Leading team principals Christian Horner and Ross Brawn have given their tacit approval for the reintroduction of in-season F1 testing, providing that it does not add dramatically to the expense of competing in the top flight.
The move to bring back testing between races has the backing of FIA president Jean Todt, and it has been suggested that a limited number of days be allocated for development in the hands of young, or inexperienced, drivers. The exact form that the tests would take, however, remains in the hands of the team owners, amongst others, with proposals for both multi-day sessions and single days, most likely on the Monday following a grand prix.
The biggest concern for the teams, who have worked hard in an effort to limit spending in the sport over recent years, is that the reintroduction of testing could push the cost of competing back up.
"I think this has been discussed with the team managers and I think.... what all the teams are keen to avoid is [having] to re-introduce a test team," Red Bull
boss Horner confirmed, "So what is currently being appraised, effectively, is to look at lessening the amount of pre-season testing by one test and making that an in-season test, as well as making the young driver test effectively an in-season test as well. That's under debate within the team managers group at the moment."
Brawn confirmed that the 2012 F1 calendar as it stands would create an opportunity to test during the season, but echoed Horner's concerns over the potential need for a test team.
"I think that the point Christian has made is very important - the threshold is not to have to create a new testing team," the Briton noted, "We must be able to do whatever we want to achieve with the group of people we have, and with RRA and the other restrictions we have. We need to make sure we can achieve it, and next year's calendar is creating an ideal opportunity to have one test perhaps at the start or just after the start of the European season, which I think would fit very well with everybody, getting the bugs sorted out that they inevitably have in the first few races."
Horner also confirmed that the option of running on Mondays after some or all grands prix, as happens in MotoGP, was under consideration.
"I think that a lot of different permutations have been thought about and discussed," he said, "One of the options to be looked at is to stay on at an existing venue after an event, maybe not quite on a Monday but, as we're doing with the Abu Dhabi Young Drivers' test this year, [take] a day off, as obviously the cars have to be rebuilt, and then to effectively be able to run in that week with effectively the same staff, taking away the necessity of a test team. That's something that's under consideration and something that might be brought in next year."
Pirelli's Paul Hembery was also supportive of in-season testing, but expressed an interest in choosing a track relevant to the season itself.
"We agree [that], if we can have an in-season testing week, that would be fantastic," he said, "It depends of course where we go, [and] we would prefer to at least go to a reference track, that would be very useful. Thinking only of tyres, that would be very useful to us."