Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 2013

Monaco stewards refer Mercedes protest to FIA

2013 Monaco Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 2013The stewards of the Monaco Grand Prix have referred Ferrari and Red Bull’s protest against Mercedes to the FIA.

Mercedes’ rivals believe they broke the sporting regulations by conducting a three-day tyre test for Pirelli in the week following the Spanish Grand Prix.

The stewards issued the following statement:

“The Stewards of the Monaco Grand Prix received protests from Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari concerning an alleged breach of Article 22.4 h) (Track and Wind Tunnel Testing) of the FIA Formula One Sporting regulations by Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.

“The stewards summoned representatives of the protesting teams, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team and Pirelli.

“After hearing and collecting information the stewards will write a report to the FIA who may bring the matter before the International Tribunal.”

The stewards have official classified the results of the Monaco Grand Prix, meaning any future decision will not affect the result of today’s race.

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70 comments on “Monaco stewards refer Mercedes protest to FIA”

  1. I’m glad that whatever the outcome, the result of the race is set in stone and won’t now be changed. It would be a shame if a brilliant performance by Rosberg were to be overshadowed by this row.

    But it does definitely need sorting out. Personally I think it highlights the need for them to bring back some limited in season testing, then if some teams don’t want to take part they don’t want to. But for one team to do testing behind closed doors while the rest of the grid believes it’s not allowed, just makes a bit of a mockery of the sporting regulations.

    1. Fully agree with that, as the protest has nothing to do with the Monaco race.

      Its more a question of clearing how to approach testing, and specifically tyre testing between the teams and the FIA. Sure enough the fact that there is no framework for cooperation on the rules for next year between teams and FIA (meaning its the FIA that calls the shots on this) as well as cost for tyres, teams wanting or not wanting to test will all be part of the background of the Pirelli tyre test issue.

  2. PJ (@pjtierney)
    26th May 2013, 19:12

    I’ve read a few quotes stating that it’s in Pirelli’s contract that they can ask any team to do 1000km testing for them. If that’s the case then maybe Ferrari/iRBR are just miffed that Pirelli didn’t ask them first.

    1. Well, the sporting regulations state that no current car can be involved in anything other than straight line or constant radius aero testing, so the clause in Pirelli’s contract appears to be in conflict with the sporting regs.

      1. +1 Whatever is in Pirelli’s own contract is rather irrelevant when considering whether Mercedes broke the rules or not.

    2. The problem is the year of the car that was used. You can used the car that you are running that year and that´s what Mercedes did, and Pirelli allowed for it. If you read RBR and Ferrari quotes thats the problem and the reason they are doing the protest

    3. @pjtierney Of course they are, that’s how Formula 1 works. It’s like the front wing all over again, except this time Red Bull isn’t on the receiving end of the complaints.

      But all in all, it’s a strange situation. Perhaps Pirelli is allowed to do this, but it’s no surprise other teams aren’t exactly happy about it. The secrecy around it doesn’t help. If it’s all condoned by the FIA, why did nobody mention it before? Certainly strange in light of the fact that Pirelli complained about the lack of testing they can do just recently. Also Hamilton’s comments during the runup to the Monaco weekend are quite interesting. Mercedes say that they didn’t get any data from the test, but I doubt it were all Pirelli engineers running the show.

    4. @pjtierney if that’s the case, then it’s bad news.

      All the teams get the same tyres. It’s beyond unfair that one team is asked to complete 1000 km of testing for the official tyre manufacturer at a Grand Prix circuit.

      It’s worse that it was a “secret” test (even if Brawn says “they should all have known our trucks weren’t at Barcelona on Sunday”. Err… so what? how could anyone had guessed they were staying for a 3 day test?!). That sort of thing should be announced.

      There’s absolutely no track testing during the season. 3 days of free track time surely is valuable, and none of the other teams got that. Forget Ferrari and Red Bull, what about Force India? on a tight budget, and they were having a great season battling Mercedes on the team standings (even if we all know it would be short lived). Why do Mercedes get 3 days of testing and they don’t?

      What about McLaren? or Williams? or Sauber? that are struggling bad this season.

