By Alan Baldwin, Reuters
BARCELONA–Red Bull’s Adrian Newey and McLaren’s Sam Michael, two of Formula One’s technical big-hitters, questioned on Friday the value of testing during the season. Eleven of the 12 teams tested at Ferrari’s Mugello circuit in Italy last week, the first time such a session was scheduled since in-season testing was banned in 2008. “I think you could do without it,” Michael, formerly the Williams technical director, told reporters at the Spanish Grand Prix.
“I think it’s a lot of energy and expense during the season that we probably don’t need. Of course McLaren will gain a lot out of that test but Formula One is all relative so all we really did was spend a load of money.” Newey, who has designed championship-winning cars for Williams, McLaren and 2011 champions Red Bull, agreed with the Australian. “I think we learnt the pasta in Italy is still the best in the world and that’s about it really,” said the British boffin. “You go to the test because it’s available. We didn’t learn anything … relatively speaking. I think Sam’s point is valid. We all spent money but the value of in-season testing has to be questionable.” Newey, whose latest car won in Bahrain last month and sent Red Bull’s double world champion Sebastian Vettel to the top of the standings after four races, said the last three years had taught teams how to do things differently.
“We’ve all learnt how to use Fridays (practice at race weekends) more effectively as test sessions so the value of in-season testing has depleted because of that,” he said. Formula One has one more test before the end of the season but only for young drivers rather than the race regulars. Teams are split over whether to hold it in Abu Dhabi, after that race in November, or at Silverstone over the European summer.