FIA calls Mercedes to Tribunal over test and dismisses case against Ferrari

2013 F1 season

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2013The FIA has called Mercedes to appear before its International Tribunal to answer questions concerning its controversial test for Pirelli.

In a statement released on Friday the sport’s governing body said: “In the light of all the replies received and in view of the information gathered during this inquiry, the president of the FIA, acting as the FIA prosecuting body, has decided to bring the case concerning the tyre testing session carried out by Pirelli and Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 in Barcelona on 15-17 May 2013 before the FIA International Tribunal because it results from the inquiry that the conditions of this testing may constitute a breach of the applicable FIA rules.”

“The FIA International Tribunal is called upon to make a decision in compliance with the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules.”

The FIA also confirmed it will close its case against Ferrari. “Its participation in a tyre testing organised by Pirelli in Barcelona on 23-24 April 2013 using for this purpose a 2011 car is not deemed to contravene the applicable FIA rules.”

Mercedes conducted a three-day test for Pirelli at the Circuit de Catalunya using their 2013 car, the W04, on May 15th to 17th. Ferrari’s test was conducted on April 23rd and 24th using the 150 Italia which was last used in F1 in 2011.

Ferrari and Red Bull protested against Mercedes when details of their test came to light during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

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196 comments on FIA calls Mercedes to Tribunal over test and dismisses case against Ferrari

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th June 2013, 22:10

    l because it results from the inquiry that the conditions of this testing may constitute a breach of the applicable FIA rules.”

    sounds like the perfect opportunity to test the new FIA judiciary procedures.
    And the good one for Todt is, that regardless of whether Mercedes does get found guilty and punished, or gets away unpunished, he can then still claim an important step forward (that is, if it doesn’t end up in a farce like the whole Spygate saga and to an extent the crashgate thing).

    I fully agree that there’s enough unclear things, that this warrents an in depth investigation, hearing all the evidence and establish what happened, before deciding on any possible penalties.

    • Ivano (@) said on 5th June 2013, 22:32

      @bascb

      To my knowledge the word “farce” means fake or false. So how was Spygate fake?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th June 2013, 22:44

        The whole trial was a bit of a farce, with how first they were acquitted, then it got back in. There was never a real trial, and the huge fine etc (paired with letting both drivers go completely unpunished) was more about politicking than any fair trial (why else did Renault get away with having McLaren data only months after this?).

        McLaren certainly was wrong in having the data, and even more so in using it to further develop their car. But the penalty, and the way it came about were far from a real trial with a well considered sentence.

        • GT_Racer said on 6th June 2013, 0:15

          (why else did Renault get away with having McLaren data only months after this?)

          They got the same initial penalty McLaren did.

          If any further evidence had come forward as it did with Mclaren then Renault would have got a harsher penalty.

          Don’t forget that initially McLaren went down the ‘rouge employee’ route & the FIA initially accepted that & gave them a warning, Specifically saying that if any new evidence came forward a harsher penalty woudl be applied.
          When further evidence came forward & a further investigation done & McLaren were found guilty thats when they got the fine.

          The difference with Renault was that when it was found they had data from another team, They were completely open, Fired the people responsible & allowed the FIA full access to there computers & car data to find out what data they had, who knew & if it had been used.
          After that investigation they got the same penalty McLaren had after the 1st hearing, A warning that if more evidence came to light further penalty’s would be applied.

          Also the data Renault has was far more limited & less useful than what Mclaren had from Ferrari. It was also shown that none of the data was present on Renault’s 2008 car (McLaren were found with things inspired from the Ferrari data on there 2008 car).

          With regards to the fine, That was Bernie’s idea, Max felt the right thing to do was to throw the team out of the championship but he was reluctant to do so because that could have put the entire McLaren organization out of business & cost everyone at McLaren there jobs.
          It was clear McLaren were guilty & needed some sort of penalty, The fine was the best long term solution & as Max said on sky recently it ended up not been that big a penalty as the team quickly made back a lot of it by winning the championships in 2008.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th June 2013, 7:14

            That last paragraph does a great job to show how it was not a judiciary procedure as such, but one where internal politics played a large role as well GT_racer.

        • erix said on 6th June 2013, 13:13

          I would rather call it Alonso-gate or Biatore-gate rather than Spy-gate, it happened somewhere when he was around.

      • George (@george) said on 5th June 2013, 22:44

        @ivano
        farce:
        foolish show; mockery; a ridiculous sham.

        courtesy of dictionary.com

          • Traverse (@) said on 6th June 2013, 12:00

            Because that’s what Sir Mr English (the first ever English teacher) decided it would mean…true story…

          • Alex (@smallvizier) said on 8th June 2013, 16:04

            @celeste, @hellotraverse

            It dates back to Renaissance Europe. Initially, as Europe was dominated by the Catholic church, most plays were rather dry religious works. As playwrights grew more bold and playful, they started to hide sudden bursts of comedy in the middle. The routine and boring story would suddenly lurch towards ridiculous (and hilarious) faliure.

