What the sporting regulations say:

  • Teams are permitted to carry out only a very limited amount of testing with a current car (or previous year’s car) in a single calendar year.
  • Promotional events (of which each team is allowed two per season up to a maximum distance of 100km each) and demonstration events (of which each team is allowed two per season – plus any organised by F1’s commercial rights holder – up to a maximum distance of 15km using demonstration tyres) do not count towards this tally.
  • Testing can only take place with one car per team at FIA-approved sites and cannot take place outside of Europe without the agreement of a majority of the teams.
  • Ahead of a session, teams must inform the governing body of their schedule so that an observer can be appointed if deemed necessary.
  • All cars must be fitted with the standardised, FIA-approved Electronic Control Unit and have successfully passed all FIA-mandated crash tests. Cars must also comply with all cockpit and safety equipment requirements during testing as they would at races; such as the position of the driver’s head, all headrest padding, cockpit padding and ease of driver egress.
  • Between February 1 and ten days before the first race of the season, the teams are permitted to take part in two team tests of no more than four days. One of the days during these two tests may be set aside for wet-weather tyre testing.
  • Once the season is underway, the teams are permitted to take part in two team tests of no more than two consecutive days at circuits where a Grand Prix has just taken place. These tests must commence no less than 36 hours after the end of said Grand Prix.
  • Two days of each in-season test must be allocated to young driver training. A young driver is classified as someone who has competed two or fewer Grands Prix.
  • The FIA also reserves the right to organise up to 25 car days of testing on behalf of the official tyre provider for the sole purpose of tyre development.
  • All competitors must observe a factory shutdown period of 14 consecutive days in July and/or August, during which time their wind tunnels and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) facilities must not be used for Formula 1 activities.
  • Wind tunnel testing is heavily restricted, both in terms of what kind of testing may be done and how long it may be done for. Scale models used may be no larger than 60 percent and speeds are limited to 50 metres per second.
  • Similar restrictions also apply to CFD simulation work.