Fewer tests will hurt rookies – Magnussen
5 July 2014 – McLaren's Kevin Magnussen reckons that Formula 1's reduced pre-season testing schedule, set to be introduced for the 2016 season, will make the situation tougher for rookie drivers.
Magnussen, who made his debut in the sport this season, received six days in the MP4-29 prior to the first round of the year. He also participated in two young driver tests in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
But under new regulations for 2016, there will be just two pre-season tests rather than three, meaning that a rookie is likely to receive only four days of running in a new car prior to the opening round of the year.
"It would be tough," he said. "I think it's tough coming into Formula 1 without [much] testing – you need to drive the car. It's not essential to operate the car as you learn that in the simulator and you can look at it to prepare and learn it from reading about it, but it is very useful to drive the car, [to] feel the set-up changes.
"I'm still learning massively about that, it's very hard to set up these cars as there is a lot to do, luckily the engineers are very good at it! But from a driver's point of view you can do a lot as you're the guy who feels the car – who's driving the car – so you need to feel what it is you need from the car and that takes time.
"It just takes time and you don't get that time. Nowadays it's tricky and you need to prepare very, very well before driving the first race."
Magnussen says that while several junior drivers can set quick lap times, testing is vital in teaching youngsters about the complexity of the sport.
"We know how to drive a fast lap time, but that's useless in Formula 1 if you don't know anything about anything else," he said. "Many drivers can do a fast lap time in GP2 or GP3 [and] would be able to do a fast time with a Formula 1 car, but you need to drive a whole season, look after the tyres, do the race, [the] strategy; there's so many different areas and situations that you need to be good at and if you don't have the testing, that's very difficult to get on top of."
The Dane was nonetheless encouraged by another regulation which stipulates that two of the four days of in-season testing must be given to young drivers from 2015.
"I think that's good," he said. "For the Formula 1 drivers who have been here for a long time they don't need testing so much in the season – pre-season is a different thing as it's a new car – but I don't think Formula 1 drivers need testing in season so much, so to pick young drivers for that is very important.
"Formula 1 teams need to see new drivers in the car and evaluate them, so I hope we see more young drivers in the cars."