The FIA approves in-season testing's return and penalty points system for 2014

Four two-day tests to replace promotional runs and Young Driver Test

By Mike Wise at Silverstone.   Last Updated: 29/06/13 12:10pm

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The FIA confirmed on Friday that in-season testing will return next year.

The governing body's World Motor Sport Council rubber-stamped the move in a meeting held at Goodwood House in Sussex. It was agreed by teams when they met at the Canadian Grand Prix three weeks ago.

Key changes for 2014:

  • Four two-day in-season tests to replace promotional days and Young Driver Test
  • "Significant" reduction in wind tunnel testing and CFD work
  • Penalty points system for drivers
  • One extra set of tyres for P1 only
  • Five power units allowed per season; any more means car must start in pitlane
  • Replacement of individual elements means ten-place penalty
  • Gearboxes must last six consecutive races

It represents an attempt to seek a greater degree of clarity in how teams go about testing and comes one week after Mercedes and Pirelli were handed a reprimand for their controversial test after the Spanish Grand Prix.

An FIA statement read: "Four two-day track tests will be allowed in season in place of the current eight one-day promotional days and the three-day young driver test. These will take place at tracks in Europe of the Tuesday and Wednesday after a race in order to ensure minimal additional resources are necessary."

In-season testing was banned in 2009 as a cost-cutting measure. However, the feeling is that a limited amount of running will, in fact, cost less than is the case at present.

'Testgate' aside, there has also been a feeling that teams have been getting more out of the filming and promotional days than might perhaps have been originally intended. They are also allowed four days of straightline aero running as well as wind tunnel and simulator work.

Included in a number of changes ratified by the WMSC, there will be a "significant reduction" in wind tunnel testing and CFD work in an attempt to reduce costs.

Testing will also be permitted in January next year in order to allow earlier running of next year's new power units, comprised of a 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged engine plus enhanced energy recovery systems.

Testing aside, the penalty points system for drivers that was first mooted last season has been approved.

The idea, which follows the system used for road licences, will see a driver who picks up a total of 12 points banned for one race.

Points will stay on a driver's licence for 12 months and the amount picked up will vary from one to three, depending on the severity of the offence.

Elsewhere, the FIA has adopted in its Sporting Regulations the procedure whereby any driver gaining an advantage by leaving the track being forced to hand the place back.

It's also been confirmed that each driver will be handed an extra set of tyres for use in the first 30 minutes of P1, in order to encourage teams to send cars out on track.

Returning to 2014's new power units, only five will be available to each driver during the course of the season. Replacing an entire power unit will mean that a car must start a race from the pitlane, while changes to individual components such as turbo, MGU or energy store will mean a ten-place grid penalty.

At present, eight engines are allowed per driver per season and there will also be more stringent use of gearboxes next year: up to six consecutive races from the current five.

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