      Even if the tyres were unmarked. Even if they gained nothing from those 3 days. It shouldn’t have been allowed.

      1. And btw, keeping it in secret doesn’t help anyone. If Pirelli are allowed to invite someone to test, and that team is allowed to complete such test, if everything is completely legal, why wasn’t it announced?

        Something stinks… this sort of thing is really annoying, and puts F1 in yet another debate that happens outside the track. I’m fine discussing tyres and the “essence of motorsports”. But another “something-gate”?… NOT NEEDED.

        1. Don’t make it into one then.

          Let the FIA come to a decision and stop with all the dramatic soundbites.

          1. @ukphillie I’m not the one making it… situation that makes results “yet to be confirmed” do.

  3. Ross Brawn’s explaination seemed rather straight forward, as did Pirelli’s when they spoke to the BBC…

    1. well pirellis was rather sarcastic and frankly rude.

      when Pirelli saw merc turn up with current cars and drivers they probably rubbed their hands together. Pirelli wont care what happens to merc they can plead ignorance. Its merc with the problem and frankly now a big one. A multi race ban is certainly possible. The only thing stopping that is F1 needs mercs engines.

  4. I can understand where some people are coming from, regarding the test, but given that it was driven on unmarked compounds, a lot of which were actually for future tyres and Mercedes had to keep their car consistent so as to give Pirelli the data they needed, then I don’t see why anything should be done about it. I don’t think Mercedes have benefited from it, and the only reason they won today was due to the low degradation found in Monaco combined with the lack of overtaking opportunities.

    If Mercedes are just as competitive in Canada, then perhaps there is more reason for concern, but then again they were also competitive last year, despite similar issues, even if it wasn’t quite as severe.

    1. @jamiefranklinf1
      This explanation stinks. Why were Mercedes willing to test for Pirelli in the first place, if it didn’t give them any benefit? They had lots of work to do after Barcelona, so why but their resources on something useless?

      1. Those resources would only have been shipped to Monaco anyway, so it wouldn’t have made any difference. Mercedes were willing to do it, because they were asked to, and given the safety concerns around the tyres, why wouldn’t they? If they hadn’t, someone else would have, had they been benefited or not.

  5. The FIA aproved the test even though their own rule book is against it, no action will be taken against Mercedes. You can’t first approve of something and then penalize a team. The FIA has made one fine mess I tell you. They should be ashamed of themselves! This could cost Jean Todt dearly.

    1. As Brawn said, it wasn’t a Mercedes test, it was a Pirelli test. Doesn’t the no in-season testing refers to the teams rather than the tyre manufacturer? It’s very cut and dry.

      This is Red Bull and Ferrari posturing at Jean Todt and having a diva strop. In fact, Red Bull are really starting to get on my wick, constantly bitching when they can’t get their own way. I used to be a fan but now they’re just annoying, Ferrari have always been like that. They’re competitive, but are sadly lacking in the sportsmanship stakes.

      1. Still mercedes drove a 1000 kilometers with their 2013 spec car, the others did not.

        1. exactly, I think all teams should get one just to be even

          1. I think you’ll find from Pirellis/Merc’s statements that other teams where asked to help for a while, but didnt want to, Merc where the only ones who agree’d. Now the other teams are whining.

          2. In other moments, not for this test, and they didn´t get notice that it was a test with 2013 cars.

      2. “The stewards summoned representatives of the protesting teams, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team and Pirelli.”

        Apparently, to the stewards at least, Pirelli are classed as a team.

        I think the problem was that they used a current car for the test, as opposed to the two year old car all other Pirelli tests have had to do, which is what is being opposed.

  6. It doesn`t matter if Mercedes is penalized or not now, the damage is done. Pirelli can`s use the new speck-tyres tested on the 2013-spec Mercedes anyway as the rest of the teams on the grid would make a hell of a lot of noise if they did.

    I don`t think Pirellii has any other choice now than to revert to the 2012-spec tyres as using the tyres tested on the Mercedes would bring a lot of trouble. I can`t believe they conducted that test in that way.

