LEWIS Hamilton has voiced his concern over the dangers being faced by Mercedes in missing next week’s young driver test.
Mercedes are banned from the event at Silverstone from 17-19 July as a penalty imposed for breaking the rules in running their 2013 car – with Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel – at a Pirelli tyre test in Spain in May.
The young driver test, however, is now also open to race drivers for one day, but only to conduct running on Pirelli’s new specification of tyre due to be introduced from the Hungarian Grand Prix later this month.
That follows a series of high-speed blowouts that occurred during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone 11 days ago.
On the grounds of safety, as Mercedes believe it is vital they obtain some data about the new tyre before heading to Budapest, the Brackley-based team has lobbied to do some running, although as yet there has been no official word.
Expressing his disappointment at the situation, Hamilton said: “I don’t know if people fully appreciate how big a negative it is for us not to do the test.
“We are going to go to Hungary when other people have gone and tested (the new tyres with) different ride-heights, different pressures, got their car ready for a long run so they arrive ready.
“We don’t have any of that information so when we get there we’re going to go into it blind.
“We shouldn’t be in this position in sport, but that’s the way it is.”
Meanwhile, Martin Whitmarsh says McLaren have finally taken a step in the right direction after their improved showing at the Nurburgring last weekend. The team chalked up their highest points haul of the season – 12 – in Sunday’s German Grand Prix.
Given McLaren’s history, that total falls way below accepted standards. However, when you have been involved in a campaign as wretched as the one they have endured in 2013, Jenson Button’s sixth and Sergio Perez’s eighth at the Nurburgring was a small crumb of comfort.
“I’m not doing handstands or anything like that,” said team principal Whitmarsh.
“We are still not where we expect to be or want to be, but at least it was a step in the right direction.
“After a record 64 races in the points, to then go the following two races without points was a bit of a sharpener to the mind,” he added, referring to the team’s non-scoring outings in Canada and Britain.
Whitmarsh dismissed suggestions that Pirelli’s new rear tyres played a part in aiding McLaren’s cause last weekend.
Pirelli switched to a Kevlar belt for the rears only in Germany after a number of blowouts a week earlier at Silverstone.
“I don’t think there has been a change of the pecking order as a consequence of what we saw in Germany,” he said.
“For us, there are no secrets here, we have to continue to try to develop the car, understand it. We’ve made a little bit of progress, but frankly not as much as we would like.
“We’ve a limited amount of resource on it because we are very much focused on next year. But as racers we won’t give up. We’ll be racing hard and trying to make a bit more progress the rest of this year.”