Should Mercedes be allowed into Young Drivers’ Test?

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Last month an FIA International Tribunal banned Mercedes from participating in the forthcoming Young Drivers’ Test after they had been found to have illegally conducted a test using a current car with Pirelli.

Mercedes accepted their punishment at the time. But since then the FIA has altered the plans for the test which led Mercedes to enquire whether they might now be allowed to join in.

Their request was denied. But does the FIA’s change in plans for the test mean that Mercedes’ ban should be reconsidered?


Following the tyre failures seen at Silverstone Pirelli announced it will introduce new tyres at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The FIA decided to open the Young Drivers’ Test to more experienced drivers so teams could test them.

Mercedes then suggested that as the purpose of the test has been changed on safety grounds, they should have been allowed some degree of participation in it. They were one of the teams to experience a tyre failure at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton added that keeping Mercedes from the test was unfair: “I don’t know if people fully appreciate how big a negative it is for us not doing the test.”

“We’re going to go to Hungary when other people have run different ride heights and tested different pressures, and got their car ready for a long run. We won’t have any of that information, so we’re going to go into it blind.”

Hamilton added “in a sport everything should just be equal, you shouldn’t be going to races like that”.


Several of Mercedes’ rivals believed their original punishment of exclusion from the Young Drivers Test – before it had been opened up to race drivers – was too lenient.

Christian Horner pointed out that Mercedes’ Pirelli test involved their race drivers who originally would be ineligible to participate in the Young Drivers’ test: “It is always preferential to test with race drivers rather than test drivers.”

Mercedes’ original punishment as handed down by the FIA International Tribunal banned them participating in the “three day young driver training test”. The only means of getting around that would have been to extend the test to a fourth day, which may not have been feasible at short notice.

I say

Regardless of whether it would have been possible to extend the test to a fourth day to help Mercedes, I don’t think it was necessary to do so.

There are two cases for letting them in: on grounds of safety and fairness for the competition. On the former, as Pirelli are using a product which is substantially similar to that which was used last year, I think the input of ten teams will be sufficient and an eleventh is not needed. Pirelli have said in the past they only need one car for tyre testing, providing it is of current specification.

On the question of fairness the change in purpose of the Young Drivers’ Test under which race drivers may now participate has ironically served to make Mercedes’ penalty a more fitting punishment than it was to begin with.

In principle it is clearly not ideal for the sports’ governing body to change an area of the rules under which a team has a pending punishment – that practice has an obvious potential for abuse. But in this case it was more important the FIA used the opportunity presented by the Young Drivers’ Test to give Pirelli the chance to evaluate their new tyres.

You say

Do you think Mercedes should be allowed to have some degree of participation in the Young Drivers’ Test? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should Mercedes be allowed to participate in the Young Drivers' Test?

  • No opinion (2%)
  • No (69%)
  • Yes (28%)

Total Voters: 494

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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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145 comments on “Should Mercedes be allowed into Young Drivers’ Test?”

  1. Well, the question is, if they are allowed to partake in the changed format of the YDT, what would be left of their punishment? It would mean that Mercedes goes unpunished for something the FIA considered a punishable offense.

    Regardless if one personally thinks Mercedes should have been punished or not, the facts stand that the FIA considered it a punishable offense.

    1. @mmmracer – I assume that an alternative punishment would be given if then were allowed to take part in the YDT.

      1. But that’s not what Mercedes are trying to do. If they said “just give us a different punishment, but we feel under the current conditions, we should be allowed into the YDT”, it’s a completely different picture. What Mercedes are trying to accomplish is weaseling themselves out of punishment altogether, under the guise that the test has been changed.

    2. @mnmracer nice one. Nice point of view

    3. Good point raised @mnmracer. I guess that if they should be allowed, it should be only for a day of testing the tyres – to make sure they do not make any catastrophical errors in setup.

      But you also helped me answer the question posed and vote, because really it can hardly be for safety reasons, when the team will have all of the friday to test those tyres anyhow. The only reason to let Mercedes into the test would be if its deemed that there should not have been a punishment in the first place (as its now pretty clear that a test was needed to get Pirelli onwards in their development).

      1. to make sure they do not make any catastrophical errors in setup

        I seem to recall HRT having a penchant, in the past, of having no pre-season testing whatsoever, and even missing out on the first practice session, and not deemed to pose sufficient safety risk. Granted, Mercedes cars put more stress on their tyres, but still, given that the tyres are being made more durable, not less? Humbug.

        Definitely not a fan of Hamilton after this weaseling.

        1. Yeah, @hircus, the teams are well capable of sorting that kind of thing out in their simulator and during the friday. That is why I voted that No, they should not be allowed in.

          The whole “tyre test” thing during the YDT is more to do with teams who had wanted it to be more of a punishment to mercedes and getting equal opportunity to do a long run with their cars than safety of any sort. Because really, the tyres used last weekend showed that they ware safe enough, and Pirelli is not going to learn an awfull lot from this test.

          1. The whole “tyre test” thing during the YDT is more to do with teams who had wanted it to be more of a punishment to mercedes and getting equal opportunity to do a long run with their cars than safety of any sort.

            So you think that changed a punishment handed out by an independent tribunal because other parties with a vested interest think it should be harsher is OK? Because otherwise all I can see in your post is arguments FOR allowing Mercedes to take part in the test.

          2. Hm, please point me to the part of my comment where I actually say I think that is ok @fluxsource.

          3. @bascb You’re correct – I read that into your comment when it wasn’t there. Sorry.

            Although on a separate topic, I would note that tyres used in Germany are not the ones that are going to be used in the future.

          4. No problem @fluxsource, but thanks for the reply :-8

            I mentioned the tyres used in Germany being save, because it shows that Pirelli is able to make save tyres (if they keep on the safe side of caution), so that there should not be an issue with one of the teams getting to learn them only during FP before the race.

  2. I voted No.

    I feel for the guys, but just try to work harder on FP at Hungaroring.

  3. On one end i think the whole farce around the testing they did was unneeded and only caused by petty behavior around FIA and paddock. As a result i never felt the “punishment” was too lenient. The teams that did should get their heads out of their posterior and see the issue there was.

