For a few years now, testing in Formula One has seen a mileage restriction enforced, designed to limit the amount of running the teams and drivers can do away from the actual grands prix. Since then, a full in-season testing ban has also been implemented to curb running even further. Although all these changes were unanimously agreed upon by the teams, they have been tweaked slightly for 2010 due to the issues resulting from driver substitutions mid-season.
The main reason for the recent clamp down on testing was in an effort to reduce costs and make the sport more fair, essentially giving all teams the same opportunity to test. However, isn’t testing just an extension of the race, whereby the fastest win? And in Formula One, much like most other sports, the richest tend to be the quickest anyway. Should testing revert to being unrestricted and those who can afford it can test all day every day, and those who can’t will need to think more about their developments and perhaps, as Max Mosley once said, be more innovative?
Testing can also be very beneficial to upcoming young drivers who are looking at making the jump from lower formulae into Formula One. The vital experience gained from testing a car around a circuit proves very useful to them for when they make that jump, more so if the promotion happens mid-season. Although the rules have been adjusted for 2010, the extra day of testing awarded to new drivers isn’t really that sufficient from the pilots standpoint, who would undoubtedly prefer to spend a week or more charging around in a Formula One machine before lining up on the grid.
Should testing have the current restrictions in place, or should the non-race running be opened up to all teams, allowing them unlimited mileage at any time of the year?