Mercedes reprimanded and excluded from young drivers test!

Mercedes can count themselves fortunate after being given a reprimand and ban from the young drivers test after the Silverstone weekend. The whole situation was a comedy of errors, but I personally don’t believe that Mercedes didn’t intend to gain an advantage, their actions during the test indicate that; in my mind. Using race drivers and having them wear plain black helmets while seeking ‘privacy’ stinks of trying to gain an advantage, if it was all above board and authorized, why take these steps to hide the identities of their drivers? I don’t buy the lack of security during the test days excuse, it’s not like Mercedes could not afford to get some security during those days!

The FiA has to take a large chunk of the blame, Charlie Whiting gave the verbal go ahead after some conversing back and forth with the FiA legal team. who basically said that because it was a Pirelli test that Article 22.4 didn’t apply. The tribunal of course found that article 22.4 can not be superseded by any Pirelli test, the tyre manufacturer are not above the sporting regulations.

I believe that the tribunal might as well have decided to not punish Mercedes at all. Missing the young drivers test is insignificant as Mercedes had 1000km of testing with their race drivers that can give much better feedback and push harder. Mercedes shareholders have been putting rumours out there that they’ll quit the sport if they are punished ‘harshly’, while Pirelli who were also reprimanded suggested they might not return in 2014 leaving the sport without a tyre supplier.

The biggest issue is the lack of general testing during the season, which is why this scandal arose in the first place. Thankfully next year in-season testing will return pending ratification by the FiA.

There will be four 2-day tests after Grand Prix weekends with Barcelona and Silverstone being slated for two of the four test sessions. The testing ban was stupid to start with, a change to the proposed system should have been implemented instead of a ban, the additional costs would be minimal as the teams and all the equipment are already at the circuit, another stupid FiA decision!

I believe the decision handed down was a political one; the FiA didn’t want to lose Mercedes as a manufacturer and engine supplier, so elected to go with the softly, softly approach to punishment.

You know the thing I find most amusing, if Lewis Hamilton hadn’t switched to the German team, I am willing to bet that there wouldn’t have been a third of the public opinion supporting Mercedes!

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