    And look what happened, all heads have been extracted and suddenly there is a tyre change, testing etc, just what Pirelli needs to keep making the right tyres.

    So, should they be allowed in the YDT… i would say yes, mainly because everyone else is testing this new tyre as well. As a penalty they should not be allowed to bring new parts, where the other teams can. Result would be that all teams know the new tyres and Mercedes has not tested their upgrades. Seems fair and reasonable.

    Fact that we are still crying over the “illegal test” shows that up till now FIA, Teams and press have not learned from the race at Silverstone. A tyre manufacturer NEEDS regular testing with CURRENT (not 2 years old) material to keep making useful, safe and interesting tyres. So give them the option and stop crying over the fact that they arranged for a test in THEIR benefit outside the FIA.

    1. As @keithcollantine points out though, there’s really very little that Pirelli would learn from 11 teams running that they won’t learn from 10 teams running. So there’s no real justification for allowing them to test based on safety or anything else to benefit Pirelli – they’ve already addressed this by allowing race drivers to run the YDT anyway, so I can’t see how you can say they haven’t learned from Silverstone. In fact, since Silverstone they’ve taken large steps to address those issues – firstly with the tweaks to the YDT, and by allowing Pirelli explicitly to conduct tests with current spec cars, and then by tweaking the rules for next year to bring back in-season testing. And of course allowing Pirelli to make emergency changes to the tyres in the space of one week.

      I can’t see how they could do much more for Pirelli at this point. Allowing Mercedes to participate in the test wouldn’t be for the benefit of Pirelli, it would be for the benefit of Mercedes. And out of everyone on the grid, they’re the ones that deserve it the least. They’re currently under sanction for carrying out/participating in a test which was found to be in direct violation of the sporting regulations. In short, they broke the rules, and they’re being punished for it. There are no reasonable grounds for removing that punishment

      1. The FIA admitted joint culpability in the “secret” test, what punishment are they undertaking ?. Mercedes non inclusion in the YDT was more an attempt to level the playing field than a punishment, the changes to the YDT format mean that MB will in effect be massively disadvantaged for a perceived advantage that has been shown to be negligible by the GermanGP , despite the 2 wins in more favourable conditions they still suffer the same basic problem of overheating rubber.

      2. I absolutely agree with this point of view @MazdaChris

        1. @hohum I absolutely agree with you.

  4. Providing the FIA enforce the rule which prevents a race driver from developing the car, then I do believe Mercedes should be allowed to do at least one day of the test, but only if it’s to test the new tyres.

    1. I agree. They should be allowed one day with tyre testing for ‘their safety’.

      1. palmerstoneroad
        11th July 2013, 9:51

        if they are safe for 10 teams they will be for 11

  5. No. You said it exactly the way I feel it, Keith: “On the question of fairness the change in purpose of the Young Drivers’ Test under which race drivers may now participate has ironically served to make Mercedes’ penalty a more fitting punishment than it was to begin with.”.

    The tyres, as we saw in the German GP, are now safe with the Kevlar, so Mercedes doesn’t need to necessarily test them on safety grounds. And the cars that where performing relatively well at the beginning of the year are back where they belong. They did their work right in the first place. Want an example of improvement? Red Bull. They didn’t start the most competitive. Now they are up there. Not as dominant, sure, but still front runners. Mercedes should focus on doing the same now.

    1. Agreed.

    2. I agree totally. I voted no, I agree with Keith and what he said as well as what @sergio-perez has just stated completely. Hamilton, as much as I have supported him in the past makes no mention of how unfair it was to do the test Mercedes did in Spain in the first place to boot.

      1. I also agree with Keith et al. Now the punishment fits the crime.

    3. Agreed, as much as I want Merc to succeed, I think the penalty is now more fitting.

  6. Mercedes already had one tyre test with their current car and drivers. Allowing them to test again would just serve to make the situation more unequal.

      1. But they didn’t get to compile data when they helped Pirelli test tires. Now if Mercedes isn’t allowed one day of the three (for example) then it is everyone else that has the unfair advantage and Mercedes is doubly punished for trying to help Pirelli and F1 all along.

  7. I voted no. Mercedes was punished for their test and a change in what the consequences mean should not change the verdict, in my opinion. Pirelli and Mercedes could have gone a different route to test tyres, heck, Ferrari did two and will get to run at the YDT, because they were in a safer zone doing those tests.

    Mercedes even suggested this punishment, while Pirelli was making a case for a tyre test. If they deemed a tyre test as such a necessity, they could have waited for a joint test. Surely, they imagined the YDT would not see tyre testing, but you can’t turn around and say ‘we didn’t know it would impact us this much’ and ask for another punishment.

    If anything, we should be glad the FIA finally shows some consistency.

    1. I agree. Mercedes suggested this punnishment and the IT agreed to it, now they cannot cry about the change to the test!

    2. @npf1 How were they in a safer position? They also used a current race driver and also planned before FIA made this change to run their 2011 spec car in another Pirelli test with 2013 parts. They said this openly, this should be evidence that the prior two test may also have had 2013 parts due to the fact that it shows it can be done. They probably also said this because after what MGP went through they felt they could; Ferrari believe 100% that MGP used 2013 upgrades at the tire test and since that wasn’t what they were punished for, Ferrari now feel safe to let the world know without repercussions.

      This does not show consistency at all, if you read the evidence Ferrari’s test seems even worse in areas than MGP. They picked the location paid for it (not pirelli) and thus made tests that seemed under the guise of Pirelli, but more like Ferrari tests.

      I still don’t think MGP should be allowed to test, they already did their safety test, now every one else is doing theirs with current cars as well. All I can say for MGP’s sake is I hope they did test parts and didn’t just help Pirelli or this will hurt the chance they have at the WCC and maybe a WDC.

      1. @magillagorilla

        How were they in a safer position?

        They ran a 2011 spec car and the FIA let them get away with it. In light of the FIA’s decision to ban Mercedes from the YDT, Ferrari did a better job at following the rules. Nobody has protested Ferrari either. I’m not saying they’re saints, but they did do a better job.

