27 June 2010
Whitmarsh seeks confirmation on testing rules
McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh has said that he intends to clarify F1's testing rules following the furore surrounding Ferrari's Fiorano 'filming' day.
Martin Whitmarsh has said that his McLaren team will attempt to have any loophole in the Formula One testing rules closed following criticism of Ferrari's use of permitted 'filming' days to test its new blown diffuser system.
The Italian giant used a day at its own Fiorano test track to evaluate the development, which it sees as critical to its chances of returning to the 2010 title fight after a handful of disappointing races, but has come under fire for apparently exploiting the rulebook in an era where in-season testing is banned under agreement by all twelve teams.
While the Scuderia claimed that it was merely making the most of every opportunity it could to run its cars, title rivals Red Bull and McLaren have been most out-spoken about Fernando Alonso's track-time, with Whitmarsh now insisting that the regulations would need to be looked at again in order to prevent a repeat.
"F1 is a very competitive business and people are going to try and take advantage of any perceived ambiguity," the FOTA chairman told Reuters reporters on the eve of the European GP, where Lewis Hamilton headed both Alonso and Felipe Massa in qualifying, "[The rule] isn't ambiguous in my English interpretation of it, but others obviously thought it was. That's why we have to remove that ambiguity and I think we are going to do the correct and honourable thing."
Whitmarsh suggested that it is not only Ferrari but also fellow rival teams such as Mercedes Grand Prix and Renault that have made 'some arguable decisions' regarding in-season testing, reasoning that "once one does it then everybody feels 'well, if that's how you are going to interpret something, I'll push it to the limit'".
While traditional testing was suspended through the course of the race season in a bid to cut costs, teams are still permitted to conduct various straight-line runs and run their cars on circuit for media and promotional purposes. McLaren has already made it clear that it intends to run its own revised diffuser design ahead of next month's British Grand Prix, but has said that it will only do so during a straight-line run.
"In the future, hopefully, we can do a few more tests," he admitted, "but we had to take significant measures given the crisis the economy, and F1, had. Now, as we can see signs of the economy improving, I hope we can go back to testing. F1 is about running cars, and I think the drivers enjoy testing and teams enjoy testing and developing cars."
Testing beyond the bounds of the regular season is allowed, but more limited now than in the past, although the change to Pirelli tyres for 2011 has already sparked suggestions that a four-day session may be scheduled immediately after the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
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