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DATE News (chronologically)
06/06/09
f1
Theissen wants Friday practice for testers  (GMM)  Mario Theissen intends to propose that Friday morning practice in future be reserved for reserve and test drivers.

The BMW-Sauber team boss laments that a side effect of the almost total ban on testing has resulted in the near-death of the role as a dedicated 'third' driver.

"It was overlooked," the German is quoted as telling the New York Times, referring to the fact that it is still a requirement for teams to have on standby a driver able to replace at short notice their nominated race drivers.

But, because test drivers are now becoming so out of practice, Theissen rhetorically asks: "How can you rely on him jumping in the car?  It is a safety issue."

Theissen is also concerned that stamping down so hard on F1 testing is making it hard for new drivers to come into the sport.

For instance, Ross Brawn admits that he chose veteran Rubens Barrichello for 2009 over the Brazilian's rookie countryman Bruno Senna because "there was no testing available".

That is why Theissen is contemplating the 'Friday morning' solution, thus effectively reviving the way in which BMW kick-started the careers of Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica.

The proposal would also ensure that being a third driver is again a valuable and respected role, with arguably the sport's most esteemed test driver Alex Wurz acknowledging that the industry is currently "dead".

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