Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, 2013

Missing Young Drivers’ Test “a blow” for Mercedes

2013 F1 season

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Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, 2013Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn denied Mercedes’ punishment for conducting a three-day test ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix was lenient.

The team were given a reprimand and banned from participating in the forthcoming Young Drivers’ Test.

“I think [losing] the Young Driver Test is a penalty,” Brawn told Sky. “I think any perception it’s not significant is not correct. We had quite a comprehensive programme planned for the Young Driver Test so it will be a blow to the team and things that we were hoping to try or develop with the young drivers we will lose.”

“I wouldn’t say we’ve got off fairly lightly, we got off with a… I would say we’ve got a reasonable penalty that is proportional to the situation,” he added.

Mercedes ‘not the only one at fault’

Brawn believes the FIA’s International Tribunal verdict showed Mercedes were not exclusively at fault in the row: “I think the Tribunal looked into all the facts involved,” he said.

“We won’t pretend we were faultless on our side but I think they also acknowledged there were faults on other sides as well and they all accumulated to give us the situation we had. I think the fact that they established that we’ve acted in good faith, we’ve not attempted to get any performance advantage, and the fact that we believed we had permission on two levels to do the test, were all taken into consideration.”

He added the FIA’s agreement Mercedes did not act in “bad faith” was significant: “That was critical for Mercedes as a company and critical for me as a person.”

“Formula One is a very competitive business, we know that. But I think acting in good faith is a very important point. That’s why I was keen that we actually presented the facts in front of an independent tribunal in order to establish what had happened so that judgement could be made.”

Any benefit “unintentional and low-level”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Any benefit Mercedes gained from running the test was negligible, Brawn added: “On the question of advantage I think it would be wrong for me to say that you can run a car around a track and there not be some consequence of that. But as we explained in the Tribunal that was an unintentional and a low-level consequence.”

“We didn’t go to that test to improve the reliability of the car. We went to that test to contribute towards Pirelli’s development with the tyres. That was the prime objective of that test. Everything else was a consequence of doing that test.

“So I think it would be futile to deny that when you run a car around a test there’s a consequence: you can’t deny that. But it wasn’t the objective of going there.”

Brawn said the case showed there needs to be an established procedure for clarifying matters relating to the Sporting Regulations as there is for the Technical Regulations: “I think there’s a lesson learned for all of us that obviously what in the end became the issue was a judgement of the interpretation of the regulation, the law of the regulation.”

“And both ourselves and Charlie [Whiting] with the FIA and the FIA’s head of legal department had a view on that regulation which didn’t prove to be correct, at least in the eyes of the Tribunal. We’ve got to look at that procedure to make sure that ourselves, Pirelli or whoever’s involved doesn’t get caught out by that in the future.”

FIA tribunal “a very good step”

Yesterday’s hearing was the first for the new International Tribunal created by FIA president Jean Todt. Brawn said having the chance to explain their case before it was “very important”, and praised the new panel.

“I’ve been to these things before and I must say this is an occasion when I’ve felt the independence of a tribunal was clear to see,” he said. “I think that’s a very good step in terms of the way the FIA is moving to set up this independent tribunal.”

“Edwin Glasgow [the QC who chaired the hearing] is a man of impeccable reputation and character and I think having him as president of the tribunal gave us confidence it would be fair. It doesn’t mean it would come out in our favour but at least it would be fair.”

“And I think Formula One in particular, and anyone who’s involved in this sort of thing, can look at the Tribunal and say that it is independent and it will seek the facts and give an independent conclusion as to what happened. If that involves some criticism of the FIA as well as other parties then that’s what will happen.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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44 comments on “Missing Young Drivers’ Test “a blow” for Mercedes”

  1. Ross Brawn must think we are idiots

    1. @celeste, he would say that, wouldn’t he? I believe him, though. As a Hamilton fan, I didn’t want them to be punished so I’m happy the penalty is no harsher. I believe him but then I also want to believe him. Would I still believe him if I didn’t want to believe him?

      It would be interesting to know about the poll Keith is running how many Mercedes (or Lewis, Nico) fans vote “too soft”, and how many Red Bull/Ferrari/etc. fans vote “too harsh”.

      1. @adrianmorse What would it be a blow?

        The Young Driver Test is to test the driver, not the car.

        They tested the car, that´s a fact, and they gainned from it, that´s another fact. It´s not because I suport X or Y that i think like that.

        It keeps bodering that Mercedes and Ross Branwn keep understamating mine and the F1 fans intellegence.

