Formula 1 teams are set to hold an extra pre-season test in 2014 to allow more track running for the new 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engines.
Teams have been lobbying for an early first test, but although it is impossible to bring forward the first test significantly, a proposal is on the table for a fourth pre-season test to be added.
"There is what looks like quite a mature proposal to have an additional test session [pre-season] which we are completely in favour of," Renault Sport F1 deputy managing director Rob White (LEFT) said. "I don't know what the format would be or where it would be, but we're of the assumption that it will be an additional session for all teams and it's not optional as everyone will want and need it."
There had been suggestions of a V6 engine test being held this year, but according to White it would be too late to schedule such an early debut. This is because of the lead times required for the finalizing of the design specifications and the manufacturing of engines.
"It's a debate that has now more or less timed out because the timing now is that the cars will run for the first time in the new year," said White. "Let's take October as an example, just to work out what the consequences would be. If you were going to test in October, then you would need to build the engines in September.
"The difficulty is that the pieces necessary to build those engines will have had to be put into manufacture, say, three months before then and because you would want them to be race-intent type pieces, by May we'd needed to have decided exactly what spec they would be. Presumably, we would have wanted to gather some experience on the test beds of those pieces before going to the track, so they'd need to exist now or very shortly.
"We're still designing pieces and some pieces that we're designing are not yet made. On the current project timing, it's just not possible to put a representative engine in the car by October."
White admitted that there is an element of risk in the engines not running until the build-up to the 2014 season. But with Renault set to have at least four teams running its power units, there will be the chance to maximize track running. During this period, validating the engines rather than attempting to find changes to make will be the key, although all three engine manufacturers will have done vast amounts of dyno testing before this.
"Even if it was safe to assume that there would be no significant engine or power unit work to do, which is probably not the case, then all of the teams would be busy in characterizing and confirming the design assumptions or gathering data to amend," he added. "It's going to be a very intense pre-season in 2014."