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Kovalainen calls for test ban to be lifted

McLaren-Mercedes number two Heikki Kovalainen has called on F1's governing body, the FIA to abolish the in-season testing ban.

The ban was brought in, like a number of measures in recent years, to cut costs. It has though created certain 'problems' and in addition to making development harder, it has also meant test drivers and those aspiring to step up to the top level haven't been able to do any running.

Indeed it has made life especially tough for F1 'newcomers', Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean, both brought in mid-season to replace Sebastien Bourdias at Toro Rosso and Nelson Piquet Jr at Renault respectively.

It could also be blamed, partly at least, for Luca Badoer's failure to perform after being drafted in to replace the injured Felipe Massa. Badoer had now been replaced by ex-Force India man, Giancarlo Fisichella, who will make his debut for Ferrari at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix.

Speaking to Reuters, Kovalainen added that the ban was one of the main reasons it has taken McLaren-Mercedes so long to catch up after a bad start to the 2009 F1 campaign.

"As a driver, I'd prefer to get the testing back," Kovalainen stated. "I'm an F1 driver and I want to drive the car - that's the best part of the job.

"The fight last year went on very late so all the top teams - us, Ferrari and BMW - had to develop the car until very late into the season. This compromised the work for this year.

"The testing ban is a big factor [why we have struggled to get on terms with Brawn and RBR] because teams like us and Ferrari would have been able to catch up quicker if we'd had more testing. Quite a lot of work had to be done in the factory, which is not always as accurate as when you go on the race track.

"We are also doing a lot of testing on Fridays [during practice], which is compromising our set-up work a little.

"This is why the season has been a bit silly, up and down. You have to find a balance with the difficult circumstances, you have to do something; for me, the ideal situation would be that we wouldn't limit the driving but we would limit other things."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-24, Monaco F1 Grand Prix, 21st-24th, May 2009
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-24, Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Catalunya, 8th-10th, May, 2009
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-24, Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Catalunya, 8th-10th, May, 2009
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-24, Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Catalunya, 8th-10th, May, 2009
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-24, Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Catalunya, 8th-10th, May, 2009
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-24, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, 24-26th, April, 2009
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-24, Turkish F1, Istanbul Park, 5th-7th June, 2009
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robert s - Unregistered

September 10, 2009 11:38 AM

i agree something has to be done to give test drivers nd young drivers a chance. They should bring back the 3rd driver on a friday. And maybe have a practice session on thursday aswell. Or like moto gp a test day on the monday after the race.

Alan D - Unregistered

September 10, 2009 1:38 PM

Andrew, I wouldn't want to stifle technical advances like KERS. I'd rather see KERS unrestricted completely. No, I think the best idea is designated test days at specified tracks so that all teams can get an equal amount of testing in, and you'd probably get a lot of fans interested as well. The ideas of holding it on the Monday after a GP is a good one as it considerably reduces all the travel costs.

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