Mercedes have benefited from illegal test, rivals allege

3 Comments

Mercedes’ rivals say the team’s form since their illegal test for Pirelli in May shows the benefited from the information gained while testing.

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said: “Two wins out of the three races after they tested, so the conclusion is easy. It is just facts. Two races won out of the three.”

Boullier denied Mercedes’ upturn in form might be a coincidence, saying: “I don’t think so. If we were racing on coincidence in Formula One I would know it.”

Mercedes had severe problems with tire degradation earlier in the season. At the Spanish Grand Prix the W04s qualified on the front row of the grid but fell to sixth and twelfth during the race. Pole sitter Nico Rosberg finished 68 seconds adrift.

Mercedes won the first race after their test, the Monaco Grand Prix, on a track which is less punishing for tires. Lewis Hamilton placed second in Canada, another track where the hardest compounds are not necessary. But their victory at Silverstone, one of the toughest tracks on the calendar for rubber, served to indicate the progress they have made.

Before the test Mercedes had scored 72 points in five races and were fourth in the constructors’ championship. Since then they’ve scored 99 points in three races, more than any other team, and overtaken Ferrari and Lotus in the points standings.

Asked if the Mercedes would still be winning races had it not been for the test Rosberg said: “For sure, yeah. Definitely.”

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Leave a comment

Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

Follow @KyleMLavigne