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Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain, Thursday, 9 February 2012 Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34 running sensor equipment.
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, 21 February 2012

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 two per season up to a maximum distance of 100km each) do not count towards this tally.

Testing can only take place with one car per team at FIA-approved sites and cannot take place outside of Europe without the agreement of a majority of the teams. 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 January 20 and ten days preceding the first race of the season. Four tests of no more than two consecutive days are also permitted at circuits where an event has taken place, but must commence no less than 36 hours after the end of said event.

All competitors must observe a factory shutdown period of 14 consecutive days in August, during which time their wind tunnels and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) facilities must not be used for Formula One activities.

From 2014 onwards there are heavy restrictions on wind tunnel testing, both in terms of what may be done and how long it may be done for. As before, the scale models used may be no larger than 60 percent and speeds are limited to 50 metres per second. Similar restrictions also apply to CFD simulation work. There are also revised limitations to the amount of running teams can do with previous or historic cars.