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Formula 1

Ferrari alters Fiorano test plan amid FIA rule uncertainty

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

Ferrari has altered a pre-season testing programme it intended to conduct with its 2021 Formula 1 car this week, pending a rules clarification from the FIA.

The team intended to use its 2021 car, the SF21, for a four-day test at its Fiorano test track this week with race drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz joined by test driver Robert Shwartzman.

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Ferrari is using the test, which was meant to begin on Tuesday, to help “drivers, engineers and mechanics all getting back into the swing of a grand prix”.

However, it is taking place with the 2018 Ferrari rather than the 2021 car.

Testing of current cars is restricted solely to official sessions, with pre-season testing beginning in Spain next month.

Presently the FIA sporting regulations consider cars built to rules for “the preceding year’s” championship – in this case 2021 – as a “current car”.

That means that outside of official sessions, teams can only use cars that were built according to rules for a season “falling immediately prior to the calendar year preceding the championship” at the earliest.

As it is now 2022, this means the most recent car design permitted is a 2020 car – which is what AlphaTauri is using at Imola this week.

It appears that agreement has been reached for the 2021 cars to be used in such tests because the technical regulations have changed so much for 2022, but that has not yet been formally ratified by the FIA.

Ferrari said on Tuesday it was waiting for an update from the FIA “as to how rules relating to “Testing Previous Cars,” which establish the criteria for which cars can be used in this type of test, are being applied for 2022”.

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In meantime, the team says “the decision has been taken to use a 2018 SF71H car”.

Shwartzman was set to drive on Tuesday and Friday with Leclerc driving Wednesday and Sainz Thursday. However, the change of car prompted Ferrari to postpone the start of the shortened test until Wednesday afternoon and reshuffle its days.

Test driver Shwartzman was still slated to drive first on Wednesday afternoon with Sainz and Leclerc sharing Thursday’s running before Shwartzman returned for the final day on Friday.

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