            The French said these plays were “stuffed” with comedy: “farci.”

        • Traverse (@) said on 6th June 2013, 11:57

          Farce means to move at a considerable speed and…oh wait a minute…never mind :P

      • Alec (@vonhoff) said on 5th June 2013, 22:46

        thats not what farce means….

    • Ivano (@) said on 5th June 2013, 22:52

      @bascb
      True, that it was. I remember being surprised the McLaren drivers weren’t docked of any points which in my view was to keep the drivers championship alive. Very political as you said.

      @george
      Thank you, I’ve learnt something new today!

      • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 5th June 2013, 23:30

        was to keep the drivers championship alive

        and to keep the TV audience, sponsors and money running!

        • Ivano (@) said on 5th June 2013, 23:47

          Too true. It’s always about money.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 3:53

            Glad spygate and liegate have been brought up because I have been thinking of those two issues, as well as crashgate, from this respect…those were controversies that involved only a small number of people acting on their own. The issue we have been talking about these days have involved two globally massive and iconic companies and their reputations…Pirelli and Mercedes, which is why I am so stuck on the hypothesis that these two companies would have way way more to lose than to gain from doing anything underhanded with the tire test in May. This was not a few ‘lone wolfs’ doing this test, so I think they had to have felt there was permission, necessity, a legal legs to stand on, or they simply would not have deemed the test anywhere near worth the risk for so little gain.

    • phildick (@phildick) said on 6th June 2013, 10:41

      @bascb

      Do you know perhaps of an article which explains the changes made to FIA judicial rules since Spygate?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th June 2013, 12:24

        I know it was given thought by Keith on F1F, and I think I read several pieces on it by others too @phildick. I did see a comment above mentioning that Autosport.com has an article doing the same right now.

        THe rules as such are here – but its a bit of a formal read

        • phildick (@phildick) said on 6th June 2013, 14:21

          Below are the only ones I’ve found so far, @bascb:

          Will new FIA disciplinary system guarantee fairer trials?
          F1 Brazil Blog – All change at the FIA

          Interesting/funny/sad (choose whichever fits best) to notice that the previous system in one of the world’s biggest sport associations resembled more of a medieval court than a 21st century law&justice standard.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th June 2013, 17:00

            Yes, the system was very badly in need of some proper procedure and checks and balances @phildick. Funny how a professional lawyer like Mosley kept that on really.

            I think it should provide the fairest of procedures we have seen with the FIA so far. And that is very good, because its a delicate matter involving a major participant in Mercedes, the single tyre supplier as well as the FIA itself possibly having been sloppy.
            And we have the matter of perceived personal interest as Todt used to work closely together with Ross Brawn, and commercial interest as Bernie worked behind the scenes a lot to get Lauda and Hamilton at Mercedes.

        • cito said on 6th June 2013, 16:36

          One guy says that since there is no Concorde agreement no penalty can be given. Its anarchy at the moment

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th June 2013, 22:14

    It’s hard to envisage Mercedes getting called to a tribunal like this and not ending up with some kind of punishment.

    • Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 5th June 2013, 22:22

      What kind of punishment though? I feel like being thrown out of the championship (like McLaren in 2007) wouldn’t have as much effect on a works team as, for example, a 3 race ban.

      • George (@george) said on 5th June 2013, 22:42

        @lin1876
        The problem is they cant make them forget what they learned, they also cant exactly kick them out of the championship as they’re such an integral part of F1. I think probably exclusion from the constructors’ championship and/or a hefty fine would fit. The drivers aren’t really in the running for the Drivers’ championship so I guess they would let them continue.

        My limited recollection of race bans would be that they tend to be given for offences during a race weekend, like running illegal cars (BAR ’05) or dangerous behaviour (Renault ’09).

        • Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 5th June 2013, 22:44

          @george I meant exclude them from the constructors, like McLaren were in 2007, with the drivers continuing to run.

        • Tomcat173 (@tomcat173) said on 6th June 2013, 2:28

          @george I agree that Mercedes can’t unlearn what they now know.

          If the FIA was smart they’d give Mercedes a slap on the wrist for being devious, and then let the remaining 10 teams conduct an in season tyre test of their own. Its the only way to ‘equalise’ the knowledge that Mercedes have from running their test.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 6th June 2013, 3:33

            @tomcat173

            I agree, although my initial reaction was, well that might give the other teams a much bigger advantage that even Merc got.

            But that’s a good thing, Merc can suffer for bringing the sport into disrepute.

            And I even like the team!

