As the sport's technical demands have grown in recent years, so too has the importance of testing. But with the FIA ever mindful of rising costs, since 2009 teams have been limited to 15,000 test kilometres during a calendar year. Promotional events (of which each team is allowed eight per season up to a maximum distance of 100km each) do not count towards this tally.
Testing can only take place at FIA-approved sites and, ahead of a session, teams must inform the governing body of their schedule so that an observer can be appointed if deemed necessary. All cars must be fitted with the standardised, FIA-approved Electronic Control Unit and have successfully passed all FIA-mandated crash tests.
Three team tests of no more than four days are permitted between February 1 and the week preceding the first race of the season, but no track testing is allowed during the season. The only exceptions are one three day young driver test (open to drivers that have competed in no more than two world championship races) and four one day aerodynamic tests carried out on FIA approved straight line or constant radius sites.
There are also restrictions on wind tunnel testing - the scale models used may be no larger than 60 per cent and speeds are limited to 50 metres per second, however teams are permitted to substitute one of their one day aerodynamic tests for four hours of wind-on testing in a full scale wind tunnel to be carried out in a single twenty four hour period.
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