Top teams criticise in-season testing

Sat, 12 May 2012, 08:35

May 12 (GMM) Top teams McLaren and Red Bull have questioned whether F1 should have tested last week.

Since the sport clamped down hard on private testing for cost reasons some years ago, there remained many in the paddock – notably Ferrari – who argued that at least some in-season testing should still take place.

So, for 2012, it was agreed that Mugello would host a three-day session in between the Bahrain and Spanish grands prix.

Every team except HRT attended.

But there were rumblings that not everyone was happy. McLaren, in fact, did not even send its race drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton to Tuscany.

Then, on Friday in Spain, the British team’s regular duo was busily testing in official practice, fielding extravagant sensors and experimental components.

“We would have had a very similar programme whether we went to Mugello or not,” said sporting director Sam Michael.

“All the teams are geared up to not have testing, to not having test teams and that means we’re equipped and do our planning to do all of that work on Friday.

“I think the (Mugello) test itself, personally, I think you could do without it,” Michael continued. “I think it’s a lot of energy and expense during the season that we probably don’t need.

“Of course McLaren will gain a lot out of that test but formula one is all relative, so all we really did was spend a load of money.”

Red Bull’s technical boss Adrian Newey agreed.

“I think we learnt the pasta in Italy is still the best in the world and that’s about it really,” he said when asked about the Mugello test.

“I’d agree with what Sam says. To me, yes you go to the test because it’s available. We all spent money but the value of in-season testing has to be questionable.”

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