Red Bull Test Threat

A disgruntled Red Bull Racing have supposedly threatened to rebel against the FIA, following Mercedes’ lenient sanction from the ‘Test Gate’ saga. Reports released yesterday suggested that the team were threatening to run their own private test, while withdrawing from the Young Driver’s Test, in a direct challenge to the authority of the FIA.
According to newspapers released yesterday morning, both Ferrari and Red Bull were considering a boycott of the upcoming Young Drivers Test at Silverstone, after they were both displeased at the minor penalty which Mercedes were given for their part in Pirelli’s tyre test. Apparently, the two teams spoke with Bernie Ecclestone, highlighting their grievances and suggesting that ‘they would take the risk of a reprimand – the punishment meted out to Mercedes – for the benefit of three days of testing.’
However, it is difficult to pin down details regarding Red Bull’s standing on the issue since they are yet to speak publicly regarding their YDT plans. Much of this story appears to be built on assumption. Boycotting the YDT is more likely than Red Bull staging their own test, as they will have realized that mitigating factors were responsible for Mercedes’ unscathed escape. Consequently, if they staged their own test, the circumstances would be entirely different – prompting an entirely different sanction. The rumors were quelled yesterday evening, as Dr Helmut Marko stated, “We of course do not commit a breach of rules,” suggesting that a Red Bull exclusive test would be out of the question. However, he did not deny that the team are considering the value of the YDT. He added; “At the Young Drivers’ Test you can barely try something as the drivers behind the wheel have a lot to learn about Formula One. Mercedes, however, have had three days of testing with their regular drivers. Even the judges stated that the team had an ‘unfair sporting advantage’.” A boycott of the YDT from Red Bull is a possibility and the likelihood is that Ferrari will join them.
Officially, Ferrari have also been relatively quiet regarding the ‘Test-Gate’ verdict, despite announcing that the team was “seething” at the lenient penalty. Meanwhile, the infamous ‘Horse-Whisperer’ has been less diplomatic in his/her approach to the situation. The mysterious blogger has ridiculed the reprimand ever since the verdict was first announced. On the day of the announcement, he/she posted, “Today we learned, that even if one is guilty and in this case that is an indisputable and verified fact, there is always a way of muddling through as best one can. One only has to suggest to the judge what the penalty should be and even better, why not make it something light like a rap across the knuckles. It is somewhat perplexing to say the least to see that the guilty party can get away virtually scot free for having derived “an unfair sporting advantage.” Ferrari and Red Bull clearly hold strong opinions regarding Mercedes’ reprimand and consequently they may not remain in Silverstone after Sunday’s race for the test. It is one way in which the two can appeal to the FIA without risk of sanction. It would certainly call into question how beneficial the test truly is to the top teams.    

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