing the car and parts should be secondary.”
I’m not quite sure when I’ve seen so much concern over young drivers and their ability to test an F1 car during the middle of their season. It’s not like you’d see Jimmy Clark run F2 events during a season or current third-drivers test for a team while running DTM or another series altogether or drivers testing in Mugello last week while driving in other series right?