Youngsters unlikely to feature in elongated FP1
26 September 2013 – Formula 1’s top teams are unlikely to field youngsters during the elongated first practice sessions in 2014, with team bosses expressing a preference to give their race drivers as much track time as possible.
A meeting prior to the Singapore Grand Prix led to a provisional agreement to increase FP1 from its current 90 minute format to a duration of two hours. However, both Ross Brawn and Martin Whitmarsh say that the fierce competition amongst the sport’s front-runners means that giving their experienced drivers the chance to evaluate developments and gain meaningful data is more important than blooding in youngsters.
"I think for us we'll still stick with race drivers," said Brawn. "One of the main changes is an extra set of tyres for the first half hour, which I think is a good move, and the ability to change drivers during a session, which is actually not easy. If you've got drivers with too much variance then it's not such an easy thing but it's doable.
"But it's not something that we would be considering because we need all the time in the car with our two race drivers - all the time we can get in the car with them - so I think there will be a point on the grid where it is more attractive to some teams, but certainly not for teams that are fighting for races and fighting for championships."
"I think from McLaren's perspective it's not something that we'd necessarily want to do," added Whitmarsh. "We would ultimately not do effectively performance testing in terms of lap time, set-up, we'd be doing a whole range of component changes and just data logging on the straights I expect. So it probably wouldn't have the desired effect, although you'd have to look at the precise detail of what they define.
"As is often the case, quick ideas in Formula One have unintended consequences and the teams figure it out for themselves how to exploit it to their best advantage, not necessarily aligned with the original intention of such an idea, so I think you'd have to think about it carefully."