        1. The Young Driver Test should be about the driver, but in the past few years it has been quite a lot about the teams, too, if not more so. For the small teams, I had the feeling they sold the seat to the highest bidder, just to make money out of a driver they had no serious intention of racing.

          For the large teams, it has been about getting through a program first, and giving a young driver a chance second. Case in point is McLaren running Gary Paffettt, although Red Bull looked to be seriously evaluating drivers as well.

          They tested the car, that´s a fact, and they gainned from it, that´s another fact.

          Well, they tested tyres with their car. The objective was not to evaluate their car.

          1. @adrianmorse
            You are right, let me try one more time:
            They runned the 2013 car, and they learned about the car. They used the current driver line up and both driver learned from it.

            Care to explain me how this is fair to the other teams and drivers?

          2. @celeste, it isn’t fair, which is why Pirelli should have properly invited all teams to do such a test, and be open about it. Of course, the test would never have happened then, and we would have been spared this mess.

          3. @adrianmorse exactly. And since it isn´t fair Mercedes, Hamilton and Rosberg, Pirelli and Whiting should all had been punished, not this joke; and the fact that Brawn is saying that it is a “blown” it just plain disgusting and shameless.

        2. @celeste – have a look a pictures from last year’s young drivers test and check out the array of sensors on each car. Do you honestly believe the young drivers test isn’t about the car? The teams will learn more running their own test programme than Pirelli calling the shots. Of course you want to test with your race drivers so that’s the positive and negative to it.

      2. Well I’m a Hamilton fan and I did vote “too soft”.

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      21st June 2013, 21:56

      Not at all… he means “a blow of candles when you make a wish”

      1. @celeste The fact is that the Pirelli test was to test tires. LH and NR got car time, but not with the opportunity to try different things, new components, etc. Pirelli engineers ran the test, not Mercedes. The Tribunal deemed that Mercedes and Pirelli didn’t do anything underhanded, and Merc’s penalty is that they won’t be able to try out new components on their cars at a YDT. That’s how it is fair to the other teams and drivers. If you want to keep insisting that the Tribunal is wrong and Mercedes and the drivers learned more than the inevitable consequence of putting in car time that any driver on any team would have gleaned, then that’s fine and that’s your opinion. I personally believe Mercedes and Pirelli are of higher integrity than that, or else they wouldn’t have even gone to the FIA to begin with. I highly doubt they would go to Whiting, and then also try to make it a Mercedes test. Can you tell me what Pirelli would gain by risking advantaging Mercedes, especially when they openly went to Whiting for permission?

  2. “I think there’s a lesson learned for all of us that obviously what in the end became the issue was a judgement of the interpretation of the regulation, the law of the regulation. And both ourselves and Charlie [Whiting] with the FIA and the FIA’s head of legal department had a view on that regulation which didn’t prove to be correct, at least in the eyes of the Tribunal. We’ve got to look at that procedure to make sure that ourselves, Pirelli or whoever’s involved doesn’t get caught out by that in the future.”

    I think that’s indeed the most significant thing we’ve learned from this.

    1. just not sure they would have had to make it a tribunal. Would be better to have had that cleared up front!

  3. The only one losing out is the driver.

    1. Traverse (@)
      21st June 2013, 21:42

      Ultimately, any team would trade a young driver test for F1 race wins. If the data accrued from the “pirelli test” helps Merc to win more races and develop their car further, they won’t give two hoots about any young driver (after all, talented youngsters are ten-a-penny).

      1. Since no data was accrued from the Pirelli test, the test will not help Merc win more races and develop the car further, but in fact more than just one driver will lose out from the YDT ban. The whole team will lose out because at the YDT they could have accrued data.

        1. they already won 1 race and a podium since then.

          And both FIA and Brawn admitted they gain data from the private test.

        2. Pirelli sent a detailed package of information to Mercedes after the test,which Mercedes was to share with other teams.They didn’t.So,they did accrue data;and then they cheated by not sharing that data with other teams.Therefore,they are cheaters,and you r wrong.The end.

          1. LOL

            Pirelli sent a detailed package of information to Mercedes after the test,which Mercedes was to share with other teams.

            Oh ya? Got proof of that detailed package? And why, if there was a detailed package that was to be shared, wouldn’t Pirelli just share it? And if such a package exists and Pirelli hasn’t shared it, why aren’t the teams outraged with Pirelli? Since when does any team share any data with other teams? Wouldn’t Pirelli expect that they couldn’t expect Mercedes to share data with other teams so the onus would be on them to reveal their findings to the other teams?

