Mercedes’ rivals believe they infringed Formula One’s testing rules by covering 1,000km in a three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya following the Spanish Grand Prix.
Autosport claim Mercedes believe the test was legal as Formula One’s official tyre supplier Pirelli is allowed to conduct a test with one of the teams if it deems it necessary.
Pirelli has been under pressure to change its tyre compounds due to the high degradation seen at some races as well as a spate of tyre delaminations. Mercedes have been trying to understand why their car’s race performance is much worse than it’s one-lap pace in qualifying.
Formula One teams are banned from conducting testing during the racing season. But Mercedes’s non-executive chairman Niki Lauda says the team obtained permission from the sport’s governing body:
“It is very simple. We were asked by Pirelli, Mercedes. We asked the FIA are we allowed to do this. The FIA confirmed it and said ‘yes’ so therefore we did the test. I think other teams have been asked too.”
“There was one team that tested earlier. These tests can always come in cases of emergency. So Mercedes did absolutely nothing wrong. We asked the right people for permission and we got it.”
Article 22.4h of the Sporting Regulations states no track testing may take place “between the start of a ten day period which precedes the start of the first event of the championship and 31 December of the same year”.
The rule gives two exception to that limit:
“One three day young driver training test carried out on a date and site approved by the FIA following consultation with all teams. No driver who has competed in more than two F1 world championship races may take part in this test and all drivers must be in possession of an International A Licence.
“Four one day aerodynamic tests carried out on FIA approved straight line or constant radius sites between 1 February of the current year and the start of the last event of the championship. Any of these days may be substituted for four hours of wind-on full scale wind tunnel testing to be carried out in a single twenty four hour period.”
Last year’s Monaco Grand Prix pole sitter was also involved in a technical row ahead of the race. Red Bull were accused of infringing the rules with the design of their car’s floor.
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Image ?é?® Daimler/Hoch Zwei