Private Testing: no TCC restrictions for 2021 cars
Little more than a month to go to Winter Testing in Barcelona – which will be closed to the public and to the cameras, too – but we might already see some cars on track in the next few weeks.
No, not the long-awaited 2022 single-seaters: the current Regulations greatly restrict their use for private testing, as we all know. Teams will however have the opportunity to carry out private tests using their 2021 cars, which if not equipped with the new Pirelli 18″ tyres will be considered previous cars, and will therefore not be affected by the TCC restrictions.
Unlike TCCs and Promotional Events (PE), which are strongly restricted by the FIA, TPCs (Testing of Previous Cars) allow teams to take to the track with “cars which were designed and built in order to comply with the Formula One Technical Regulations of any of the three calendar years falling immediately prior to the calendar year preceding the Championship” and to “test” them freely.
For this purpose, the teams will not be allowed to use the new 18″ Pirelli tyres, but track action is always a good exercise for the engineers and, especially, the drivers – some time away from the simulations and the artificial computations.
It is safe to assume that the 2021 cars will not be completely shelved this season; already last year Ferrari carried out several TPCs and TCCs at their Fiorano circuit and also at Imola, which were especially useful for Carlos Sainz to accelerate his familiarisation process with the new Ferrari technology. Not that Charles Leclerc, more versed in the ways of Maranello, had nothing better to do: the tests were useful for both drivers and provided several valuable extra training sessions, albeit on old cars that are no longer in use
The past, however, never goes away entirely. Despite the Technical Revolution that will affect the 2022 cars, the Power Units (as well as other elements such as the gearbox) will remain more or less the same – save for evolutions of the same design or actual exceptions such as Alpine, with the team late-switching to a “Split Turbo” philosophy on their new engine before the freeze. Having the opportunity to test an old Power Unit – even pushing it to its limits – to identify the development areas is therefore important for teams like Ferrari, which has been working on an evolution of the same project for more than two years, and has already recovered a good portion of the work on the 2021 Power Unit.
We can then expect the Maranello outlet to make good use of their Fiorano circuit, returning the SF21 to the sapient hands of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
Another team that will be able to make good use of a circuit close to their factory is AlphaTauri. The Italian team has already confirmed that they will be running a three-days test at Imola at the end of this month (Jan 25-27). As previously stated, they will have the opportunity to use the AT02 on track with Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda. The ex-Toro Rosso has good intentions (and hopes) for the 2022 Championship – which aims, with the revision of the Technical Regulations and the new Pirelli tyres, to reduce the gaps between the teams and therefore increase the competition on track.
Mercedes and Ferrari will also test the 2022 cars for a Filming Day following their respective launches, a promotional event – as already mentioned – that will be limited to 100 km of running. While not being indicative of much, this will offer a first idea of the handling and appearance of these new single-seaters – although there is still time to modify (or hide) important details before Winter Testing in Bahrain, or even the season debut on March 20th.
Between the media blackout in Barcelona, the “render” launches and the “hide & seek” game typical of Winter Testing, the “real” new cars will remain a mystery for much longer – but the wait, as they say, only increases the hype for this 2022 season.
Authors: Sara Esposito e Giuliano Duchessa
Translation: Sara Esposito