            Your comment is so off the ‘Mark’ in so many ways.

    2. I agree: what the FIA have done seems reasonable enough from the perspective of punishing the team, but from a the persective of the sport it is merely preventing a young driver the opportunity to test (that said, they have tended to just use Sam Bird who is their test driver).

      I think preventing them from running in FP1 & 2 for two race weekends would be a better punishment, as that hurts the race drivers and not the young drivers.

  4. Traverse (@)
    21st June 2013, 21:21

    This was a fantastic result for Merc. They clearly benefited from the test and some poor young, budding drivers will shoulder the pain…pure genius!!

  5. This guy is the gift that keeps on giving …

  6. BTW Keith, I love the title and associated picture of Ross, lol!

    1. Was just about to comment that the picture of Ross is perfect for the title of this.

      1. Traverse (@)
        22nd June 2013, 4:27

        the picture of Ross is perfect

        Ross “Gorgeous” Brawn. Look at his spectacles and his hedgehog barnet…he’s beautiful!!
        For some reason I’ve always liked his lower lip…

    2. I must agree as well. Somehow I can see the Ross troll face meme! “Bann from testing with young drivers having had our drivers test… Sure I´ll take it, problem??”

  7. F1 lawys and the sport defrauded me, i was buying a ticket for Spa but after this, i won’t give any of my money for this show…

    1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
      21st June 2013, 23:36

      You defrauded your self by deluding your self into believing that what happened deserved a massive penalty with out having the full facts at your disposal.

      1. I’m sorry, but we have two diferent visions about one thing. I’m on the side, that when a rule is broken you should get punished like wise, obsviously you don’t share this opinion, i’m glad we are not the same….

    2. Just commenting on F1 bloggs like this one adds to it’s value.

      1. I really couldn’t understand what did you said…sorry

  8. The young driver won’t lose much if they give him one practise session in silverstone :D

  9. I didn’t read anywhere of a financial penalty ( nor would I agree with one) But…. How much did Mercedes just save on this year’s budget by not running their ” comprehensive ” young driver programme this season? Funny that a penalty inadvertently aids a team financially. funny that they suggested it that is! Obviously Nico and Lewis are just doing their jobs and have been caught up in all this through no fault of their own. Anyway there is something every year like this for the media circus to get it’s teeth into. It doesn’t change the fact that no matter what happens or who has the most points at the end of the season…. Alonso is the best driver out there!

  10. fact learnt from this article : Mercedes improved their reliabiilty from the test as a consequence

  11. The biggest blow is for someone like Sam Bird. Had absolutely no hand in the secret test, but lost a YDT opportunity.
    Collateral damage is fine, as long as an innocent man suffers, but not so if a company (who weren’t completely innocent) gets fair penalty for the unfairness it has caused?

  12. I’m not sure the other teams are too disappointed with the outcome as this opens up a lot of opportunities for them. Expect to see the other big teams pushing the regulations more than they would have done without this mess. How can F1 punish them in a way that hurts them when Mercedes got away with testing.

    I actually think this will hurt Mercedes over the season as they have to make sure they are “clean” for the rest of the season. The other teams will probably feel that they can get away with some infringments.

    Not good for F1 this. I expect full blown testing to be back in F1 within three years.

  13. Aside from giving young drivers a chance to test, what use would the YDT be to the teams at the end of this season? If the regulations are changing so dramatically for 2014, wouldn’t there be very little carry-over to next year, and therefore less of a penalty to Mercedes?

  14. It’s usually a sign of a penalty being too soft if the convict himself thinks that it’s reasonable.

  15. Missing Young Drivers’ Test “a blow” for Mercedes

    He says with a huge smile on his face.

  16. i dont beleive anything brawn says. never did when he was at ferrari either. he is a spin doctor, a lieing poletician, but not a sportsman.

    1. Don’t worry he thinks you are great ……hang on he doesn’t know you…….

  17. The QC who chaired the tribunal seems to be universally praised as very bright and of high integrity. He heard all of the facts and presumably felt the “hearing” was conducted fairly. He (as a non racing man) and the tribunal were either ignorant of the impact of losing a YDT or it was the right punishment based on the full facts. The rest of us can’t really have a true view but for what is worth I think they got off lightly – especially the drivers.

  18. By the way @keithcollantine, I like how you chose a picture of Brawn that shows what most of seem to think of how much of a blow that was to Mercedes, well done.

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