FIA needs to toughen up testing inspections – Brawn

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Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has called on the FIA to keep a closer eye on whether teams are breaking the testing regulations.

Last week Brawn’s Mercedes team were banned from attending the Young Drivers’ Test after they were found to have conducted a three-day test for Pirelli at the Circuit de Catalunya.

“The FIA are now looking at the whole issue,” said Brawn in an interview for Autosport.

Brawn said rival teams “have been doing filming days at Idiada – can you explain that one to me?” Idiada is typically used for straight-line aerodynamic testing.

“The whole issue of testing has slipped over the years and now needs correcting, and we all need to have a clear picture for the benefit of everyone,” said Brawn.

“The FIA will take this opportunity to rebase all the testing and other activities that teams do, although next year will be a little easier than at the moment as it is anticipated there will be organised full test days.”

The ban on in-season testing was introduced in 2009 on cost control grounds. But the FIA is expected to confirm a relaxing of the rules for next year, allowing teams to do four two-day tests during the season.

F1 2017 driver review: Nico Hulkenberg

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Nico Hulkenberg

Team: Renault
Car No.: 27
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 43
Championship Position: 10th

Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.

With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.

Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.

When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.

But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.

Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.

Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.