        And with consistency I meant on this decision. The FIA banned them from the test, and Mercedes is still banned from the test. If you want to see some inconsistent decision making, read about Michael Schumacher’s race bans in 1994 or Ferrari’s barge board debacle at Malaysia 1999. Regardless how I feel about the involved parties, those were some messy times.

        1. I’m not sure why I keep calling the FIA and the IT in the same breath, but I think it’s got to do with my migraine.

        2. @npf1 Not sure you get what I’m saying, there is more too it than just the spec car year. The issue with Ferrari’s runs are the fact they still used a race driver (which is banned), went beyond 1000km, and paid for the entire event and used a Ferrari test track that is heavily disclosed for a tire test. So unlike the MGP test, the Ferrari test are in a far more controlled environment and there is little to no transparency. So what if they used a 2011 car, they still broke the rules and other teams did protest Ferrari, once again I’m not sure if you keep up with F1 news but the FIA gave them a pass.

          The 2011 car can fit 2013 parts which is basically using tire test for update testing. If MGP really wanted to test parts and not get in trouble they clearly could have used the 2011 car. It seems more likely they wanted to help Pirelli and found it fine to use the 2013 car due to FIA not reaffirming its own rules. Hence why I question how there is consistency, upholding a decision isn’t consistency it’s just standing firm.

          1. @magillagorilla I missed the other teams protesting, but then, I do follow F1, but I’m sure you and I both don’t always remember everything. Let’s not go into the shadowy realms of meta-communication, that typically goes wrong online. Let’s not go into semantics either.

            I can’t find any rules about race drivers being banned from testing, and usually race drivers do engage in filming track days. Running a 2011 car is still legal and the FIA, the teams, nor you and I can prove what Mercedes gained by their test, let alone what Ferrari gained from using a car with a EBD and a pushrod suspension instead of a pullrod. Pirelli provided them with tyres, where as all teams can get demonstration tyres if deemed unnecessary by Pirelli.

            Again, I’m not saying Ferrari is innocent or that they haven’t bent the rules. I’m saying the FIA didn’t punish them; thus they, for the FIA, did a better job at following the rules.

            We barely hear about teams running 2 year old cars to gain information on new parts either. Ferrari used to test endlessly, so I’m pretty sure if they could gain a single tenth doing so, they would test endlessly using a F150 all season long, but they don’t. I think the benefits of using a 2 year old car are highly over-estimated, especially since we’re all in agreement Pirelli shouldn’t have to test using a 2010 car and amongst all the tyre talk, a hot topic is certain 2013 cars not dealing well with the current tyres. A 2011 car might as well run into those troubles, not being designed for those tyres, rendering the outcome of new part testing worthless.

          2. @npf1

            Running a 2011 car is still legal

            The age of the car is not a factor, any whether it conforms significantly with the the current, last years or next years regulations. Whatever changes Ferrari have CHOSEN to make, you’d have a hard time arguing the 2011 car doesn’t conform significantly with the 2012 regulations (considering the minimal amount of change in the regs), which makes the use of a 2011 car illegal.

          3. I think the Exhaust Blown Diffuser is a major change, though, as it influenced the entire exhaust pattern of the majority of the cars between 2011 and 2012. It would probably render the rear bodywork of the F150 useless for Aerodynamics testing as well, thus not gaining them an advantage.

            If the FIA didn’t pick up on the use of a 2011 car, my guess is Ferrari would have a substantial defense.

          4. And my guess would have been that given the go ahead from the FIA lawyer that Mercedes would have a substantial defence, but not everyone sees it that way.

            Fair point about the diffuser though. However, that is essentially only one are where the car wouldn’t conform to the 2012 regulations – the rest of car would still significantly conform.

          5. @fluxsource
            You are too easily dismissing the massive effect of the EBD there. For all effects and purposes, it makes it a completely different car.

          6. @mnmracer The size of the effect is not relevant. The comparative performance is not what the regulations control – they dictate the level of compliance. After all, how difficult would it be to “break” an EBD?

          7. @mmracer, @fluxsource, lets not forget though that because of the secrecy surrounding the test, no one can know for sure whether Ferrari actually used the EBD (and the bodywork optimised for it) during that test. For all we know they could have stuck their current exhaust configuration and similar bodywork on and tested that!
            Its the chassis that is a 2011 car, but not all the bodywork (FWs were mentioned before, but really its unclear what can and cannot, and we have no information on what they actually ran on that car)

          8. @bascb @mmracer Absolutely. And judging by the way the many have assumed the very worst about the Mercedes test, why are they not doing the same about the Ferrari ones?

            Couple this with the fact that Ferrari didn’t not take the opportunity, when protesting the Mercedes test, of declaring their own, and it’s looks very suspect. And yet the FIA (without any significant investigation) declared that there was no case to answer…

          9. oops, should be @mnmracer

  8. No. As you say, the other teams are enough to decide whether the tyres are safe and work well. Mercedes will have to get used to them, that’s the penalty they deserve.

  9. I do rather wonder where Hamilton’s sense of fairness was while he was doing a secret (or private, or however you want to term it) test for Pirelli.

    End of the day, Mercedes got off very lightly, and it was them that suggested the punishment in the first place. There’s no real safety grounds for them to take part in the test, it’s simply a matter of fairness. Well if you break the rules you should suffer consequences which put you at a disadvantage, shouldn’t you.

    They made their bed, etc..

    1. +1. If Hamilton wants fairness , he should have thought of that back at their 3 day test

      1. agree. i didn’t know he was such an hypocritical.
        He and his team said that there was no gain during the barcelona test, but now he is saying that it would be a big disadvantage no to be in the young drivers test.!!!
        Where this guys come from. They are defenetly not the smartest of the class.

    2. it was them that suggested the punishment in the first place

      There lies is the Answer. You suggested it in the First place so get used to it. The Current situation is much more fair than Mercedes conducting secret/private Test. So No They Shouldn’t be allowed to Test in YDT.

