Romain Grosjean, Haas, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016

New teams should get to test more – Steiner

2016 F1 season

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says new teams should be given extra testing opportunities.

There were just eight days of pre-season testing before the first race of 2016. Haas completed 2,206km with their new car which was less than any team bar Sauber, whose 2016 did not appear until the final test.

“As a new team, I would want an opportunity to test a few more days than the other teams,” said Steiner. “Give the new teams a freebie with three or more days of testing to get to know the car better, to get the team working better together so you can avoid the small mistakes you make early on that sometimes have big consequences.”

“It’s wishful thinking, but knowing what I know now would have helped avoid the problems we had in China.”

Haas experienced problems with the new front wing they ran for the first time in China.

“We just couldn’t get the car to do what we wanted it to do,” Steiner admitted. “We had a problem with Esteban [Gutierrez’s] car, so he went out very little on Friday, which was part of our overall problem. We cannot make mistakes like that over the entire weekend.”

The team reverted to its original front wing at Romain Grosjean’s urging.

“When Romain noted something was not right, we went back to our original wing – our proven wing,” said Steiner. “Romain knew it wasn’t right and he knew we didn’t have enough time to experiment with it, so we needed to go back to something we knew.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 28 comments on “New teams should get to test more – Steiner”

    1. And new engine suppliers (in the unlikely event that anyone else decides to enter the sport) should have their per season engine limit relaxed.

      It needs to be much, much easier for new teams and engine suppliers to get into F1.

    2. Luca Garofalo
      23rd April 2016, 21:13

      Sure, more testing. Because you didn’t have enough freedom during last year to do whatever you wanted. This is more ridicolous than Wolff claiming that the status quo is damaging for them (because being about to win the third title in a row is a big damage!!). Are they really serious?

      1. Exactly my first thought. I think Haas has shown (with the right amount of resources and no limits per the rules, where all competing teams have to face except Haas) what can be done.

        1. “no limits per the rules, where all competing teams have to face except Haas”…

          @jabosha are you insinuating that Haas are cheating?

          1. I’m giving Haas their due. How many teams come in and fail to score points? But as the post I agreed with is saying, you’ve had enough time to test with freedom from rules than teams actually competing in the championship. Haas results prove what’s possible, if resources are used correctly.

            The poster I agreed with is saying to Steiner you’ve had enough testing. Now maybe, my no limits per the rules was strong. But no where did I imply cheating. If I thought that, I’d say Haas was cheating.

            They’ve done a bang up job so far.

            1. @jabosha

              That’s fair enough. I just wanted to understand.

              I also agree with Luca. Haas elected to start in 2016 rather than 2015, as they could have done, to make sure they had enough time to get organised. I think that move has ultimately paid off, but it’s a luxury that isn’t afforded to most new teams. New teams normally need to hit the track as soon as possible for commercial reasons. Because the main sponsor actually owns Haas, and Gene is serious about making a ‘proper’ team, they not only had the resources to wait a whole year, but the right attitude and blessing from the top of the organisation to do so.

              Because of this pretty unique (for a new private team) situation, it’s difficult to agree with Gunther. I find it difficult to argue that Haas hasn’t had enough time.

              Also, the introduction of a tiered rule system is a slippery slope. It’s a dangerous road to head down. Everyone has exactly the same opportunity to track test their new machines, as it should be. Whether the teams have enough testing time is another argument entirely.

              In my view, F1 should be, in Kimi’s words, “the same for everyone”.

          2. @andybantam, as a new entrant, Haas were not bound by a number of the restrictions that other teams faced – for example, Haas were not bound by the limits on wind tunnel testing time which other teams faced, hence why the FIA investigated Ferrari over concerns that Ferrari could circumvent the restrictions by undertaking wind tunnel work that they classified as being for Haas. Saying that they were cheating and saying that Haas were not bound by certain regulations that did not apply to a new entrant are two very different things.

            1. My query has now been satisfied.

              I realise that Haas could technically have unlimited development time in 2015 by deferring their entrance until this year, that’s why is was so advantageous to do so. I also understand the three obvious concerns about Ferrari gaining an advantage as a result of the technical tie up with Haas. The cynic in me thinks that any advantage Ferrari might get would be very difficult to detect, despite the findings of the FIA investigation.

              I was just asking for clarification of the context of the statement I quoted, that’s all. :)

      2. RaceProUK (@)
        24th April 2016, 2:17

        Why is it so bad to give a brand new team a few extra days? Existing teams have years if not decades of experience they can build on; three days is nothing compared to that.

        1. Don’t bring facts into a discussion of what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s not fair to point out that a team’s extra year of wind tunnel testing a scale model isn’t anywhere near equivalent to 5+ years of racing experience with full-sized cars, and does absolutely nothing to prepare a team for actual, you know, racing. :)

    3. spafrancorchamps
      23rd April 2016, 22:06

      Not necessarily new teams, all teams at the back of the field should be given more testing opportunities.

      1. I agree with you. It should depend on the championship points per team. If your team is back, next year you have more time to test during pre season tests. It could help performance convergence a little bit without unification or development freeze.

        1. But it’s the poorer teams that are usually further down the order, so giving the the OK to go testing, would just mean they have to spread their budget even more thinly as testing is not cheap exercise, it’s the small teams that support less testing because t saves them money but also means the rich teams only get the same amount of testing as them. Even as recently as just 10 years ago, teams would be testing almost every week somewhere in the world, but this just became a huge financial burden, because if you didn’t test you fell behind, but if you did test it cost a bomb, hence why we have the restrictions we see in place currently.

