FIA rules for Young Driver Test a blow for Mercedes and Ferrari

Formula One World Championship

The FIA has bad news for Mercedes and Ferrari this week, in the wake of suggestions that next week’s young driver test at Silverstone might have been extended by a day, becoming a four-day affair.

That may have opened up the test to Mercedes, who were only banned from the ‘three-day’ Silverstone test as a penalty for the test-gate scandal.

But even though the FIA has confirmed that Silverstone will remain only a three day test, behind the scenes it is rumoured the German team continues to push for being present for at least one day, on safety grounds.

“It cannot be,” director Toto Wolff is quoted by Speed Week, “that we have to go to the Hungaroring with a tyre we do not know.”

Lewis Hamilton thinks the ban, especially after the test was opened up to race drivers and car development, is not fair on Mercedes.

“People don’t appreciate how big a negative it is for us not to do the test,” said the 2008 world champion. “We shouldn’t be in this position in sport, but that’s the way it is.”

Team chairman Niki Lauda, however, said that Mercedes will have to accept the situation.

“We will do everything we can to have a car in Hungary that can cope with these tyres,” he told Osterreich newspaper, “even without testing.”

The blow for Ferrari, meanwhile, is that the Italian team was set to count on the services at Silverstone of lead driver Fernando Alonso, who had earlier ruled out appearing just to test tyres.

But the FIA announced on Tuesday that race drivers can only test next week “provided the purpose of them doing this is to test tyres for Pirelli”.

The governing body will have an observer on site “to ensure” that changes made to the cars whilst the race drivers are at the wheel “are exclusively related to the tyre tests”.

Asked if Alonso will still be attending, team boss Stefano Domenicali told Marca: “Right now we do not know as it depends upon the programme that we can do there”. (GMM)

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