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Testing is totally inconclusive!  
9 January 2001 Volume 3 - Issue 1  

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Much as we would like to draw conclusions from the recent testing, there is almost nothing happening that will give us an indication of how fast the different teams or drivers will be in Melbourne.

All teams are testing new components but none are testing the car they will be using in the first race.

Like always the development curve is very steep and this year there are several changes that desperately need testing and understanding by the teams as they may have a profound effect on the outcome of the season.


Michelin have conducted their first tests and although it looks as if they may be slightly better than Bridgestone in the wet they also look marginally slower in dry and warm conditions. As it is winter in Europe, we do not know how they will compare in Melbourne where we are almost guaranteed of hot and humid conditions, unless it rains.

Both tyre manufacturers will also be working hard to overcome any perceived weakness and it may all change before the first race. Teams will also use what they learned and they may even find ways to compensate for weaknesses and exploit strengths of the tyres

Although the teams testing Michelin tyres will have the most to discover, both tyre manufacturers will be testing new compounds. Add to this that traction control will be allowed early in the season and aerodynamics has changed quite a bit and there is a lot of interaction to be tested.

The regulatory changes in aerodynamics (lifting the front wings and limiting the elements on the back wing to 3) has meant that many hours have been spent in the wind tunnels by all teams to get an understanding of how to optimise shape, angle and curve of foils and end plates but some testing has to be done on the track. I am sure that most, if not all teams are gathering data on the effect of these changes.

I am not convinced that the changes in aerodynamics will improve the overtaking problem and, if it did improve, how long would it take aerodynamic technology to catch up and recreate it again, but at this stage, our campaign to return overtaking to F1 will be put on hold and see if these changes are positive and stay positive. 


Most teams have new engine components or variations that they need to test from a performance and durability point of view. Many of these will be intended for their new, yet to be released engines and may not improve the performance of the engines that they are being tried on, but that is not the purpose. The purpose is to see how they work or last.

Other teams like Minardi will be unlikely to be testing any engine components as they do not know which engine they will be using and Prost may have a Ferrari engine but are unable to fit it so they are just going round until the last Peugeot engine gives in. Who knows what they do after that!

No, we have no idea of what is being tested and when. We have no idea of which team is in qualifying trim when they set their best time of the day. We have no idea of how many new components are being tested and how they will be helping the new cars.

As the new cars are being released and testing of race trim gains in importance and urgency we may get some clues, providing they all test on the same circuit on the same day, but right now, we do not have a clue!

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