Formula 1 teams will be allowed to give midseason substitute drivers a day of testing from 2010 as part of rules tweaks announced by the FIA.
Under the testing ban this year teams were only allowed strictly limited aerodynamic tests outside grand prix weekend running – which meant that newcomer Jaime Alguersuari made his debut with Toro Rosso at the Hungarian Grand Prix having never driven an F1 car beyond straightline testing. The rule also led to Michael Schumacher using a 2007 Ferrari when assessing his fitness prior to his planned comeback in place of the injured Felipe Massa. Next year, any replacement driver without recent mileage will be able to have a day of running at a circuit not on the current F1 calendar.
The new regulation reads: "If a team declares that one of its current race drivers is to be substituted by a driver who has not participated in an F1 race in the two previous calendar years, one day of track testing will be permitted between the start of the week preceding the second event and the last event of the Championship.
"The following must be observed:
"Any such day may only be carried out by the new driver and may not take place on a circuit hosting a race in the current Championship year.
"Any such day may only take place within a period 14 days prior to the substitution and 14 days after the substitution has taken place.
"If a team, having declared the driver's substitution and performed the test, does not then enter an event with the new driver, the team will be penalized by a reduction of one day from the preseason track testing days available in the following year."
Among the other rule adjustments for 2010, garage space will be evenly distributed at each race – ending the previous situation where teams that had finished lower down the previous year's constructors' championship had to work in more cramped conditions during grands prix weekends as the larger garages were given to the most successful teams.
The penalty for exceeding the limit of eight engines per car per season has also been amended to ensure that any car that goes over the limit twice in a single grand prix weekend receives a 10-place grid penalty both for that race and the following event.
Further limitations have been placed on aerodynamic testing, with the 2009 allowance of eight days reduced to six for 2010, and the option to substitute any of those days for four hours of full-scale wind tunnel testing within a 24-hour period.
The revised sporting regulations also confirm that the expanded 26-car field will mean that eight cars are eliminated in Q1 and Q2 next year rather than the previous five per segment.