          • Douglas Kwan (@fungsiu00) said on 6th June 2013, 8:36

            I think banning friday practice sessions of the coming 1 or 2 GP will be enough to equalise the learning. Mercedes don’t have the specifications of tires which rendered tire testing data less relevant, while the true gain are probably on all the bolt-on next component tests.

      • David not Coulthard (@) said on 6th June 2013, 6:42

        What about brainwashing the members of Mercedes so that they forget what they’ve learnt? :]

        I suppose that was a reply to @george as well.

      • The Blade Runner (@thebladerunner) said on 6th June 2013, 8:40

        I guess you could ban them from the equivalent of 1,000km worth of track time i.e. approx. 3 races. That way every other team would have the opportunity to catch-up with what Mercedes learned.

    • Ivano (@) said on 5th June 2013, 22:27

      @keithcollantine

      Do you think there’s a possibility the drivers will also be punished?

      • Aimal (@aimalkhan) said on 5th June 2013, 22:41

        They have already gained an unfair advantage… there is no way to reverse that.

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th June 2013, 22:44

          @aimalkhan there are plenty of ways to prevent them from utilising that advantage though, such as race bans. Remember the BAR race bans in 2005 for running underweight in the opening races: I reckon the same punishment could be applied if the offence is deemed serious enough.

          • Aimal (@aimalkhan) said on 5th June 2013, 22:48

            But Mercedes will come back from the race bans with a race winning car. They wernt going to win any races or win the championship any time soon with pre monaco car.

          • George (@george) said on 5th June 2013, 22:55

            @aimalkhan
            It’s too early to say that, even before the test people were predicting they would win in Monaco. Canada isn’t a very good test either as it’s mainly slow corners. We wont really know until we get back to Silverstone whether their tyre issues are fixed (assuming it’s not raining).

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th June 2013, 22:59

            @aimalkhan they’ll lose two weekends of practice to evaluate new parts and two valuable points scoring opportunities: I think that’s a pretty severe punishment!

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th June 2013, 1:42

            The problem with that statementis that you’re assuming that the test was the only contributing factor to their success in Monaco and that if they had not carried out the test, they would not have won – which you cannot prove.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 6th June 2013, 16:40

            @prisoner-monkeys that’s what the tribunal is for!

        • Ivano (@) said on 5th June 2013, 23:13

          @aimalkhan

          It can be reversed if double test time is given to the other teams.

          • Q85 said on 6th June 2013, 13:06

            who will pay for it? ferrari can afford it but the bottom 2 teams cant. why should they go into debt for merc cheating

      • Mike (@mike) said on 6th June 2013, 3:34

        @ivano

        Definitely not I expect, on the basis that this was a stuff up by Mercedes team management. The drivers where there because that’s what the bosses told them to do.

      • Mr Lance said on 6th June 2013, 5:22

        @Ivano

        Which driver would you like to see punished, and why?

        • Ivano (@) said on 6th June 2013, 7:14

          Did not imply I would like to see either of the drivers punished. Asked since in both crashgate (Alonso) and spygate, the drivers were not punished as they weren’t aware of their actions, which is diffirent in this case since both Lewis and Nico are well aware of the testing ban with a present car.

    • bull mello (@bullmello) said on 5th June 2013, 22:59

      Amazing considering the Mercedes “brain trust” of Ross Brawn-Niki Lauda-Toto Wolff somehow concluding that:
      a) They wouldn’t get caught. (preposterous)
      or
      b) They have some sort of extremely substantial evidence or proof that exonerates them. (i.e. permission from the FIA, which would be unlikely given they are being called to FIA tribunal)

      The more severe the penalty, the more likely whomever signed off on this test will lose their job(s) at Mercedes. Especially in the case of possible exclusion from the championship(s).

      The saying – if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying – has been applied to racing before. In this case it is ridiculous to think that if Mercedes thought they were cheating that they could ever get away with a risky test like this.

      So, if Mercedes thinks they have an ace in the hole, I guess we’ll have to wait to find out what it is. What could be an ace in the hole in this case? What you got Mercedes? What you got? If it’s nothing and the penalty wipes out their season, they would have been better off shredding tires in all the remaining races. And, heads should roll.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th June 2013, 23:07

        Do you honestly think they did it without believing it was legal?

        I suspect that is what the tribunal will find: that the test was conducted in a fuzzy area of the rules, that there was no intent to gain an unfair advantage, and that whatever advantage was gained was minimal and impossible to quantify.

      • Ivano (@) said on 5th June 2013, 23:57

        If Merc are guilty, then either Lauda or Wolff risk the door as they’re higher up than Brawn.

      • Tomas Andersson (@celebmir) said on 6th June 2013, 0:22

        Mercedes may have taken a calculated risk here.
        They knew that they had no chance in the championship but if they did the tests they may improve, convert a pole to a win. If they later will get punished they still have those good results and media cover. True they loose money if they get punished in the constructors but they were already being punished by the tire so the risk was well worth taking.
        They may even not loose any goodwill since selfish “winning attitude” seems to be applauded in F1. Last seen by Seb ignoring team orders.
        Also what they learn may trickle over to 2014 since I don’t see any other tire manufacturer to step in in time for next year.