    1. Firstly, they can’t revert back to the 2012-spec tyres anyway, as it’s against the rules. Secondly, Mercedes haven’t gained any knowledge on the new tyres, given that they were unmarked compounds, not to mention that a lot of the tyres were for future compounds, possibly in 2014.

      1. Thirdly Mercedes should out of the competition right now.

        What they both (pirelli and Mercedes) did is unfair, ridiculous, and unbelievable.

        1. Oh behave yourself.

  7. What bothers me the most is Ross Brawn’s explanation that the test wasn’t secret, because everyone could see they weren’t packing their stuff after the race in Barcelona. If they were testing openly, then perhaps they could’ve been, I don’t know, open about it? They’ve active Twitter account and everything, if they had no intention to hide their test couldn’t they’ve at least mention about a major test taking place? It’s not like RBR’s and Ferrari’s first thought should be “perhaps they’re about to do some illegal testing” when some team isn’t leaving the track in a hurry.

  8. A test in Barcelona for three days, with a F1 car going around, and with the kind of press that exists in Spain and no one knew about it? Hahaha ok.

  9. Allegedly the test was authorised on the understanding that it would be Pirelli running the cars, not Mercedes. In which case Mercedes (and presumably Pirelli) has broken the agreement and could face sanction as a result.


  10. F1 is becoming a joke this season, Pirelli is giving the opportunity to a single team to test the tyres that everybody must use.


    Mercedes should be out of the championship already.

    1. And what of Pirelli?

      1. Pirelli? Well if somebody has something good to say about them i will be impress.

  11. This is really a no-brainer. Pirelli must align their contract with the FIA regs going forward.
    And thta’s it.

  12. FIA has give a note to the media , it says that they didn´t knew about the test and were only asked if they could a test with a current year car, to wich they anwered was that only if all teams were gived the same opportunity:

    At the beginning of May, the FIA was asked by Pirelli if it was possible to carry out some tyre development testing with a team, using a current car. Within the contract Pirelli has with the FIA as single-supplier, there is provision for them to carry out up to 1000kms of testing with any team – provided every team is offered the opportunity to do so.

    “Pirelli and Mercedes-AMG were advised by the FIA that such a development test could be possible if carried out by Pirelli, as opposed to the team that would provide the car and driver, and that such tests would be conditional upon every team being given the same opportunity to test in order to ensure full sporting equity.

    “Following this communication, the FIA received no further information about a possible test from Pirelli or Mercedes-AMG. Furthermore the FIA received no confirmation that all teams had been given an opportunity to test.“

    1. Interesting, but who is at fault then? I mean who was supposed to offer the opportunity to be part of the test, Pirelli or Mercedes?

      From what I understand it was a Pirelli test so it was up to them to organise and release any information regarding any test. Although should Mercedes have went to the FIA and confirmed everything prior to participating in such test. I think there is still some unanswered questions and facts that we are unaware of.

      Good find though

      1. This also seems rather at odds with Ross Brawn’s assertion that the team had already sought clarification from the FIA and had been given the go ahead to do a test.

        1. @mazdachris It seem to me like this:

          PIRELLI- MERCEDES: Can we have a test with a current car? Pretty please, please!
          FIA: Yes,BUT only if you tell the other teams and invited to do to
          PIRELLI- MERCEDES: Ok, thanks PAPA FIA
          (Change the order in the next conversation as you like)

          PIRELLI: So we are telling the other teams
          MERCEDES: but it will be so much trouble, agree on a date and what can be done, etc. etc.
          PIRELLI: …
          MERCEDES: So why do you think, test only with me?
          PIRELLI: OK, Cool …

          1. I seriously doubt the FIA would have been as clear and pirelli ignored them @celeste, it wouldn’t be the first time that we see misunderstandings based on unclear rulings and communiques.

            I think its rather that the FIA did tell Pirelli they have to give all teams the same opportunity, and Pirelli asked other teams as well (we do know that Ferrari did a run in Barcelona but they used their 2011 car, with EBD), and is/was planning do do other similar sessions with other teams as deemed usefull. So then its a question how clear it would have been made that the FIA intended Pirelli to have ALL teams test at once in one test (which would not really be very usefull for Pirelli as they need to test, change and test again to get it right).

