Christian Horner insists Mercedes should still be banned from Young Driver Test
Red Bull boss also confirms three contenders to replace Webber
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 06/07/13 6:01pm
After being found guilty of breaking the sporting regulations when they ran in their own three-day 'private' test, the ban meted out by the International Tribunal barring Mercedes' from running at the Young Driver Test ban was widely regarded as lenient.
However, it assumed a far heavier weight when the FIA announced that all of this year's race drivers - with the exception of Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg - could run in the test in order to trial the Pirelli tyres in the wake of the tyre blowouts which discredited the British GP.
Nevertheless, Horner is adamant that the ban should still stand.
"Absolutely. They've already done their three-day test. With both drivers! One thousand kilometres!" the Red Bull chief exclaimed when asked by the official Formula 1 website if, in light of the dangerous incidents seen at Silverstone, Mercedes were still barred entrance.
"It is not about justice. I think the right decision was made by the FIA to allow Pirelli a tyre test at the young driver event - and for teams to put experienced drivers in the cars to give experienced feed-back. This is a logical and correct solution. There are no winners out of what happened last weekend, so it is important that we work together and find a solution."
Horner also disclosed that the teams have agreed that their race drivers will only run for one day at the Young Driver Test, to be staged at Silverstone between July 17-19, with the rookies given the "equivalent of two days". The exact configuration will be decided on a team-by-team basis.
Meanwhile, Horner has also reiterated that the identity of Mark Webber's successor alongside Sebastian Vettel will be a choice between three current drivers: Kimi Raikkonen, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo.
"We are in the fortunate position not to be short of choice," said Horner after clarifying that Webber's decision to retire was "one hundred per cent" his. "We'll take our time to make the right decision.
"Red Bull Racing is a world championship-winning team and wants to put the best drivers in our cars. Now if one of these drivers can be of the junior team, that will purely be based on merit. They both have the opportunity to shine, but we are also taking into consideration what other drivers are available. For sure, both of the juniors [Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne] are contenders, and also one or two drivers that are out of contract at the end of the year.
"But the reality is that it will boil down to three drivers: the two juniors and Kimi."
According to Horner, the final decision will ultimately be taken by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz after consultations with himself, Technical Director Adrian Newey and advisor Helmut Marko.
"It is that type of thing that we will discuss and agree on collectively: obviously myself and Adrian, Helmut and Dietrich [Mateschitz]. Obviously Dietrich has the final say, but he is always listening to what Adrian's, Helmut's and my opinions are."
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