Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has criticised the perceived over-reliance on simulators in F1 development describing them as a “joke”
In recent years with a ban on in-season testing teams have invested very heavily in the computer simulation technology to keep up the development of cars over a season, indeed such is the cost Di Montezemolo believes on-track testing would actually be cheaper.
Speaking on Autosport, he said, "it is a joke. We have been forced to invest a huge amount of money in these terrible machines, artificial, instead of testing here [at Fiorano] and Mugello."
“If somebody has no money to do tests, it is better to race in GP2, in go karts or go and play basketball. I want to do testing to first of all give new drivers the possibility to drive cars and get experience.
The always outspoken President also believed a return to in-season on-track testing would benefit more than just teams and reserve drivers.
“I also want to give more opportunities to the public because from one race weekend to another it is silent in F1. There is nothing, nothing,” he added.
“Testing is also a good opportunity for the sponsors, to call the public. And tests are less expensive than building and developing every month the terrible simulator. This is something we have to discuss for the future.”
While the Italian team has always strongly supported what might be described as ‘old school’ F1 with less restrictions on testing, technology etc, Di Montezemolo acknowledges costs in the sport are too high.
“I think in soccer if you want to compete in the Champions’ League, you have to buy good players, you have to train sometimes even five times in a day. This is competition,” he said.
“I think that it is ridiculous that in F1, from one side, we are not allowed to test, and from the other side we are forced to spend a huge amount of money in the windtunnel in which we develop aerodynamics that I cannot transfer any of to my [road] cars.
“I don’t want it to seem that I am a conservative old fan of F1. I think if we were allowed to do more testing, the scandal of the tyres [in 2013] would not have happened because even for Pirelli it is very difficult as they cannot do too many tests.”
For 2014 four in-season tests are planned at various venues as the FIA looks to increase the participation of reserve drivers and eliminate issues such as those with the tyres during last season.
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