Teams opt for no mid-season test in 2013…only 3 pre-season tests

In an interesting move, the Formula One teams have decided that a mid-season test for 2013 is not an option they want. According to AUTOSPORT, the teams have elected to not only have no mid-season test but limit their pre-season testing to just three session in February and March of 2013.

There may be multiple elements prompting the decision but certainly the cost of testing is one of them while the actual need for testing could be another…at least for the big teams.  The evolution of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has impacted the sport in a big way giving teams the ability to develop parts and test them on their in their CFD program. These programs could effectively run 24/7 and one could presume that the data and results from these programs are highly effective or the teams would be clamoring for more real-world testing instead of a virtual simulation.

The cost to fly a team to a far-flung location to run a car for three days is expensive and while it was a common occurrence in the halcyon days of Formula 1, the economic landscape has put serious pressure on the need to reduce costs. Small teams would find the testing session a serious impact on their P&L but I am intrigued as to how these same teams will develop if they lack the super-expensive CFD systems that the big teams have. Outsourcing the services would be an option and having a technical partnership, such as Force India and McLaren, would afford a smaller team to have some access to the multi-million dollar CFD systems they themselves could not afford.

The suggestion was also made that the teams didn’t feel the mid-season test at Mugello in 2012 was beneficial but this is also intriguing as it is a home track for Ferrari and it must be said that the Scuderia stated making serious performance gains after that test. Other teams bemoaned the fact that the circuit was unlike any other on the calendar and really only benefitted Ferrari but either way, testing to help some teams…perhaps just not enough to justify the expense.

Ultimately it is a cost control measure and this has to be a knife that cuts both ways for the small teams as they could certainly use the track time to vet their systems. If the small teams can’t afford real testing and do not have the resources to acquire the state-of-the-art CFD systems, then expect another struggle for them in 2013. While the teams attempt to iron out a Resource Restriction Agreement tied to the FIA regulations, perhaps limits such as these make the entire concept of an FIA regulated cost control more palatable to the teams.

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