    3. @mazdachris Rightly said… Did the cat caught Lewis’s tounge when he was doing the ‘secret’ test in that black helmet… I mean no tweets nothings about it and now since FIA is allowing it, he is voicing his displeasure….

      1. Mercedes may have suggested their own punishment at the Tribunal but that doesn’t mean they were going to get it, and if in some people’s opinion they got off lightly, Mercedes isn’t to be blamed for that…they were not the ones actually handing themselves the penalty…the Tribunal was…so blame them, not Mercedes.

        The test was private, but it wasn’t secret…Charlie Whiting gave permission so Pirelli and Mercedes proceeded. The fact that Mercedes penalty wasn’t draconian indicates that they had some legs to stand on and to me also indicates that FIA/F1/Pirelli knew all along there were safety concerns but they just refused to use it until tires actually started to explode.

        Mercedes didn’t get to share tire data in May, and now they won’t get to test with young drivers, nor to improve the car itself, nor to actually compile data on the revised tires that will be brought out for the YDT, so in that regard I think the pendulum has now swung and it is all the other teams that are unfairly advantaged over Mercedes.

  10. Hope it rains next week, it would be really funny…! LOL

    1. Maybe NCAP needs to test cars outside as well. What gives if they can’t test sufficiently, right?

  11. No – they tested for Pirelli and now other teams will test for Pirelli – the objective is for Pirelli to learn something and deliver tires to all teams and it’s not to have all teams understanding the new tire.
    And backtracking a penalty that was too lenient in the first place would be wrong.

    1. That test was with different tires for potential future uses, not this season.

  12. I’m rooting for Mercedes this season, I really am, but I think they shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the Young Drivers’ Test. They tried to bend the rules and I don’t blame them for trying, I don’t call it “dishonest” or “sneaky”, but they went a little too far. Their penalty was a bit lenient and now it seems very fitting. Surely they will be at a disadvantage in Hungary but that’s precisely the point of this exercise. It’s supposed to be a punishment. Is it unfair? Personally I think it’s a good outcome.

    1. No bending at all.. they clearly broke them.

      1. @jeffw3048 That’s pretty much what I said: “they tried to bend the rules but went a little too far”, i.e. they broke them. I didn’t realize it was hard to understand

        1. For me the fact that their penalty was lenient indicates that FIA/F1/Pirelli knew the test was necessary and just refused to instill the word ‘safety’ until it got to the point where tires were actually exploding. So I think if Mercedes isn’t allowed a day where they can actually compile data on tires, unlike at the Pirelli test, then the pendulum will swing the other way and all the other teams will be the ones unfairly advantaged.

  13. I voted no, even though I didn’t think the original penalty was too lenient. If there had been a fourth day, then I think they should have been allowed to run that day, but not within the first three days.

    I’m very annoyed by the fact that they will have to run in Hungary with zero knowledge on the new tyres, but the political fallout from being allowed to run would be so huge (and continue throughout the season, as long as they are competitive), that they are better off starting one race at a disadvantage.

  14. Simply No…
    Merc did the testing on the current car with drivers in Spain. Now others are doing it.

    Personnally i dont think what Merc recieved is a Penalty. Now other Teams are just equalling the Milage.
    That means they were not penalised at all

    1. Good point!

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      10th July 2013, 19:28

      I agree to an extent but Mercedes didn’t get to test the tyres that they were going to use in the following race whereas the other teams will.

      1. Then why so much secrecy? why the vip treatment? why the black helmet? were they testing for their turbo engine? would that not still be unfair to everyone else? Too many questions with out answers to comment properly. But they should not get another test to enjoy for the rest of the season, every time they come out swinging, that could be due to what they learned on their private test, what then? This year there has been visible improvement in Mercedes, right after the test it looked better for their tyres, lap times and so on.

  15. Firstly, I think the test is unnecessary, it should be a normal Young Drivers’ Test with young drivers and Gary Paffett. I tend to believe that FIA, Pirelli and teams are now overreacting, there were no tyre explosions at Nurburgring and many have said that the Kevlar-belted tyres would have prevented the events at Silverstone, too. In my opinion, the young drivers are the ones, who need those extra miles most, not Pirelli or Mercedes.

    As for Mercedes, I think they shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the test. What would the “substitute punishment” be then, suspending Roscoe’s paddock pass for one race?

    1. I don’t really think this is about tyres or Pirelli either @girts, to me its more giving in to complaints from the teams that the penalty was too lenient on Mercedes, as it now gives them much what they wanted – to be able to do a full 3 days of testing with their current car and drivers too.

      The guys coming off badly here are really the young drivers (well and Gary Paffet, although he might well be driving as much as Pedro dl Rosa likely will to help their team with developments), not surprising, when we take in account that from next year onward the FIA and the teams will just ignore these guys anyhow (dropping the YDT altogether), its more like pushing the 2014 testing rule forward here.
      It really does highlight the plight of how we are supposed to see these guys getting into the sport when they have hardly a chance to get any experience in an F1 car now.

      1. I don’t think dropping the YDT next year means ignoring the young drivers. There is other in-season testing being allowed which is WHY they are dropping the YDT, so teams will have more chance than they currently do, to test young drivers.

        As to Mercedes being still disallowed from the now revised YDT, and that being a reaction to teams’ dismay at their perception that Mercedes got off lightly I would just say this…the Tribunal made their decision…that’s what the Tribunal was for. Just because the teams didn’t like the punishment they doled out to Mercedes shouldn’t mean that they can now try to apply pressure to the FIA or F1 to punish Mercedes even further. The Tribunal made their decision and it should end at that and I hope that Mercedes isn’t being excluded because the teams think they deserve further punishment. At least real court doesn’t work that way, but then FIA is not real court.

        1. I don’t think dropping the YDT next year means ignoring the young drivers. There is other in-season testing being allowed which is WHY they are dropping the YDT, so teams will have more chance than they currently do, to test young drivers.

          – the reason they brought in the YDT in the first place @robbie, was that apart from the teams who got their budgets from selling testing days No teams were running any up and coming drivers after they dropped the 3rd car on friday rules.

