Mercedes were planning to carry out a test at Portimao ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix before testing at new Formula 1 venues for 2020 was outlawed.

A number of new, or returning tracks, have been added to the 2020 calendar, which has been drastically revised because of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The FIA sporting regulations had allowed teams to run 2018-spec cars without limitation as long as the governing body was kept informed, and several teams had planned to carry out tests at Portimao, Imola or Mugello prior to the races there.

The likes of Ferrari and AlphaTauri took advantage of F1’s test regulations by conducting testing days at Mugello and Imola respectively before the season got underway in July.

But similar plans were blocked after a ban on such testing was pushed through over cost concerns and worries that teams taking part would gain a competitive advantage.

Mercedes, which ran a 2018 car at Silverstone prior to the season to get its drivers up to speed, was hoping to run its W09 title-winner again at Portimao.

But Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff ultimately agreed that outlawing testing at new venues was the right decision.

"We would have taken the 2018 car to some of the tracks,” he said.

“We were planning to go to Portimao, but I think that it's not the right call.

"I think we're all looking at saving costs with the prize fund being considerably down, and in that respect, if nobody gains an advantage by not going testing, it's the right thing to do.”

The 10 teams agreed to the updated clause in the regulations at a recent Strategy Group meeting before the change is officially ratified by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl welcomed the ban and believed a move to go testing would have sent out the wrong message amid F1’s strict COVID-19 protocols.

"It would definitely have been absolutely the wrong sign also, to the public and towards our people as well in the times of COVID, in the times of where we should avoid any unnecessary trouble for our people in order to protect them,” he explained.

"I think it would have been completely the wrong sign also to do these tests. And therefore, I'm very happy with the outcome.

“It was good to see that in the end, all teams agreed on this. Which is not always the case."

 

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