Red Bull and Toro Rosso have joined Williams’ bid to block Michael Schumacher from testing Ferrari’s 2009 car ahead of his F1 return in Valencia. You didn’t think all that good will towards Schumi would last long, did you?
In-season testing is prohibited under current FIA rules, but Ferrari wrote last week to the nine other F1 teams asking for Big Schu to be granted a day’s testing to get to grips with his new car.
Five teams – McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW and Brawn – agreed to waive the ban on testing, but Williams, Red Bull and Toro Rosso have stood strong.
“While we welcome Michael Schumacher back to F1, the fact is any form of in-season circuit testing is strictly prohibited,” reads a Williams statement, referencing the recent arrival of Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso’s replacement for Sebastien Bourdais, into F1.
“Alguersuari, who drove an F1 car for the first time in Hungary, did not have the opportunity to familiarise himself with the Toro Rosso before he made his race debut,” continues the statement. “Williams sees no distinction between Alguersuari’s situation and Schumacher’s and feels any deviation from the rule would create a precedent for the future.”
Williams argue Ferrari could have chosen either of their current test drivers – Luca Badoer or Marc Gene – over Schumacher. Both men have driven Ferrari’s 2009 car.
What do you reckon, Sunday Afternooners? Should Ferrari have to play by the rules, or is Schumi a special case?
And do you think McLaren and the other four ‘no problem’ teams would be quite so friendly if Ferrari were in the mix for the constructors championship this year?