@freelittlebirds If I may – I think you’re overreacting slightly. There is nothing wrong with that, and actually – it’s not a rare event. It’s just that this is one of the rare occasions that the news has made it onto the press. As such, I don’t believe there is any malicious intent within.
This is very standard practice because it serves several different purposes. Given the blind nature of the test, there’s one of two possibilities:
a) Lewis is told about the upgrade, just that he’s not told WHAT is upgraded
b) Lewis is completely blind about the upgrade.
In both cases, the team will have their telemetry and data to see the actual numbers and see if the parts are an improvement on track. Both are standard practice even with a driver that is NOT leaving the team.
In the case of option A, Lewis then goes on to the run without any psychological expectations of what to expect (ie he won’t be expecting additional stability through Turn 10/11 for example). As such he will just be feeling on the fly what the upgrades have done, and this blind feedback is very useful. For example, the team could install a new diffuser, and have the expectation that they have better mid-corner stability. But in this “hey we have an upgrade but we won’t tell you what it is” run, the driver then says “there’s SO much oversteer mid-corner” then that tells you something is wrong. If the driver were TOLD to expect mid-corner stability, then he might not give the same feedback to the team about the test part.
In option B, it’s a similar scenario. So say we have the same diffuser upgrade. Lewis goes out and does the test. He comes back in “wow you guys. The car is so oversteery mid-corner.” Then the team knows there is something wrong with the upgrade.
The lack of any preconceived assumptions can benefit the team a lot, because it removes any self-justifying feelings. Drivers, for example, are also often given confidence upgrades where they “receive” a new part but actually don’t. Kimi in Spa 2009 for example received an update to his chassis which reportedly had a lighter weight, which meant he could run ballast lower for a lower CofG, contributing to better stability. Guess what happened to his results that weekend…
Also, given that Lewis is moving to a new team, there aren’t any details he can bring to the other teams. This is less useful in aero tests because you can generally see aero upgrades (new front wing, new diffuser, etc gets photographed VERY quickly)