Much has been made this Formula 1 season about the ban on in-season testing and how it has limited the ability of teams to make changes to their cars throughout the year. According to Yahoo! Eurosport, that ban likely won’t be lifted for the 2017 season but teams might have more time for testing before the campaign starts.
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh confirmed earlier this week that the teams’ group FOTA is pushing to add two testing sessions in Bahrain in March ahead of what is widely believed to be the season-opening race at the track. Combined with two tests in Abu Dhabi immediately after the end of this season and the traditional testing done in Spain, this would give teams a total of six test sessions during the off-season.
According to Whitmarsh, the increased off-season testing is a form of compromise between teams which want to see in-season testing brought back and other teams which are still concerned about its costs.
“We’ve agreed there will be six tests during the winter and, probably, the last one will be in Bahrain, but it hasn’t been quite agreed yet,” Whitmarsh said. “I personally would like to see more testing, but I am respectful of the fact that there are teams still hurting. We want to make sure that it’s cost effective for the small teams.
“We’ve now got at least six tests in the winter, so that’s a step further forward. What we haven’t got at the moment is agreement to test during the season. I’d like to see a couple of tests, but we’ve made some progress. To have six tests in the winter is more than we’ve had in recent years.”