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FIA clarifies testing regulations

13 December 2013

Motorsport's governing body has moved to erase grey areas that existed in previous F1 testing rulebooks, setting out tighter restrictions ahead of the 2014 season.

Partly in response to the return of approved in-season testing and partly as a reaction to the furore caused by Mercedes 'private' Pirelli test, which took place immediately after this year's Spanish Grand Prix, the FIA has included a raft of clarifications in the latest sporting regulations document.

Despite being seen by some as an unnecessary addition to the annual spend, the rules on in-season testing have been relaxed for 2014, with each team allowed a maximum of four two-day tests between the first and last rounds of the championship, These tests will be subject to their own set of rules, restricting them to circuits where a grand prix has already taken place and preventing teams from hitting the track within 36 hours of the event having finished.

In a bid to retain some control over costs, the number of in-season tests will also be linked to the size of the calendar, with the proposed limit of four remaining in place unless the number of races grows above a maximum of 20. Should additional events be added to the calendar - as was proposed for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons - one test would be removed from the allocation for each race above 20.

With tyre testing becoming a particular point of contention this season, the FIA has also moved to provide some assistance for Pirelli (or whoever takes over the supply contract in future seasons).

“In the interests of providing the appointed tyre supplier with access to current F1 cars for the purposes of tyre development, all teams will be obliged to allocate one date from amongst the eight in-season test days for testing tyres,” the latest regulations stipulate, before setting out the following controls:

• Allocation of dates will be negotiated with the appointed tyre supplier, who will give priority to teams according to their positions in the previous year's championship.

• Allocations must be declared by each team to the FIA before the start of the first Event of the Championship and may not be subsequently changed.

• The team must test tyres on the allocated day according to run plan defined by the appointed tyre supplier.

• The run plans and results for each day of tyre testing must be made available to all teams.

• Tyres used during such testing day will not be drawn from the team's annual allocation of tyres for testing.

Such was the consternation arising from the 'discovery' of Mercedes' Barcelona test, which was conducted using one of the 2013-spec W04 chassis, the governing body has deemed it necessary to clarify the rules surrounding development work using current and historic cars going forward.

As such, the new regulations break down definitions of 'Current Cars', 'Previous Cars' and 'Historic Cars', with additional clarification of what it allowed on 'Promotional Events'.

“Testing of Current Cars (TCC) shall be defined as any track running time, not part of an event, in which a competitor entered in the championship participates (or in which a third party participates on behalf of a competitor), using cars which were designed and built in order to comply with the 2013, 2014 or 2015 Formula One Technical Regulations. No competitor may sell or make available a car of the current year to any third party without the full knowledge of the FIA.

“Each competitor will also be permitted to carry out two Promotional Events (PE) with the above cars which will not be considered TCC. A PE shall be defined as an event in which a competitor participates purely for marketing or promotional purposes. No such test may exceed 100km in length and only tyres manufactured specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier may be used.

“In order that an FIA observer may be appointed, competitors must inform the FIA of any planned TCC or PE at least 72 hours before it is due to commence, the following information should be provided:

i) The precise specification of the car(s) to be used.
ii) The name(s) of the driver(s) if known.
iii) The nature of the test.
iv) The date(s) and intended duration of the test.
v) The purpose of the test.

“Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) shall be defined as any track running time, not part of an event, in which a competitor entered in the championship participates (or in which a third party participates on behalf of a competitor), using cars which were designed and built in order to comply with the 2010, 2011 or 2012 Formula One Technical Regulations.

“TPC may only be carried out with cars built to the specification of the period and only tyres manufactured specifically for this purpose may be used.

“In order that an FIA observer may be appointed, where possible competitors must inform the FIA of any planned TPC at least 72 hours before it is due to commence, the following information should be provided:

i) The precise specification of the car(s) to be used.
ii) The name(s) of the driver(s) if known.
iii) The nature of the test.
iv) The date(s) and intended duration of the test.
v) The purpose of the test.

“Testing of Historic Cars (THC) shall be defined as any track running time, not part of an event, in which a competitor entered in the championship participates (or in which a third party participates on behalf of a competitor), using cars which were designed and built in order to comply with the 2009 Formula One Technical Regulations or earlier.

“THC may only be carried out with cars built to the specification of the period and only tyres manufactured specifically for this purpose, or tyres of the period, may be used.”

The regulations also state that 'no competitor may carry out more than 15,000km of testing with current cars during a calendar year, and clarifies that such testing may not take place whilst a grand prix is taking place, use more than one car at any given time, be run 'on any track outside Europe without the agreement of the majority of teams and the FIA', during the month of August, prior to 20 January or between 20 and the start of the season unless as part of the scheduled pre-season testing calendar.

One day from any of the pre-season tests, no less than 20 days before the start of the first round of the championship, must be set aside for testing of wet-weather tyres, arrangement of which 'will be made by the appointed tyre supplier in full consultation with the teams and the FIA'.

Any team substituting a driver with another 'who has not participated in an F1 race in the two previous calendar years' will be permitted one day of TCC under certain guidelines, including not taking place on a circuit hosting a race in the current calendar, and occurring with a 28-day period of the substitution. Should the proposed substitution not subsequently take effect, the team will lose a day of pre-season testing the following year.

In confirming that no testing can take place in August, the FIA also reinforced the 'summer shutdown' between the Hungarian and Belgian grands prix. Teams notify the FIA of their intended shutdown period prior to the start of the championship season.


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