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2007 testing restrictions - the ins and outs 11 Jan 2007

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB2 Formula One Testing, Day 2, Jerez, Spain. 7 December 2006. World © Bumstead/Sutton. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R26 Formula One Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain. 8 December 2006. World © Bumstead/Sutton. Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 248 F1 Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, 14 December 2006. World © Patching/Sutton. Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/21 Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, 14 December 2006. World © Patching/Sutton. Michael Ammermuller (GER) Red Bull Racing RB2. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 6 December 2006. World ©  Hartley/Sutton.

With the move to a single tyre supplier for 2007 comes new limits on the amount of Formula One testing that will take place throughout the year. From January 1 to December 31, the teams have agreed to adhere to specific restrictions, both in terms of distance run and tyres used.

Each team may complete a maximum of 30,000 kilometres, using no more than 300 sets of tyres. The limits cover all testing, including shake-downs and straight-line aero work. The only exemptions are filming or promotional activities, where cars must run with tyres not resembling race rubber.

With all the teams now using the same Bridgestone tyres, not only will the new restrictions save them time and money, they will also alter the emphasis of their testing programmes. According to Red Bull Racing’s chief test engineer Ian Morgan, where in the past a team may have run up to 15 sets of rubber per car per day, the new figure is likely to be no more than four.

“This limits the ability to do proper comparative testing, but we will save a lot of time that we used to spend purely testing the tyres and now the focus is back on the chassis side of things,” explained Morgan to Red Bull Racing’s official website. “Tyre work used to be quite interesting and it was a challenge to get the car to match the characteristics of different compounds and constructions.”

Another major change will be a move to one-car, rather than two-car, testing for the duration of the season, from Australia’s opener in March through to the Brazilian finale in October. This will require a revised discipline from the teams to ensure they get maximum track time from their machinery.

“When you test with two (cars) and there is a problem with one car, you can shuffle your programme around and adapt, but with the new rule there will be added pressure to have the one car on-track all the time,” notes Morgan. “But the lack of tyre testing should help in that respect.”

There will also be a far more structured approach to testing, with the majority of teams expected to attend the same eight, three-day sessions during the season. The dates and venues have been agreed by the recently formed Formula One Testing Committee and, as usual, most will take place in Spain and France.