            Even the message with clarification by the FIA nowhere clearly states that the FIA did in fact ask Pirelli to literally test with all teams at one test date, making the whole thing rather murky

          2. @bascb no they didn´t have to do the test with all the teams, but they have offer all the teams the opportunity.

            So what FIA is saying is that the problem is not that Pirelli tested only with Mercedes, but that Pirelli didn´t gave the other teams the same opportunity to join them by informed them that the test was goin to happened.

            Is like my friend ask to the movies two weeks a go to go see an Adam Sandler movie and I said I din´t want to go. But this week my friend when to the movies to see Star Trek, a movie that I love, and he didn´t invite me because he thought that I would said no again. And now I´m mad at him because he didn´t ask me.

            Ferrari and RBR are mad not because there was a test, or because there was a test with a mercedes car. They are mad becuase it was a test in 2013 cars and they weren´t asked to participate.

          3. @bascb

            The statement from Pirelli is fairly remarkable, mostly for the fact they felt moved to make the statement in the first place. The very fact they did, implies that they feel that certain requirements do not appear to have been met. Otherwise they would surely have said as much.

            Yes of course, the FIA are not known for their clarity, but ignorance of the rules is no excuse for breaking them; if Mercedes and Pirelli didn’t understand what they were being told then they should have sought further clarification before going ahead. And of course, as others have said, their complete media blackout on the subject seems suspicious in itself.

            The problem from the FIAs perspective seems twofold – firstly that Pirelli were obligated to invite EVERY team to attend the test, and secondly that the test took place without the FIA being informed. And potentially that Mercedes overstepped their remit in operating the cars during the test, although this remains to be confirmed or denied.

            I find it odd that, if Pirelli did genuinely approach all of the other teams, not one of them has come forward in defense of Pirelli and Mercedes. Yes it’s easy to suggest that certain teams might not do so in order to try and obtain an advantage by making out that Mercedes had broken the rules, but I still find it highly doubtful that literally none of the other teams have come to their defense. Especially those who have a sporting relationship with Mercedes, like McLaren and Force India. Even if every team on the grid were in cahoots, it would still surely be the work of a moment for Pirelli to produce evidence that they had contacted all of the teams about it, since I find it impossible to believe they wouldn’t have a record of the communication.

          4. @mazdachris, @celeste – I agree that its pretty clear that Pirelli is not telling us everything here, and that the “asking others to do this test” issue is key here, with Pirelli (possibly on purpose) interpreting things differently than the FIA (Pirelli mentioning a brief sent out last year where they brought up this option of testing during the season as “informing all the teams”).

            To me it all feels very much like we see a fight going on between two spouses in public but have not seen the issue brew for the last weeks and in the car to the restaurant and have trouble seeing the whole picture.

            It really seems a lot of it is about Pirelli pushing for ways to test tyres, as the 2010 car that Enstone was allowed to provide a couple of years back seems to be not sufficient a solution for them, and this is in conflict with the agreements on not testing during the season.
            At the same time, I guess its no use for Pirelli to do one big open test for everyone, because that would just mean making heaps of tyres for one test, but then be unable to test further. Its far better for Pirelli to test with one team at a time, tweaking the tyres between every session to come up with one they feel good with.

    2. This is a bomb!

    3. @celeste, This looks pretty bad for Mercedes. Now that the FIA effectively say they did not give permission for the test, the sanctions could be pretty harsh, as they usually are.

      I don’t have a lot of faith in the FIA, however, so it could just be their way of covering their backside, in case they were unclear in their communications to Pirelli and Mercedes. I find it hard to believe that Mercedes would risk their season (God knows what punishment the FIA might come up with) for three days of running on unmarked tyres.

      Btw, who was driving the car(s), btw? I thought Hamilton had a sponsor event in Florida after the Spanish Grand Prix.

      1. Btw, who was driving the car(s), btw?

        That’s a very interesting question. Has there been any information about who was doing the test runs? According to Twitter and Facebook, Hamilton was in Orlando in May 14, but Rosberg has no activity (except pre-recorded video message from Barcelona) during the three days after Spanish GP.

