Mercedes lobbying for relaxation of test ban

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Mercedes has approached the FIA to ask for a relaxation of the ban from participating in the Young Drivers’ Test which was handed down by the International Tribunal last month.

The team were banned from participating in next week’s test at Silverstone for illegally conducting a three-day test with Pirelli using their current car ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

After the ban was announced the FIA changed the rules governing the Young Drivers’ Test in response to the spate of punctures seen during the British Grand Prix. Race drivers are now being allowed to attend to test the new tires which Pirelli will introduce at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Now Autosport reports Mercedes is urging the FIA to let it attend at least part of the test so it can also evaluate the new tires.

Toto Wolff said it was important Mercedes should get a chance to test the new tires on safety grounds: “When it is about safety it would be good if all teams are clear whether they work on their cars.”

“But it is up to the FIA to decide. Safety is the priority for the FIA and I am sure they would safeguard that it is the same for everybody.”

Mercedes proposed the test ban as a suitable punishment during the tribunal hearing. Several of their rivals subsequently complained the penalty was too lenient.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.