Formula 1 teams have edged closer an agreement for in-season testing to return in 2012. FIA president Jean Todt said earlier this year that he would like to see the in-season testing ban to be lifted, as he thought it ridiculous that teams could do no proper private running once the campaign got underway.
Team principals discussed the idea of testing at a meeting of the Formula One Teams' Association at the Nurbugring on Saturday night, with major progress evidently made in finding a plan that received support from everyone. Although the final details still need to be sorted, teams are close to approving the idea of a single three-day test that will take place before the start of the European season. No venue has been chosen for the test, but one possibility being looked at is Mugello.
In a bid to keep costs down for teams, the plan is for them to cut back on preseason days in exchange for the new test. Instead of the current 15 days they have, teams will instead have 12 days of running ahead of the 2012 campaign.
Before further plans can be made for the test, the teams now need a final calendar to be sorted out by Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA, because they want the test to be slotted in during a three-week break. Ideally that gap will come between the first flyaway races and the beginning of the European stage of the season.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who is chairman of FOTA, suggested that if the test goes ahead it will not necessarily be just race drivers who get running.
"We do like testing," he explained. "I can see the pros and cons or a return of in-season testing, and I think it is an opportunity for some younger drivers to get mileage. I don't think we necessarily have to pound our race drivers around for several days."