In-season testing looks set to return in 2014
Formula One looks set to see a return to in-season testing next year after a majority of teams voted in favour of four tests during the course of the 2014 season.
The Sporting Working Committee met on Saturday evening in Canada to discuss the proposal, which will now be forwarded to the FIA's World Motor Sport Council for ratification. The tests look likely to be two-day events following European certain rounds in order to keep costs low. As a trade off, there will be fewer straight-line tests and filming days, while the Young Driver Test will be abandoned.
In the past McLaren has been one of the teams opposed to the return of in-season testing, but team principal Martin Whitmarsh said the new plans are a compromise which keep an eye on costs.
"I think there's always a balance," he said. "Historically I've always supported a limitation on testing and other limitations. The compromise that is being struck is that by testing at a circuit on the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday after a race in Europe it makes it a little bit more practical.
"What we've also done is take out a plethora of straight-line runs, demo runs and the Young Driver Test with have grown on the edge of things. It's a balance and I think a compromise that's being struck and hopefully the majority of teams support it. But nonetheless we've got to continue to find ways we can save costs, particularly for the small teams."
The first pre-season test of the year looks likely to take place in Jerez in January to allow the teams to get down to work early on their all-new V6 turbo-powered cars. A venue in the Middle East is being proposed for the second and third pre-season tests before the first race of the year kicks off in Bahrain.
"I think the idea of having a test in January in Jerez is logistically straight forward," Whitmarsh added. "I think then having a gap, by which you can respond to the issues, and then testing in some warm weather in the Middle East. If you're their [in the Middle East] starting the season there seem like a pretty sensible approach. I think most people have agreed it and I suspect it is going to be confirmed."
The testing plans will need to be ratified at the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council during the FIA Sport Conference Week at Goodwood between June 25 and 28.