Red Bull may defy FIA over Mercedes test row – report

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Red Bull may openly defy the FIA by holding a test of their own after Mercedes received a light punishment from the International Tribunal last week.

Mercedes have been banned from participating in the Young Drivers’ Test at Silverstone next month after being found to have conducted a test using their race drivers in May.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner responded by saying his team would always prefer to test with its race drivers rather than junior drivers.

Now a report in The Times claims Red Bull are considering boycotting the Young Drivers’ Test so they can do a test of their own. According to the report Red Bull have told Bernie Ecclestone they would be content to take the same punishment Mercedes received – the test ban plus a reprimand – in order to do the test.

The Times also quoted an unnamed Ferrari source questioning the severity of Mercedes’ punishment. Ferrari made their bemusement at Mercedes’ light sentence clear on Friday in an anonymous article on their website which said Mercedes had “got away virtually scot free” with a “rap across the knuckles”.

However The Times said Ferrari would not join Red Bull in conducting a test of their own as they had already participated in two tests for Pirelli, neither of which were disclosed at the time, which were performed using pre-2013 machinery.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”