Friday, June 21, 2013

Swing And A Miss

The facts of this dispute are fairly straight forward:

  • That Mercedes did undergo a private test during the season with a current car; and
  • That the regulations specifically prohibit testing during the season with a current car.
Frankly, anything else is muddying the waters.

Mercedes may suggest that they undertook this test at the behest of Pirelli -- the fact that a third party enticed them to break the rules does not remove the fact that the rules were broken.

Mercedes may suggest that Ferrari conducted a similar test, but with a 2011-spec car -- the rules are quite clear that once the car is two seasons past, owners can do what they want, where they want, however frequently they want, so this objection has absolutely no relevance to the dispute.

Mercedes may claim that they gained no advantage from this test.  While this may possibly be so, there is A) no reason to believe this, and B) to conduct such a test and not gain an advantage from it proposes a stunning level of incompetence on the part of team management.

That said, the penalty of being forced to miss the young drivers test at years end is not so much punishment for the team as for Formula 1 as a whole, since there will be correspondingly less seat time available to groom future talent.  It is a joke.

Pirelli's argument that there needs to be a mechanism to test tire changes is a valid one, however the whole issue of messing with tire compounds in-season is another issue.