          I love your optimism, but when one considers that some teams (McLaren) don’t even ran talents during the YDT as they were – the time when Paffet was seriously considered a young driver would have been 2006/2007 – I do not share the same optimism. Also looking at the eagerness of some teams to put their regular drivers in for this “YDT” now shows up and coming talents are not too big a priority of most of them

  16. I have voted ‘No’. The entire argument of Mercedes and its drivers that it is unfair to prevent them from testing the new tyres before the Friday Practice in Hungary clearly proves that they have gained unfair advantage over the entire competition in terms of 2014 spec tyres. Let other teams enjoy a fair amount of justice for this unfair test Mercedes had.

    To Mercedes, your case is already closed. You may protest it in the Court of Appeals, if you want. But then the situation can only worsen for you. Take rest and come prepared for Hungry err Hungary.. ;)

  17. No. The punishment was already laughably light. This brings balance back to the force.

  18. I completely agree with the majority (69%) who voted no.

    It’s certainly not completely fair to the German team, that other teams now have the opportunity/duty, to do tyre testing for Pirelli at the 3-day-long YDT. But all the same, their own private test wasn’t fair either.

    Right after the tribunal made their decision on Mercedes’ punishment, I thought it was too lenient. Now, after the recent tyre troubles, I’m inclined to say, that they’ve been punished enough.

  19. Authority of the FIA cannot be undermined.

    1. I’m glad the FIA is sticking to its guns, but it’s not as if the FIA in its entire form is now a beacon of authority. They would have had a better case if not one of their own (Whiting) said Mercedes could probably test.

      1. Charlie and the FIA lawyer

  20. I would let them in, but only on the condition they use it to test drivers that have never had F1 experience – what this test is intended for in the first place.

  21. what’s the point of the ban if they get allowed into the test?

  22. No

    Hamilton said:
    “in a sport everything should just be equal, you shouldn’t be going to races like that”

    But they were the ones that tested illegally and took advantage from it, they were one step ahead everybody else, they were the first team to create a difference, all the other were equal. Mr Hamilton, this is just some poor piece of argumentation.

    Regarding safety issues, I believe the data from the other teams will be enough, so they don’t need to me worried about it.

    1. Exactly right. Being banned from the YDT is supposed to be a punishment, ie, it’s supposed to be unfair and put them at a disadvantage. That’s the whole point.

    2. they were the first team to create a difference

      No, Ferrari were, with their two in season tests. With a car that DOES significantly conform with this years, last years or next years regulations.

      NB: Conforms with the regulations, not has similar performance.

      It also has not been established how much benefit Mercedes gained from the test, so how on earth can you determine what level of punishment would be proportional? And given the Silver Arrows performance in Germany, it would appear that the private test didn’t help them very much at all…

      1. Don’t forget that in Germany pirelli changed tires, and Mercedes at the end of the race were the ones that showed to be more dissatisfied, and following your thinking process you can see that the Mercedes performance got better after the test until this last GP, so it sure means that they benefit from it.

        Regarding Ferrari, if the situation is considered to be the same, punish them as well

        1. @johnmilk I’ve already explained in another post that you cannot establish what benefit was gained from the test by the last three race results. You might as well pick numbers from thin air. So “it sure means” nothing.

          And yes – Ferrari should be judged by the same rules.

  23. Zantkiller (@)
    10th July 2013, 13:09

    I voted yes because I feel every team should get to Hungary with at least some running on the new tyres.

    I’m not saying they should have 3 days worth of running but at least some.

    1. Mercedes already got some running on the tyres to be run at Hungary, Both in the Barcelona test & during Friday practice at Montreal.

      1. No, the tires in Barcelona were prototypes. The tires you’re speaking of at Montreal were the tires run in Germany for the race.

  24. there has to be a penalty for deliberately breaking the rules. to allow them to attend , under whatever excuse, would bring the sport into further disrepute.

  25. Nope.

    Mercedes got an advantage because of their not-all-ok-test and has been reaping the rewards since then.

    The earlier the other teams get their test while Mercedes do nothing the better.

    I´ll get the feel of an equilibrium. If I was at Mercedes I wouldn´t feel that we won fair and square after that controversial test.

    1. @boost what benefits? They had the best car coming into Monaco every analyst had them pegged to win before light of the test was seen. Silverstone was luck due to cold weather but also a fast track that didn’t cause tons of tire wear. However, if they knew so well what they tires would do, then surely they would have been able to see past the Hamilton disaster. Also we all quickly forget the Ferrari’s testing and rhetoric after the Tribunal shows they too have done unfair things and got away with far more than MGP. I would implore you to inform us of the exact benefits MGP gained, cause I saw a return of the same in Germany. I already said MGP should be able to test on Safety grounds cause they did a tire test for safety as it was claimed, thus why do another, but I would also say Ferrari should be allowed either.

      1. Of course I can´t give you proof of MGP´s advantage but it´s also hard to prove they didn´t get no advantage at all when the WCC points MGP received for the first five races being 18,4 points/race without wins and then 25 points/race from Monaco and forward including two wins.

        It´s my opinion that they must have gotten some advantage from the test which was a breach of the rules. It doesn´t have to be connected to tires. It would be useless spent time for the engineers if they wouldn´t find something that makes the car better during the test.

        On the other hand, if they didn´t get an advantage during that test (just thinking that should offend their awesome engineers :) I would still say no to Mercedes doing the YDT as it was nevertheless an illegal test.

        1. Citing points gained before and after the test is effectively irrelevant. Unless the cars received no upgrades that would have produced without the tyre test, and they raced at the same track in the same weather conditions, and comparison based on points or positions is of zero use. Everyone is assuming that the tests were aimed at reducing tyre wear, so measure by that variable only. And on that basis, we’ve had one race where tyre wear was irrelevant (Monaco), one where it was better (Silverstone) and one where it was just as bad (Germany). Pretty inconclusive.

