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F1 to ease in-season test ban

2011-12-08 07:37

LEARNER DRIVER: Rookie driver Jean-Eric Vergne drives his Toro Rosso during first practice session of the 2011 Korean F1 GP.

Alan Baldwin

Formula 1's ban on testing during the racing season will be relaxed in 2012.

Teams will be allowed one test, the governing International Automobile Federation has said: "One three-day test will be carried out during the season, formerly there were none," the IAF said in a statement detailing rule changes after a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in New Delhi.

Teams were allowed to carry out one test in Abu Dhabi during 2011 but only with young drivers or those with limited or no race experience.


The change would appear to allow testing by race drivers, something for which teams such as Ferrari have increasingly lobbied.

The test ban was introduced in 2009 to help cut soaring costs in the sport at a time of global economic difficulty. Fortunes had been spent on testing, putting in many more laps at empty circuits than during race weekends, in pursuit of often infinitesimal gains.

The IAF also said there would now be a maximum race time of four hours to ensure that a lengthy suspension, as happened in Canada this season, would not lead to an unregulated eight-hour marathon.


Drivers were warned that they would no longer be allowed to take short cuts on the track, such as cutting a chicane to save fuel on reconnaissance or deceleration laps, "without a justifiable reason".

They can also expect action from the stewards if they move back on to the racing line to defend their position having moved off it.

The safety car regulations were revised, with lapped cars allowed to unlap themselves and join the back of the pack before the safety car returns to the pits.

The measure is designed to ensure a clean re-start without slower cars impeding those racing at the front.


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