• 2010 Season

Substitute drivers allowed to test in 2010

ESPNF1 Staff
December 17, 2009 « Kamui Kobayashi signs with Sauber | »
Michael Schumacher was forced to test a two-year old Ferrari in preperation for his aborted comeback in 2009 © Sutton Images

The FIA has changed the rules to allow new drivers, who are substituted into a team mid-season, to test prior to making their debut.

The in-season testing ban meant some drivers had to compete in their debut race with very little experience in an F1 last year. Jaime Alguersuari, who replaced Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix, entered his first race weekend having only completed a handful of straight line tests.

The new rule will allow any driver who has not raced in F1 for the past two seasons to take part in a single day of testing, two weeks either side of their debut race. Under the new rule Michael Schumacher would have been allowed to test a 2009 Ferrari before his proposed - but later aborted - comeback to replace Felipe Massa. Luca Badoer, Romain Grosjean and Kamui Kobayashi would also have been eligible for a day in a 2009 car under the new rules. The tests are also subject to the following conditions published by the FIA.

"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.

"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 penalised by a reduction of one day from the pre-season track testing days available in the following year."

The FIA has also imposed a restriction on straight-line testing, reducing the allocation of days from eight to six in one season. The teams will be allowed to swap one day of straight-line testing for an extra four hours of testing in a wind tunnel on request.

Among the other regulation changes for 2010 is a review of the qualifying format to accommodate the expanding grid. Now the slowest eight drivers will be knocked out of the first and second sessions instead of the five per segment in 2009.

The penalty for using more than eight engines in a season was also tweaked. Now if a driver breaks or is over his allocation and uses two engines in one race weekend, he will get a 10-place grid penalty at that event and receive the same punishment at the following race.

There has also been a shake up to the way the FIA International Court of Appeal (ICA) operates with teams now able to nominate judges. It says this should "further enhance transparency and public confidence in the workings of the ICA".