          As to the use of a test where they didn’t benefit performance wise, as ruthless as these teams are, why is the idea they wanted to help Pirelli out so alien? My understanding (and this is by no means fact) was that Pirelli met the costs (hence no bodyguards for Lewis/Nico, and the plain helmets) so what would Mercedes have to lose? (Oh, yeah – YDT)

          As it was, I think Mercedes DID have something to gain – influence over next years tyres. But that’s not an unfair advantage, but a just reward for being one of only two teams willing to put some effort into helping their tyre supplier.

        2. @boost Once again you repeat what has been answered by me, they were going to win Monaco with or without the test. Keith’s analysis explains this in further detail. I would love for you to explain how they could test that week and have a 6-8 day turn around to get parts to the cars for Monaco that would help them win. Also as I said and @fluxsource echoes there is a big kink that you seem to have not read, Germany. Germany showed us they still have the same tire issues prior to testing. The car is easily a top 5 contender every weekend based on the drivers more than the car, also it’s funny how us use the stats to help make a biased argument. Let’s forget about Australia where Nico who was run top 3 dropped out half way due to electrical issues. China was a suspension failure, so to act as if MGP won by cheating and their result prior didn’t show any form is misinformation.

          Also explain the Ferrari tests being fair in retrospect to MGP. I find it funny that people don’t believe MGP wanted to help for safety reasons, considering Lewis had a tire explode (delaminate) during practice before the Pirelli test.

      2. @magillagorilla agreed… talking about benefits is irrelevant. It’s about rules.

  26. I’ll go with the minority and say yes on safety grounds. This isn’t about Pirelli gathering data – this is about the teams making sure that their cars can run the new Pirellis safely.

    The punishment for Mercedes was to miss the Young Drivers Test. The moment they allowed race drivers in, it wasn’t really a YDT anymore, even if they still call it that by name.

    1. I don’t think the ban should change because the test has changed. If they had gotten a race ban for Germany or Hungary, I don’t think the FIA would have suspended the ban to let Mercedes acclimatize to the new tyres.

      1. @npf1 But that’s missing the point. You’d want Mercedes to get significant test running (not race running, which is what a race ban would hit) before they actually race the tyres.

  27. if Merc are to get another testing permission then other teams should be given that extra 1000km run first

  28. Legally speaking, Mercedes ARE allowed to to test. Their punishment was a ban from the 3 day young drivers test. Any testing on new tyres with race drivers is NOT part of the young drivers test, therefore Mercedes are permitted to take part.

    I’m still of the opinion that Mercedes should have only got a reprimand. The Tribunal admitted that the test was undertaken in good faith. Every comment that has suggested reasons that it’s too lenient have relied upon people not believing that Mercedes acted in good faith, or not believing the level of benefit they gained. I would have assumed that rational people rely on more than just blind belief when deciding punishments.

    Regardless I don’t see how the FIA can’t stop them attending the tyre testing. That wasn’t their punishment.

    1. @fluxsource

      Any testing on new tyres with race drivers is NOT part of the young drivers test

      I think if you look at how the FIA has changed the rules you’ll realise that’s not the case.

      1. Absolutely correct, oversight on my part.

        However, the principle of the point still stands. The test from which they were banned is now a different test to that which being carried out. As mentioned in the article, the severity of the punishment has now changed. Would Mercedes have appealed the decision had they know these details? My understanding is that the opportunity for appeal has now passed, therefore are unable to respond to this change of situation.

        I am not a lawyer by any means, but I would imagine that an independent court would struggle to uphold the ban in its current form given the changed circumstances.

        1. @fluxsource I would agree with that assessment. The moment it stopped being a proper YDT, it really gave Mercedes an opt-out. I am surprised Mercedes didn’t push it though (even when the FIA notified them of the change).

  29. They should be allowed only one dry day with their designated young driver. On safety grounds.

  30. 2 thoughts:

    1) Didnt they get clearance from Charlie Whiting? I would have thought that Mercedes would have known the proper person (or people) that could authorise this testing (and Charles obviously is not one of them) so they played dumb and claimed they had done their due diligence. The fact (or aledged as I dont know) that Lewis tweeted saying he was elsewhere during the test AND that he wore another helmet design (maybe one of Vettel’s LOL) shows they thought this thing was questionable at all stages.

    2) You would hate to see a young gun miss out on an opportunity to show his F1 ability based on this penalty!!

    I agree that they needed to help Pireli with their tyre issues but Silverstone proved it did not help and I think the Mercs have won 2 races since – a competitive advatange no?? If they used the 2012 car then no issue, but as I have said before, I think Ross Brawn does his homework and has most of us covered in the grey matter department!

    Penalty?? I really dont know to be honest………………………..

    1. @garns didn’t you just contradict yourself you say Silverstone shows that the test didn’t help, but then say it did based on two wins. One of the wins was predicted by most people before the test was even heard about. Then you have Germany where they had their same tire woes before the Pirelli test. Also they probably still would have been in trouble for using the 2012 car.

  31. Wasn’t last weekends race on an interim tyre that nobody had run on before the weekend?
    Were they moaning about the tyres safety when Hamilton was on pole?

    They aren’t concerned about safety, they’re concerned about a sporting disadvantage, which frankly they’ve invited.

    Redbull, Ferrari and Lotus will put enough load through the tyre at Silverstone to rule out any safety concerns.
    Merc will have nothing to worry about on “safety” grounds.

  32. Even though I like mercedes , there is no question of them participating . There has to be justice .

  33. My other concern with this is that it wasn’t the FIA who handed out the punishment. It was an independent tribunal. Regardless of whether you think the punishment was lenient or not, the FIA have made changes which effectively change the severity of the punishment. How can that be allowed?

    1. @fluxsource As has been well documented, the FIA are not changing the YDT to punish Mercedes further. This was done to give the teams meaningful time on the new style tyres to be used the rest of the season. Mercedes are banned from the test, but the IT never imposed anything on the FIA to maintain the nature of the test (Because they can’t, as they’d have been in trouble if Silverstone happened).

      Mercedes suggested the punishment, that’s what they’ve got. The way it’s turned out has meant that Mercedes have received a worse punishment than they expected, but that can’t be blamed on anyone as no-one knew what was to happen..

