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Should Testing Return to Formula 1 in 2012?

Adam ElliottContributor IMay 5, 2011

BRACKLEY, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 23:  In this handout image provided by Mercedes GP, Michael Schumacher (L) speaks with John Owen, Principal Aerodynamicist of Mercedes GP in the wind tunnel on December 23, 2009 in Brackley, England. The Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One team have confirmed that 7-times Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher will make his racing return in 2010 with the Silver Arrows team.  (Photo by Mercedes GP via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

After reports started circulating the Internet that Ferrari have broken, or at least bent, testing rules at a filming session, should the current ban on F1 testing be reviewed?

The ban on testing was introduced in an effort to lower costs within Formula 1, but did it actually make a difference.

The leading Formula 1 teams still have massive budgets and have replaced on track testing with wind tunnel tests and other more complicated design processes, whilst the poorer teams have fallen back as they can't afford such technology.

Is this fair?

Formula 1 has for the last few years seen teams at the back of the grid struggle to keep pace and young drivers struggle to stay in the sport. This was clear in Melbourne at the start of the 2011 season, when HRT were unable to obtain the required 107 percent qualification time.

There are clearly issues with a return of testing. Most importantly, no one wants to see the top teams get even better whilst the lower teams struggle more. This would be the most likely outcome if there were no testing restrictions.

If Red Bull and McLaren had the ability to test at will, then other teams would never be able to catch up.

On the other side, teams like Ferrari and Williams, who have not had great starts to the year, would benefit from a return to testing and may be able to get there cars closer to the leaders making the fight at the front better for the fans.

The back markers would improve their cars and the drivers would be have a greater chance of developing their skills, with test drivers on the fringe of Formula 1 getting more experience.

Clearly, there are two sides of the same coin.

There is one solution that could work, and that is a sliding scale of testing available to teams. Teams lower in the Constructors Championship being allowed greater testing time throughout the season than those in the lead.

This would allow teams at the back of the field to get their cars up to speed, midfield cars to work out their glitches and fine tune, whilst the top teams get very little time to advance their packages.

This would have to be established preseason with the testing days identified and allocated to a position within the Championship table. So for example, after the first four races, teams will know that during the three week break they will have a number of hours testing available to them, depending on their Championship standing; the same would be available later in the season.

Each car would have to be allocated an engine to be used purely for testing, as well as tyres for each testing session.

As with all aspects of Formula 1, there will never be a perfect solution. The evolution of the rues of Formula 1 is never ending—could this be a possible next step?

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