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Horner: Three days of pre-season testing 'is ample'

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner sees no need to increase the duration of pre-season testing, insisting that three days of running is quite “ample” and suggesting that even two days would be sufficient.

Several drivers have argued in favor of F1 reverting to previous winter testing formats when the running amounted to six or even eight days.

Mercedes’ George Russell recently suggested that allowing teams to run two cars would help boost preparations, while Fernando Alonso feels that thre days – or a day and a half for each driver – was “a little bit unfair”.

“As I’ve said in previous winters as well, this is the only sport in the world that you do one day-and-a-half of practice and then you play a world championship,” said the Spaniard.

But most team bosses queried on the matter aren’t keen on increasing the number of test days, as expanded testing would inevitably add to an outfit’s costs.

“Three days is ample”, argued Horner, speaking in Bahrain on Thursday. “Look at the reliability we’ve had this morning,

“I think we had one red flag very early on that was rectified pretty quickly.”

  • Read also: FIA approves winter shutdown period for F1 teams

Horner even suggested that Formula 1 could actually make due with just a couple of test days.

“These regulations are pretty stable,” he added. “I mean, one could even argue the opposite: When you look at the reliability and so on you could almost say with the amount of races that the promoters are looking to cram in now, why not go two days of testing and go racing?

“If that does create a little bit of a more mixed field at the beginning of the season, is that such a bad thing? And you’ve got enough of the year then to sort it out.

“With the current engine, with the current regulations, I think three days is ample. Plus with what we discussed in the commission about filming days.”

Horner did concede that more test days will be required for teams in 2026, when F1 ushers in new regulations and the next generation of power units.

“’26 is a very different prospect because obviously everything is new in terms of the concept of engine and chassis,” commented the Briton.

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur was on the same page as Horner regarding 2026.

“This season is the continuity of the previous one,” he said. “I’m not sure that it makes sense to double the mileage in the winter period.

“Perhaps for the new regulations that we will come back to something a bit more robust in terms of testing to prepare [for] 2026 in the best condition. But for 2023 I think it’s okay.”

One compromise solution tabled at a F1 Commission meeting would be to increase the mileage of the sport’s ‘filming days’. Per current rules, teams are restricted to two such days during which mileage is limited at 100 km and to the use of control tyres.

“A good plan going forward is to stay where we are and maybe add a bit of more flexibility with the filming day,” said Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff.

“I don’t think we should increase costs by just having a second car or doing more days.

“I think we should give young drivers some time in the car, but obviously that’s also not very easy. So if we were to stay where we are, that’s good for us.”

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