          1. Yes, testing is expensive. But the smaller and poorer teams would be the opportunity to test more. So they can decide to test more than the others or not if they don’t have enough money. They could test the reliability of their car and it would be very useful especially for new teams.
            On the other hand the infrastructure and computers are expensive as well where they can model and test the car ‘virtually’. And if your modelling program doesn’t work perfectly you will get wrong results.

    4. I’m a bit on the fence on this one. On the one hand it sounds a bit like special treatment, when in order to play in F1, in order to even get the green flag to join, you had to have proven why you deserve to be there and can sustain an effort.

      On the other hand, on track testing is severely reduced from what it used to be, both before and during the seasons, so…

      Tough call to make but I don’t think they are being all that unreasonable in bringing the topic up. It’s not like the 2 or 3 extra days they are talking about would threaten the top 3 or 4 or 5 or even 6 teams, methinks. Just help close up the back of the field slightly, no?

    5. I agree. F1 makes it so hard for a new team to enter and be relatively competitive. Even if it’s 2 or 3 days more testing why not. Why restrict the new teams doesn’t Bernie want them to be competitive? Haas has done something special in the first few races which might make some other teams consider joining F1 (don’t know why though). I think new teams should be allowed a little extra testing in their first season.

    6. ColdFly F1 (@)
      23rd April 2016, 22:58

      Good point.
      All teams that have a new car should have those 3 extra days!

    7. What an Idea! For each position from top, teams should get 1 extra testing day. New teams 12 days extra…

      If 10 extra days for Manor or 7 extra for McLaren help them close the gap? I do not see that as unfair at all.

      Maybe poor Mercedes can get sn extra testing day next year.

      1. @jureo,
        Cool idea, although quite expensive for the smaller teams & won’t really ensure further competitiveness with extra few days’ testing compared to the big dogs.

      2. Perhaps combine that with sharing more of the profits with teams into a “testing allowance” of days & money that increases as you go down the grid. Would need some deeper thinking around when a team elects to not use their full allowance – what happens to the money?

    8. I think testing should be increased overall. I also think it show be higher profile; aired on view to view television it could act as advertising for the season ahead. This is going to become important as the actual races get further entrenched behind a sky paywall.

      1. Except that testing was reduced to save money, albeit the top teams just spend it in the wind tunnel and on more and more sophisticated simulators. And what non-pay TV entity would just cover testing which can be pretty boring?

        1. I know it was to reduce costs, but as you suggest that is not happening. To be fair for some people watching a race is pretty boring, I have endured lots of comments from friends and family about how can you watch cars going round and round a track; how can that be fun, etc? For enthusiasts testing is fun and being around in households who perhaps can’t afford to pay for cable, as I generally can’t, it might keep interest alive in the young of those households and discussions going about the teams and cars, so the next generation can become enthusiastic too. If everything is behind a paywall, and there is absolutely no alternative access to view the cars in action, then F1 will become even more of a niche sport than it already is. Sponsorship for teams will dry up even more than it has, and more of the smaller teams will go to the wall than have already done. In any case I am sure there would be ways to spice up testing a bit to make it more entertaining.

          1. @lass321 I agree. One just has to look at the NFL to see what can happen when the decision makers understand the fans and market. They have made everything an event and televise things that no one thought people would watch…and they watch in surprisingly large numbers. The college football teams have taken a page from that and televise their spring inter-team practice games which draw higher ratings that playoff hockey.
            FOM don’t understand the market and don’t seem to be willing to expand the F1 coverage beyond the race weekend.

            Televising testing with behind the scenes features and testing in markets that don’t have races would be a bonus for sponsors, teams and fans but it’s unlikely to happen until certain people are no longer in control.

        2. The testing ban like all other “cost cutting” measures have done nothing to help the smaller teams become more competitive and in my opinion have only hurt the sport. Time to come up with a new plan.

          1. Totally agree. A rethink about the rules to make a fair competition, and consideration about the sharing of profits to further level the playing field, would be a good place to start. I think F1 has lost its way. It is not sure whether it should be entertainment or sport, but if it was a pure sport it would be more entertaining for those who care, and the glamour would not be diminished rather it would be enhanced with the excitement of real overtaking and high speeds. It claims to be the epitome of motorsport but changes the rules to disable effective competition, thereby diminishing its claims of being a sport. If it continues to focus on gimmicks and sparkle at the expense of speed and fair competition it will, over time, become totally irrelevant no matter how many posh watches it sells.

      2. @lass321, a few years ago, the BBC did in fact try doing something along those lines by going to the pre-season tests and producing a highlights package (although the coverage was broadcast online instead of a conventional terrestrial broadcast).

        However, they ended up dropping the idea after the first couple of tests – partially to save money, but also because most viewers found the test sessions fairly dull (it would essentially be like watching a practise session from a race weekend, but spread over 8 hours instead) and the lack of interest meant it really wasn’t worthwhile committing the necessary resources to film and edit the footage from an entire pre-season test.

    9. Haas didn’t even have to develop a new car. They are basically a Ferrari project. Most parts were given to them and didn’t have to be developed.
      I bet ye that their year of free testing was used by Ferrari to test new parts for the Ferrari team.
      Since they were not under F1 rules yet they could do whatever they wanted in testing (for Ferrari).

      So why is he complaining?

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