The return of in-season testing

In-season Formula 1 testing was banned in 2009, but after 3 years the ban has been scraped. The F1 paddock will visit the Mugello circuit in Italy for 3 days of important testing. This article is basically updating you on the driver line ups for that test, a preview of the circuit and what kind of things we can expect from them.

Driver's were outraged when the ban of in-season testing came about, complaining that it will hinder development of the cars. However it was banned for a reason, money. Around this time the FIA set rules to cut costs in F1 and that was one of the sacrifices. This year we return to testing during a season because the pre-season tests have sacrificed a day each to keep the number of test days below 12.


The Circuit
Mugello will host the 3 days of Formula 1 testing, from the 1st to 3rd of May.

The Mugello circuit is a 3.3 mile circuit, which is mainly used for MotoGP and DTM. The track is owned by Ferrari so it often gets used as a test circuit for the F1 giant. It has a total of 15 corners which mainly consist of medium and high speed bends, with only a few hard braking points. This year will be the first year that a full F1 grid will get to test out the circuit. Some admitted it was a surprise to see it being chosen, but it offers alot of things and will test the car, yet still be able to test new components.

The Teams
It is crucial for a team to pick the right drivers to go testing with, they give back all the feedback and that really determines whether of not the updates they bring are working. They also want someone consistent and someone who will not throw it off the track. Here is the line up:

Mclaren: The British squad will take their two test drivers, Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey, to the test, to try out the MP4-27. These two are both very different, Gary being an experienced tester and Oliver being the new boy. They will both get 1 and a half days in the car to test out Mclaren's Spanish GP updates. There was concern in the Mclaren camp that Hamilton was not happy with the decision, Button the complete opposite, but they have confirmed Lewis will not be testing the car in Mugello.

Sauber: The Swiss squad will take their current driver line up to the test. They will hand over the C31 to Kobayashi for the first 2 days, with Perez having 1 sole day of testing to himself.

Caterham: The Norfolk based team will give their test driver a run in the CT01 on the opening day, Rodolfo Gonzalez who is currently racing in GP2. Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov will then get 1 day each to test for the team, who are hoping their updates can help close in on the midfield.

Ferrari: The Italian squad are returning home for the test session, giving them a slight home advantage. They have given 2005 and 2006 F1 world champion Fernando Alonso 2 days in the car, with under performing Brazilian Felipe Massa having just 1 day.

Force India: The Silverstone based F1 team will be taking Jules Bianchi, Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg to the test. They will each have 1 day in the car, in the order listed above.

Williams: Like Force India, the Grove based squad will kick off the test with their 3rd driver Valtteri Bottas. Both their F1 race drivers will get their hands on the car, with Senna and Maldonado driving on day 2 and 3 respectively.

Lotus: The E20 will be driven by their 3rd driver Jerome d'Ambrosio on the first of May. He will then hand the car over to Kimi Raikkonen and Romian Grosjean who will both have 1 day each.

HRT: The Spanish team have already made the decision not to test at Mugello. The team said they had a "slightly rushed" start to the season and are concentrating on getting the Spanish GP upgrade ready, as well as relocating to Madrid.

What to expect

The teams will focus on developing their Spanish GP upgrades and gathering relevant data on whether or not they will work. They have just 3 days so running will be common, expect lots of laps. They will also be wanting to test the reliability of their cars and upgrades, as well as some teams giving their 3rd drivers their chance to drive the car.
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The return of in-season testing
The return of in-season testing
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