        1. Acoording to Autoweek it was Nico and Hamilton, so both drivers learned something:

          In the aftermath of the controversial Spanish GP, and with changes planned for Montreal, Pirelli asked Mercedes to test, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg doing the driving. Due to rain, their work extended over three days before the 1000 km was completed.

          Probably this it was botter me the most, if Purelli wanted to test why didn´t he used Alquersuari and the other whose name I don´t remember…

          1. Sorry that was an answer to @adrianmorse and @hotbottoms

  13. Official statement from the FIA-

    Pirelli were allowed to run a 2013 car providing that the test was run by Pirelli’s test team rather than by the race team.
    All other teams should have been notified & given the same opportunity.
    The FIA were never given confirmation that other teams had not been informed.

    Also hearing from someone at FOM that the FIA were not informed the test was taking place at that time & as a result no FIA officials were present to ensure that no development parts were been run by Mercedes & to keep track on what Pirelli were testing & what data was been given by both parties.

    Also was told that despite Mercedes claim that teams should have noticed they never left Barcelona, Some Mercedes equipment & a lot of the personnel was sent back & the test was run with minimal personnel.
    Also pointed out that if the test was not a secret then why did the team, driver or Pirelli mention it to the media or on social media?
    Both team & drivers usually tweet about what there up to with regards to film days or straght line runs yet nobody from Pirelli, Mercedes or either driver said anything about running a test over those 3 days.

    1. How many points you reckon will be taken off Mercedes?

  14. I don’t know why Pirelli can’t just use a 2011 car. There’s not many differences except the exhaust-blown diffuser being there and a lack of a stepped nose/vanity panel. Not looking good for Mercedes it seems, this is a serious breach of the regulations.

    1. Maybe they are trying to evaluate the difference between this years cars and the 2011 ones (by using the same spec of tyres on the 2013 Mercs and on the 2011 Ferrari a couple of weeks back) @craig-o

  15. Why in the name of the force that created the cosmos could they not have just gone down to nice warm Abu Dhabi for 3 days after Brazil and had a test?

    Why does everything have to be a political quagmire? This is the FIAs own fault. They should have scheduled a test at an appropriate time in an appropriate place leaning on FOM to help with logisitics and told the teams to take it or leave it.

    The teams and Pirelli should not have had any initiative in this. The FIA is supposed to be the governing body so why don’t they govern. The only entity that should be penalised for this is the FIA.

    It took a few years but it looks like Jean Todts snotty attitude has finally overrun the whole house.

    1. invisiblekid
      26th May 2013, 21:57


      This is a mess and whoever you want to blame, it must involve FIA. By the sound of it there wasn’t an ounce of control or clear ruling (by way of giving every team the chance to test the tyres), since it sounds like the bare minimum of words were (if at all) sent to all the teams and not a single announcement was made that this was happening.

      This is a very thin line in fairness and the FIA should have been in complete control. OK so IF they were not told about the testing date etc and were not present, then this is very serious for Pirelli and Mercedes. However, the FIA should have been all over this from the start and not casually said a simple yes or no to I’m sure some candid questions from Merc.

    2. Well, Todt wanted to bring back in season testing last year and it was voted down by all but the Ferrari engined teams a couple of weeks ago, so there you have the answer of why they can’t do a test there and then.

  16. i’d be surprised if any action was taken on mercedes.. pretty sure the’re gonna get away with this

    1. I don`t think you understand the severity of what Pirelli and Mercedes have done in light of the FIA`s statement. They have deliberately gone out and done something they were not given permission to do. On top of that they kept it a secret. On top of that FIA did not have personell in place to monitor what was going on.

      The fallout of this unbelieveable affair is yet to be known. You have to realize that there are several factors in this case.

      Firstly there`a breach of trust by both Pirelli and Mercedes. That is very serious as none of Mercedes competitors will be williing to trust either Pirelli or Mercedes when they claim that no testing that benefitted Mercedes took place. They have allready been sneaking around behind the other teams backs, God only knows what else they have been up to. And there were no FIA-officials in place to confirm that no such testing took place.

