Hispania Racing's technical chief Geoff Willis has hit out at the in-season testing ban in F1, insisting that it isn't the way forward when it comes to bringing down the costs involved in the sport.
The former Red Bull
technical guru joined the F1 newcomers earlier this season to try and help them come to grips with the sport after an eleventh hour deal ensured the team was able to make it to Bahrain for the first race of the year.
A lack of testing has made it difficult for the team – as well as fellow newcomers Lotus and Virgin – to try and close the gap to the established outfits on the grid, and Willis said he didn't feel a total testing ban was ideal for the sport as teams simply spend in other areas as they seek improvements.
“From a purely engineering point of view, if we don't have testing we have to compensate with rig testing and analysis,” he was quoted by The Checkered Flag
. “The money you don't spend on testing you spend on that. The mistake, for me, is that while it was sensible to stop unrestricted testing, a better balance would have been to have certain fixed testing times common to all teams and wrap up a commercial operation around it.
“You have to remember that there are often fairly large gaps when there is no F1 in Europe and we could have one test in Spain, one in Italy, one in the UK, something like that. The downside is that to do that, unless the calendar was particularly sympathetic, would mean going back to requiring an additional test team.”
Hispania's cause hasn't been helped by the issues that developed between the team and chassis supplier Dallara, with the two sides splitting in May. The Spanish team is now set to design it is own car for 2011 and Willis admitted that going down the customer chassis route had caused problems.
“[There were] two different types of problem for us, the main one being that you need to understand how the car arrived at its current specification in order to know how to develop it,” he said. “If you don't develop you effectively go backwards.
“There are quite a few bits on the car that need bringing up to F1 level and quite a lot of detail bits and pieces on it to improve reliability and longevity of components. Then we have to add performance to the car and it's important for us to choose the best things we can do to the car for the minimum amount of time and money.
”In the short term we will be using hired wind tunnel time and will be doing a balanced programme of wind tunnel and CFD. For in-season development right now, with the time pressures it's almost certainly going to be a 100 per cent CFD programme, which has its slight risks, but I think from where we are, is sensible.”