Several years ago, Formula 1 clamped down on testing, as well as extravagant car launches, in order to “save money”. To be fair, the teams had reached a point where they were testing all the time with their own dedicated testing teams so the point was well made when they banned it.
Now the FIA only allows brief pre-season testing which makes it very difficult if you have gotten something wrong in your design or on your car. Such is life.
There are guidelines about what you can test and ever since the testing ban, there was language that stated you could test older cars.
“Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) shall be defined as any track running time, not part of an Event, in which a competitor entered in the Championship participates (or in which a third party participates on behalf of a competitor or a supplier of a homologated power unit), using cars which were designed and built in order to comply with the Formula 1 Technical Regulations of any of the three calendar years falling immediately prior to the calendar year preceding the Championship.”
Before addressing that, let’s consider what motorpsort.com presented in their article which was that the teams have suggested that last year’s car is dramatically different than the new regulations and that teams feel there would be little performance advantage in running them despite not being at least two years old aunt he regulation above would suggest.
This has presented Ferrari with a bit of an issue as the were set to engage in a four-day test at Fiorano with last year’s car. As the regulations have not been approved yet as they are also tied up with other changes that need to be approved such as the 60-minute practice sessions (instead of 90 minutes) and the Sprint Race which seems to be a major sticking point.
Ferrari said: “The test program that Scuderia Ferrari was to carry out starting today on the Fiorano track was changed this morning.
“Waiting to receive an update from the FIA on how the definition of ‘Test Previous Cars’ will be applied in 2022, which establishes which car can be used in this type of test – it was decided in the session that a 2018 SF71H will be used. The detailed program will be announced later.”
So with the lack of clarity, Ferrari will run a 2018 car instead. It’s an interesting issue in that one might suggest you couldn’t gain much given the high downforce and 13” wheels etc but the hybrid engine is still the same and I wonder if the FIA or other teams would feel this is just too similar to what the 2022 car would be.
Also, I wonder if it is more expensive to run the 2018 program than it is the 2021 car given the older engine most likely has different challenges to it and I wonder how many spare parts that have for those cars? There is a notion that if the 2022 regulations are as radically different as they say they are, then why not allow the 2021 car to be tested? Time will tell.