The pre-season testing for the FIA Formula 1 2020 season starts in Barcelona, Spain today (February 19, 2020). The first test will be spread over three days. This is followed by a second test a week later staring on 26th February, 2020.
There are only six days of winter testing for this season. The Formula 1 teams normally have eight days of testing spread over two tests. The reduction in testing days by 25% puts the teams under pressure.
The teams have to hit the track running from the first day. The teams cannot afford any loss of track time due to glitches in their new challengers because of the reduced testing days. The season starts with the first race in Melbourne, Australia on March 15th, 2020 just two weeks after the second test ends.
The reduction in testing days is to control expenses and to reduce the strain on the team members because of the expanded calendar of twenty-two races in 2020.
Romain Grosjean speaking to Motorsport.com about the reduction in testing days said: “It’s a big change, it’s a big difference. All it takes is for the weather not to be yours and it’s a lost day right away.
“Last year, we had a lot of electrical problems when it was just a fuse somewhere that was bothering us, and it put us out of action for whole mornings. Now, we can’t afford to have that.
“We have to have the car working. We have to drive it and push it on a little bit, in all possible circumstances, to be ready so we know what to do at the races.”
Marcin Budkowski, Renault Executive Director, agreed with Grosjean on the ramped up pressure on the teams. Budkowski said: “Certainly when you have six days of testing you don’t want to discover issues,” he explained. I think it’s the same on the engine side.
“In any case, it is tight. You know if you have a monumental issue in Barcelona you are two weeks away from sending your car to Melbourne so if you have have six days or eight days, it’s tight.
“It just puts more pressure and you really want to do the same amount of testing, acquire all the data on the aero, all the race data, all the testing on the tyres.
“We have six days to do it rather than then eight. No in-season testing as well this year, so it’s significant in terms of what you can do.”
This season with just six days of winter testing, teams have to optimize their test plans to the maximum.