The significant reductions Formula 1 teams have self-imposed on testing have made little difference to the development of the cars, and were a principal factor in convincing Michael Schumacher to return to the sport, according to the seven-time World Champion.
The teams introduced a ban on in-season testing at the beginning of last year and agreed to a combined four-test preseason schedule in 2010 in order to further reduce costs. Schumacher, returning to the sport as a race driver with Mercedes, after a three-year break, said that the advances teams have made in development has reduced the need for huge testing programs.
"Honestly, the analysis and the efficiency of how the team can operate with all the new technology that has developed in the last three years has allowed me to reduce test time quite a lot," he said. "I don't think it is necessary to do as we did in 2005, almost 100,000km of testing – which, by the way, didn't bring us almost anything. Here I don't know how many we have done, – five, maybe 10,000km, and we have achieved much more."
Schumacher added that the ban on in-season testing had made a return to the sport, with a less-hectic schedule, far more appealing.
"The 19 races that I do this year will involve much less traveling and days away from home than I used to do," he said. "I used to do the race, then I would be one or two days at home, then I would be testing for three or four days, then I would be home for a day, then I would be off again. This was much more regular than it is now.
"Now you have 19 events but you can organize yourself very easily. I think in the end I have a better balance now than I did in the past. It is probably part of the reason why I feel happy to make a comeback."
Schumacher added, however, that he shared the frustration of his rivals at the poor weather that has hampered the last three tests at Jerez and Barcelona.
"I think none of us have honestly, with the rain and the bad weather in Jerez, none of us has [had enough running]. And unfortunately today, again, we are losing very important track time," he said. "Although it might rain occasionally during the year, for the development of the car you would prefer to have consistent circumstances."