      1. @keeleyobsessed I wasn’t suggesting that the FIA have done it to deliberately disadvantage Mercedes. Simply that the tribunal had independently decided a level of punishment that was appropriate, and that level of punishment has now been changed.

        Whether or not Mercedes suggest the punishment is also irrelevant. Mercedes simply made a suggestion that the IT agreed with.

        Additionally, any tyre testing with race drivers falls outside the rules of the YDT, therefore the IT ban does not apply. Mercedes shouldn’t even need to ask permission.

    2. I am glad with how this punishement turned to be finally.
      I have the same concern. This modification to the YDT should have been part of the judgement. Doing it afterwards is not normal and the punishment (too light at first imo but thats not the point) has changed of nature and in total opacity (outside of the tribunal decision). Dangerous, as Keith said.

  34. “We’re going to go to Hungary when other people have run different ride heights and tested different pressures, and got their car ready for a long run. We won’t have any of that information, so we’re going to go into it blind.”

    moans Lewis, while violins play in the background.

    Get out there on Friday morning then. You know, that practice session when you just sit in the garage instead of giving paying fans something to watch. Even if the track’s “green” and you need to save tyres, and all the other lame excuses, it’s still the same Hungaroring that you’ll be racing on, so far more relevant than driving around Silverstone.

  35. Changing the rules and purpose of the test have increased Mercedes’ penaly, after the fact, without additional process. So it is not in fact fair to MB. What if they got a fine in dollars and then later were told they had to pay the same figure but in GBP? Allowing them back into the (new) test, however, would swing the imbalance the other way. The FIA have made a mess of things here.

  36. NO!

    what ever Mercedes say now (we need to test for the safety of our car) is bull! They are far more interested in developing the performance of their car then the safety part. Pirelli has more then enough teams to test, mercedes not being there for them is not going to change anything.
    They had their secret test, shut up mercedes and go sit in the corner and whine.

    It shows you after a secret test of cheating they are still struggling with their car after germany, they suck.

    1. It shows you after a secret test of cheating they are still struggling with their car after germany, they suck.

      @mpmark Or perhaps it shows you they were telling the truth when they said it was a Pirelli run test and got very little data from it? See how the same piece of evidence supports two different views – the dividing line being simply gut feeling. Not really something to base a punishment on, is it?

      1. I suppose you think Ross Brawn has a kind heart to spend “useless” money to only help Perelli and learn nothing from the test? yes this is why it was “hush hush, why there was no FIA representative on site to watch what they were testing, why the race drivers wore standard helmets? I could keep going.

        Did they not reluctantly mention in the inquiry that they “did” learn something?

        you need to live in the real world, there is no such thing as kindness in F1, it is a brutal battle to be on top. Every team will try to cheat if it gets the chance. Mercedes got caught this time, they need to pay…enough said.

        1. @MarkM And yet again we have another post assuming that their own view is the only one.

          Yes, some benefit was gained. That – all sides have acknowledged – was unavoidable. What hasn’t been established is how much benefit. Nor what Mercedes motives for joining the test were. You – like many others – have jumped to a conclusion without a shred of evidence.

          There have been reasons offered by Mercedes and Pirelli as to why the drivers wore helmets not in their usual colours. Whatever your beliefs on the matter, there has been NO evidence of any other reason. As for the “hush hush” nature, Ferrari have already set the precedent that tyre testing with Pirelli is private. Twice.

          As for living in the real world, I do, thank you very much. I’m well aware that it’s cut throat community, striving to be the best. But I also remember a number of teams offering support to Williams after their pit fire. So perhaps, while your Machiavellian view could be correct, it’s certainly not the only possibility. And without evidence, hard to support.

          The punishment handed to Mercedes – what they need to “pay” if you like – was missing three days of the YDT. Not missing a tyre test. Enough said.

  37. They want to be in the TEST? Wait, first they got away with a punishment that was so lenient. They should be happy they got away with it, many were expecting a lot worse
    They gained a clear advantage and won 2 races after the test, now they want to be in the test. Someone give em a kick up the backside. Shouldn’t have cheated in the first place
    If they were allowed, it would be an illegal tyre test and their punishment was a reprimand. Which would be fundamentally wrong

  38. No. The kevlar structure has been used for the past two years, the teams know how it works and it shouldn’t be a problem as far as safety is concerned.

    The other point that Mercedes is raising is the fairness of the test. I’m actually surprised to read Hamilton’s view on this, because they were the first to gain an unfair advantage. Now everyone will catch up. It seems fair, to me.

  39. Of cause they shouldn’t.
    They, themselves proposed not to take part in the young driver test. They got the penalty that they wanted. Now the conditions around that test has changed, but who knows, it might end up raining anyway. It was a gamble that they took, and they lost, so far…
    What Merc seems to be forgetting is that they were punished for doing something illegal. A punishment isn’t about evening out the advantage. It’s supposed to be a punishment.
    A bank robber isn’t just told, if he would be so kind, to put the money back in the vault again.
    Because then he would try again tomorrow, and the day after that.
    They have to make sure that it doesn’t pay off.
    The punishment at first, was just that, telling the bank robber to put the money back.
    Now Merc actually has to pay for their crime.
    That they then start to talk about fairness is just ridiculous.
    Is it ‘fair’ to give a driver a drive through for speeding in the pitlane? “but I only gained two tenths, now I have to pay with 20 seconds! sob sob sob”, yeah well, don’t break the rules next time kid.

    1. Excellent comment. I agree, a punishment has to be that, not a “leveller”.

  40. I voted NO… Clearly Mercedes has their test and lets not forget, the test was for 3 days, and we still are not clear if they tested their own parts…

    FIA declared the upcoming test after informing Mercedes that they would not be allowed to participate and Mercedes accepted the same in the right spirit, don’t know why Lewis is so much troubled and vocal about it now, when he was mum during the Merc secret test…

  41. There should be a 4th day, and Merc should be allowed to test on 1 day since they were one of the teams to have a blowout.

