Formula 1 News

Whitmarsh against facilitating young driver development on Fridays

The idea will have unexpected consequences, according to the McLaren boss.
Sunday, September 22, 2013

SINGAPORE, September 22nd, 2013 (F1Plus / Jacob Polychronis) - McLaren Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh has warned F1 of the likely consequences of extending Friday practice sessions in an attempt to facilitate young driver development.

Whitmarsh, speaking after last night’s qualifying in Singapore, brushed aside the concept which has been rumoured around the F1 Paddock.

“It probably wouldn’t have the desired effect.

“As is often the case, quick ideas in Formula One have unintended consequences.

“Teams figure out for themselves how to exploit it to their best advantage and not necessarily abide with the original intentions of such an idea.” 

The McLaren boss then proceeded to explain how his team would utilise the proposed half-hour extension to Friday practice sessions.

“You could then, frankly from our perspective, use that half an hour to do aerodynamic testing and effectively not do performance testing in terms of lap time set up. We’d be doing a whole range of component changes and data logging.”

Whitmarsh has suggested however, that further rules would need to be created if young drivers are to be given greater opportunity in Formula One vehicles.

“None of the big teams would do it (use young drivers) unless the regulations actually required you to have a young driver.”

Regardless of the potential benefits of elongated practice, Whitmarsh distanced the team from such an idea, preferring to continue with the current 90 minute sessions.

“I think from McLaren’s perspective it is not necessarily something we want to do.”

Furthermore, Whitmarsh believes that it would not only fail to benefit young driver development, however, such a change would also be detrimental to other Formula One teams.

“Ultimately I think it would work against smaller teams because of their financial situations.”  

Today’s smaller teams heavily rely on selling their driver positions for financial gain. Running for an extra hour each race weekend will incur extra costs. This will impact smaller teams heavily, who will be forced to blood young development drivers, potentially with no greater financial attachment. 

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