      Secondly this has the potential to taint the 2013 World Championship big time. I doubt Pirelli can ever use the tyres that were tested on the 2013-Mercedes now. I think they have to either continue with the 2013 tyres unchanged or go back to the 2012-tyres. The most likely outcome is that Pirelli will go back to last years tyres as this years tyres have safety issues. If Pirelli brings new spec tyres now the suspicion that this is a result of the test conducted with the 2013-Mercedes willl always be there. They can`t do that.

      As a result Pirelli and Mercedes have brought the FIA in an impossible situation. The rules have to be broken one way or another, it`s just a matter of damage limitation for the FIA now. I`m pretty sure both parties will be punished for thsi, it`s called to “put the sport in disrepute”. There`s also the issue of putting the FIA in an impossible situation, they just don`t like that..

      1. i am very aware of what they did… however, i’m sure they’ll get away with it. mercedes have a lot of funding and will probably only have to pay a few thousand pounds instead of getting a race ban. i really don’t think that’s gonna happen!

        personally, i’d ban them for a couple of races, i can’t imagine they didn’t benefit from that test, but who’s gonna listen to me?

  17. I never understood what race stewards had to do with it in the first place. I mean, what were they supposed to do about test in Spain, two weeks ago, today in Monaco? Race stewards are race stewards. This should have been referred to FIA in the first place.

    1. Strangely, race stewards do this kind of thing sometimes. Do you remember Melbourne stewards declared double diffuser is legal and then teams gonna have to wait until late spring to have a court in FIA?

  18. Well, in light of the official info from the FIA, it seems that Mercs are in deep trouble. Brawn has clearly lied that the test was cleared by the FIA, while in reality the conditions upon which the FIA would allow such tests were not met in several key areas. It also appears that nobody in the FIA even knew that it was taking place. Regardless what happens next, I do have one question – when do people finally stop giving Ross a free pass for anything? He’s been caught lying on at lest two major occasions this season alone (ROS/HAM debacle and this). Horner (in particular), Whitmarsh or Domenicali would have been smashed by the press and public alike, and yet somehow Brawn is still a noble guy with great integrity. (It is also quite funny how people used to blame Schumacher for supposedly illegal B194 and later Ferrari deflectors and stuff, but never good old Ross.)

  19. Given that we don’t really know exactly what was said by all parties, at what point, and to whom, I think it’s a bit premature to start laying the blame at anyone’s door. It does seem that this test wasn’t really fully authorised by the FIA, since the conditions weren’t met, but it’s not clear whose decision that was, who knew about it, and whether the whole thing is just a case of misunderstanding and miscommunication.

    My feeling is that Pirelli are probably the responsible party, but again, I’m cautious about making any judgments without being in full possession of the facts.

    1. @mazdachris
      I don’t think the lack of communication can explain this situation. Both Pirelli and Mercedes were being extremely secretive about the test – there was no announcement, no Twitter messages, nothing. Why were they so secretive about it, if they thought they were doing nothing wrong?

      1. I’m just saying it’s too early to judge either way. Certainly Mercedes could have been acting in good faith, having been given assurances by Pirelli that they were able to do this. It does seem from the FIA statement that in a manner of speaking, they did give Pirelli authorisation to carry out tests, but with certain conditions. That being the case it seems that it should be for Pirelli and the FIA to ensure that those conditions were met, not the team(s) involved. But again, there are plenty of questions about the secrecy, the fact Brawn said he’d been given full support from the FIA, and so on.

  20. The FIA will not want to upset the apple cart too much with a manufacturer in F1.

    Renault was found guilty of a severe breach of regulations in 2009, after their previous years exploits in Singapore came to light. Similarly the result had been classified so did not change after Renault were punished, but the actual punishment was quite soft – two year suspended ban, if I recall.

    If Mercedes are guilty, it will be a very political decision by the FIA with regards to a punishment. It has to be strict enough to hurt the team, but not too harsh that it forces them out of the sport. It would be a massive blow to Formula 1 to lose a manufacturer over an incident like this, and rightly or wrongly, I think the FIA’s punishment will reflect this and be quite soft in the context (if Mercedes are guilty of a regulation breach).

    I think we will see a fine and a suspended ban (if Mercedes are guilty of a regulation breach).

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