  42. In my opinion, when MGP asked whitting if they could do the test, they knew it was illegal to do it, so they wanted some sort of legal loophole in order to gain an unfair advantage. They also knew the furore it’d cause thus they never told anyone and even tried to hide the identity of their drivers, I remember reading LH tweeting that he was in Miami. They new they were doing wrong but they also knew they had an email they could use to cover themselves.
    So for a company that would go to these length’s to gain an unfair advantage to then come out talking about the sport being unfair is just unbelievable. But again it’s not really MGP, it’s LH. Mr. I’m better than Murray. All he did was swing a racket, I actually had to master tires, turn a steering, learn how to break n build a F1 car all by myself.

  43. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    10th July 2013, 17:45

    Hamilton added “in a sport everything should just be equal

    That makes their Barcelona test unfair for the others. If Hamilton thinks it’s unfair for them not to be on the YDT, it’s just making it even
    And about safety grounds, the tyres have been changed for good safety now, so I don’t se how Pirelli could bring a tyre that it’s unsafe only for them. Impossible, or it’s fragile for all or it’s safe for all, and that is not going to depend on Mercedes being banned this time or not.

  44. Brawn is absolutely shameless

  45. Yes if the rest of the teams get 3 more days alone with Pireli

  46. James Goulding
    10th July 2013, 21:26

    Yes, because otherwise Vettel is going to run away with the WDC again. The FIA should use its discretion in cases like this, to tip the balance against overly dominant teams. By harshly punishing Hamilton and Mercedes, they’re going to destroy most of the interest in the last seven or eight races. Bravo!

    1. That would be a terrible reason to let them in. The decision should only be made on what the fair thing is to do, not on how it might affect the championship.

      1. Based upon the FIAs track record, I wouldn’t rely on that too much…

      2. the worst reason indeed.
        Anyway I don’t believe Vettel will “run away with the WDC” again… 2012 was not exactely a ‘cool ride’ for him.

        1. @spoutnik Oh, but Vettel is running away with it already. While Alonso and Raikkonen have scored roughly the same points as they did at this time last year, Vettel has score ~60 points more compared to this time last year.

          And given that development is split between 2013 and 2014, I think the other teams will find it difficult to outspend and outdevelop Red Bull.

          All that said, perhaps this is what Christian Horner wanted all along…

          1. the game is far from over I think. Let’s see what the new tyres can do. RB has indeed a relatively comfortable amount of points but who knows?

  47. Yes, because the tribunal cleared Mercedes.

    1. No, they were declared guilty. And they were guiven a pnishement. If they allow them to participate that will made the process a joke

      1. The process is already a joke. We have an independent tribunal, who hand down a punishment, but the non-independent teams lobby the non-independent FIA to increase the effect of the penalty after is has been handed out.

        This situation is a bit like someone being offered a plea bargain – plead not guilty and you might get off, or you might get 2 years. Plead guilty and you will get 6 months. So fine, to avoid the risk of 2 years, they give up the fight, and admit the guilt. Then AFTER they are handed their 6 month prison term, they’re told “oh, due to strange weather conditions in Australia, we’re redefining a month to be 120 days long”. Why bother having the independent tribunal in the first place? Just leave it up to the FIA to come down on Mercedes like a ton of bricks in order to distract attention away from the fact the all this was caused by lack of clarity, poor planning and a total absence of internal communication in the FIA.

  48. People keep claiming that Mercedes already had their test, but they had a tyre test for the benefit of Pirelli and discussed this with the FIA.

    They didn’t know which tyres they were running. So it wasn’t a “test” in the normal sense.

    They proposed the YDT ban because they probably felt a punishment was needed to put an end to the ridiculous whinging from some (one) teams(s) and the YDT isn’t that important anyway.

    Now the test is changed into a YDT plus tyre test. Mercedes should at least be allowed to enter in the tyre test part.

  49. I voted no opinion.

    I think they should be allowed to test and have the punishment changed to something else (i.e. loss of points, fines, restricted race weekend practices, etc)

  50. Voted no, but not without thinking about the safety factor. What Keith said about having all the other teams testing the tires should provide enough data for this test makes sense to me. All teams, even Mercedes, will benefit from the YDT.

    Mercedes took a calculated risk by doing their test. They essentially requested their punishment and received it. Even though the YDT test has now changed some for reasons of safety, the punishment should still be served. This is the only hope of satisfying those who thought the punishment was too lenient. That way we should all be able to move on with the rest of the season. If Mercedes is allowed back in, we will all never hear the end of it and rightfully so.

  51. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    11th July 2013, 6:30

    Would I like them to be able to take part? Yes.

    Do I think they should be allowed to? No.

  52. I vote yes just to see Horner throw up his liver when he hears the announcement.

  53. Mercedes was banned from the Young Drivers Test. Forthcoming test is not in reality any more young drivers test. So FIA should let them participate this time and postpone the ban for the next occurrence of the YDT. That would be fitting, appropriate and within the letter and spirit of the verdict.

    1. @zvoni

      FIA should let them participate this time and postpone the ban for the next occurrence of the YDT.

      If you really paid attention, you’d know that there’s no YDT from next year. So the question of the ‘next occurrence’ doesn’t arise here. Do we have to wait for the next batch of rule changes in F1 to punish Merc?

  54. @MagillaGorilla

    No mate I dont think I contradicted myself but maybe I should elaborate.
    When I said it didnt help that the Mercs tested based on Silverstone my “they” referred to the whole F1 field- the drivers and teams as a whole and they did not benefit at all- the issue got far worse. It did not refer to the Mercedes F1 team alone.

    My 2 wins comments did refer specifically to IMO the Mercs got better from the test. If your “predicted win” mean Monaco (??) I thought the test was a few weeks before, not after.

    No real F1 fan (IMHO) can argue that the Mercedes Formula One Team COULD NOT benefit by this test. Any other premise I dont like , but thats F1 and thats fine. As I said before, RBR would if they saw it…………. but Ross is TOO much smarter!!

  55. Mercedes should participate, And the rest of teams should not be allowed to. To follow the rules is for dumbs.

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