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Five things to look forward to in 2012 (Part 5) - Mid-season testing - The return of testing this year could spice up the season

Published by Christine

F1 Pocket Handbook

In my new book Pocket F1 Handbook : Guide to the 2012 Grand Prix Season you'll find a top ten list of things to look forward to in the coming year, highlighting what may be different and better from 2011, and what could make this year in Formula One stand out. As the first race draws ever nearer, over the next week, I'll select five items from that list - expanding on them and building up to the brand new F1 season. This last of the five posts looks at some upcoming non-race entertainment.

5. Mid-season testing

For several years, F1 has featured no testing once the season gets underway. In an effort to save money and resources, the sessions that were usually held in summer have been scratched off the agenda. For 2012, a three day test mid-season has been scheduled, and that could see an extra boost in development for the second half of the year. Rather than teams being overworked trying to develop their way out of a less competitive design between races, they will have a little freedom to work on some new parts without the pressure of an impending Grand Prix.

LewisCredit: HOCH ZWEI

Now, granted, three days in May isn't going to be make or break for the season. But if we think back to 2011, teams other than Red Bull began to close up towards the dominant player as the year drew to a close. If they'd have had a bit of a helping hand with a few extra planned testing days, might that have made any difference to closing the gap? It's impossible to say, but testing this year can only help. It'll also be an opportunity for Marussia and HRT to catch up some of their missed days out on track, as by then they should have working cars. We hope!

There's also the added opportunity for fans to get closer to the cars. I'm not sure how open the testing will be at Mugello, but if it goes well, it might open up Formula One to consider more testing. I know that when we attended test days at Silverstone, we had a great time. We took pictures of lollipops and wheels and all sorts!

It's an interesting mix of pressure on the teams to make up as much lost ground as possible, and perhaps reverse any wrong design decisions, whilst less pressure on attending fans to be at a certain grandstand at a certain time. It can make for great photos and a great atmosphere, if done right. 2012 may be the testing the waters for more mid-season fun in the future.

That's all five items covered - you can find out what the other five of my top ten things to look forward to in 2012 in the Pocket F1 Handbook, available now on Amazon.

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