Mercedes Claim YDT Penalty Pain

With Ferrari and Red Bull downplaying the importance of the Young Drivers Test, Ross Brawn has emphasized that Mercedes’ exclusion from the test is more of a disadvantage than was first perceived. The supposedly lenient sanction was dealt to Mercedes by the FIA following their role within the ‘Test-Gate’ saga, while several teams deemed the penalty to be merely cosmetic; They claimed that Mercedes still possessed an unfair advantage.
In many regards, both Ferrari and Red Bull have a right to feel frustrated. While the YDT is an important date on the calender, the event is more poignant to the drivers as oppose to the teams. Over the three days, teams will experiment with alternative packages, yet they will not be able to evaluate changes with great detail as the young drivers do not have the experience required to supply succinct feedback.
Consequently, this is where Mercedes may have gained the “unfair advantage” that was discussed in the tribunal. Having Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in the cars during the tyre test will have allowed them to make great strides in terms of car development. The sanction dealt to Mercedes may allow competitors to regain valuable track time, yet they will not be able to attain such high quantities of useful data.
As a result, Red Bull and Ferrari have recently hinted towards the possibility of a YDT boycott, to challenge the authority of the FIA and denote the inconsequential nature of the test. However, Ross Brawn has today hit back, stating that Mercedes’ detailed development plans have been significantly hampered. Moreover, the Team Principal has suggested that the repercussions will delay development paths throughout the rest of the season. “We’ve been looking at the consequences of us missing the young driver test, because we had a pretty comprehensive technical programme planned,” Brawn revealed. “We are now looking internally at how to recover the loss of the programme, and I am not sure we will. Some of the things we wanted to do are just not feasible over a race weekend, so there will be a tangible loss to the team in not doing the young driver test. It is unfortunate the spin that some teams are putting on it that the punishment is not significant.”
The test was originally created to allow young talents the opportunity and exposure in the world of Formula One, however, the test gathered more impetus when it was moved to the middle of the season. It became an opportunity for teams to test and develop new packages. An example of a development programme examined during a YDT was Lotus’ passive DRS system last season.
Brawn identified how the test has changed over the years, stating; “The young driver test itself is a slight misnomer. The original intent was to promote young drivers, but people don’t do that. Teams will be doing 1500 km of proper car testing, with full developments, running all the equipment, systems, and new parts on the car you need to acquire information. The other good thing about Silverstone is it would have been a continuation of any work done at the race, so that would have been helpful too. I think we have got a very tangible loss.”      

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