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Ecclestone: Testing has to take place on track
6 July 2013
Bernie Ecclestone has voice his support for a move towards more testing in F1, following the tyre woes that beset the British Grand Prix.
Whilst accepting that the decision to restrict on-track development to just a handful of three-day session at the start of the season was taken in a bid to curb escalating costs, Ecclestone is adamant that it has had a detrimental effect in other areas, which have been highlighted by the spate of tyre failures seen at Silverstone.
The problem has been exacerbated by the fact that the teams could not agree on a situation where Pirelli could access a contemporary car with which to develop its tyres independently, but with post-Monaco moves to reintroduce in-season testing for 2014 being superseded by the decision to turn this month's Young Driver test into a full-blown session on safety grounds have been welcomed by Ecclestone.
“For cost reasons, tyre tests was cancelled years ago at the request of the teams,” the F1 supremo told Die Welt on the opening day of the German Grand Prix, “This measure was too drastic - instead of testing over 110,000km, which was totally exaggerated, there are now zero kilometres per season. In retrospect, this turned out to be a decision which, while saving costs, blocked development of the tyres [and], as we can see, that has become a needless security risk.”
Confirming that he 'was always against the test ban', Ecclestone suggested that the plan being put forward for 2014 – where teams will stay on after selected grands prix to conduct two days of testing – was always the way to go.
“The costs would have been manageable,” he explained, “The teams are there, the cars, the drivers also. It would have been easy to stay slightly longer and booked the hotel for longer. Now everyone's come out, [saying] that it's not such a bad idea….
“A tyre manufacturer, no matter what its name is, can not develop reliable tyres if it cannot test. Work in the simulator brings little there. It has to happen on a race track.”
Despite the furore after Silverstone, and the request from Pirelli that the teams be given mandatory pressures and cambers to run at the Nurburgring, Ecclestone is confident that the situation will be resolved positively.
“If we interpret the experiences that we get right, we learn from it and do better in the future - stress, even the greatest, can be so beneficial,” he concluded, “The problems that F1 are currently going through are perhaps the best [thing] that could happen to it.
“The most poignant example in this respect was certainly the death of Ayrton Senna, which began an incredible safety discussion [after which] F1 was as safe as never before. The occasion was extremely sad, but the action has saved many lives since. So we must also now apply that to the tyre problem. Until now, thank God, no-one has been injured, [but] we must quickly learn the lessons from it.
“If nothing happens, people stay in their everyday routine. If there is trouble, they need to change something, and usually they do it well. I am positive.”