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Brundle calls for changes to test rules
By Jonathan Noble Sunday, January 17th 2010, 13:06 GMT
Martin Brundle has called on Formula 1's rulemakers to change the regulations to allow test and reserve drivers more track time.
The problem of inexperienced drivers getting into F1 cars was highlighted by rookies Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean joining mid-season in 2009, and also by Luca Badoer standing in at Ferrari for the injured Felipe Massa. All three drivers struggled to make an impression.
Brundle believes testing restrictions need to be lifted to give new drivers a fair chance to be competitive in Formula 1.
"There are two aspects to it. Firstly they're being put under the spotlight too early, they're not ready for it," Brundle explained in an interview on the stage at AUTOSPORT International. "Alguersuari has got nowhere near enough experience to cope with driving a Formula 1 car.
"It's not like running a spec Formula 3 Dallara that's pretty much set up for you. An F1 car has to be designed by the team and they're all running prototypes. To learn how to make your one work is tough. You need some experience and knowledge to do that, and getting the best out of the engineers.
"Then not allowing them to go out on the track either just finishes them off. They don't have a prayer, frankly. They have got to change that system."
He added that the situation is no better for experienced F1 racers in third driver roles, such as McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa who has not raced since 2006.
"It's the same even if you're de la Rosa or Gary Paffett, a reserve driver," said Brundle. "How are you going to keep your neck muscles up to speed?
"With Felipe Massa having his accident Ferrari needed a reserve driver, but he hadn't got any mileage, Badoer. He wasn't fast enough either, which was another problem. But how on earth are you going to keep your drivers sharp and fit if they can't go round the race track? It can't save money in the end, it must cost money."