        I agree that 2-3 race bans seems like the most fair outcome, then at least the other teams will reach the same mileage. It has to happen real soon though and I don’t see that FIA can do that quick enough.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 3:39

          I don’t think there is much precedence if any in F1 that would support the argument that one 3 day test, and very likely a tire test not a normal F1 team test, turns a car from being a distant 4th in the WCC, to a race winner. That would have had to have been one miraculously successful test, imho, and given that Merc couldn’t solve their rear tire wear issue with a completely new car from last year’s would mean some kind of unearthly phenomenon will have had to happen at that test for Merc to now be a race winner. (at venues that aren’t gentle on tires like Monaco of course)

          We now know one thing…the charge (sorry they haven’t been charged with anything) so… the accusation of Mercedes breaking the in-season testing ban rule will be dropped. Ferrari was exonerated, therefore Pirelli must have been deemed within their rights by their contract to do a test with them, so the issue for Mercedes will not be that they tested with Pirelli.

          So to me the questions will surround the use of a 2013 car, perhaps the use of the primary drivers, and was data shared with Mercedes that would advantage them. Pirelli will then, imho, answer that a 2013 car and their primary drivers were crucial for continuity to nail down proper tires for the rest of the season, and I find it almost impossible that Pirelli will have tried to interfere with the Championship, for they would have nothing to gain and only everything to lose by doing that.

          • Luc said on 6th June 2013, 7:30

            Except Merc decided to bring their two current drivers and current car, not Pirelli!

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th June 2013, 10:42

            Pirelli may have requested that Mercedes use the 2013 car.

            The problem they have faced until now is that they have been testing tyres on chassis that are two years old. So while the tyres are behaving as expected during their private testing, the tyres have been producing some odd behaviour and unexpected and unintended side-effects. By using the 2013 car, Pirelli would circumvent that problem and get data from a car that is up-to-date.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th June 2013, 12:04

            @prisoner-monkeys

            Pirelli may have requested that Mercedes use the 2013 car.

            Pirelli said they didn’t.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th June 2013, 12:08

          @keithcollantine – Reading that article, am I to understand that Pirelli believe Mercedes negotiated the use of the 2013 car directly with the FIA?

          The use of the car utilised by Mercedes, in particular, was the result of direct communication between FIA and the team itself. Pirelli did not ask in any way that a 2013 car be used: not of Mercedes nor FIA nor the teams which, during the year, were offered the opportunity of participating in tests for the development of tyres for 2014.”

          If that is indeed the case, then it is very strange that the FIA should be calling Mercedes to the tribunal. If Mercedes had to negotiate the use of the W04 with the FIA in advance, then that means that the FIA had to know about the test in advance. So why didn’t they move to stop it then, and why are they calling Mercedes to the tribunal over it, since they would have had to have approve it?

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 6th June 2013, 12:23

            I’d simply interpret that statement to mean that Pirelli feel that the use of a 2013 car is between Mercedes and the FIA, and not really their lookout.

            But, looking at all possibilities, the tribunal may have been called more for the fact that clearly by using a 2013 car, article 22 of the sporting regs have been broken, and the tribunal will clarify the circumstances surrounding it. So it gives Todt a chance to show off his new tribunal, and it means that the FIA can then effectively reveal that they did give permission for it to go ahead, and do so in a very clear way which satisfies all parties. All of which would be fine, but for the statement from the FIA effectively saying that this wasn’t the case and that no permission was given.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th June 2013, 12:46

            @mazdachris – Pirelli specifically said it “was the result of”, the wording of which implies that Pirelli had knowledge of discussions between the FIA and Mercedes. I doubt this is Pirelli interpreting something.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 13:03

            And what would make sense to me on this is that Pirelli has never wanted to influence the outcome for any one team…they simply wouldn’t gain from taking that risk, they would only lose hugely, so by not requesting a 2013 car, even if they thought that would be ideal and perhaps even essential, and by leaving that decision to talks between FIA and Mercedes, then Pirelli are not appearing to be helping Mercedes with this years effort. Pirelli’s aim is to help all team equally with tweaked tires for the rest of the season. They might have even told FIA that a 2013 car would be ideal of essential, but then left that decision in FIA’s lap.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 6th June 2013, 13:16

            @prisoner-monkeys – Perhaps, but we simply don’t know. When taken in isolation, yes that sentence could imply that, but the quote goes on to clarify that Pirelli themselves were no part of any discussions relating to the use of a 2013 car. It could simply be that when Mercedes turned up at the test with their current car, Pirelli asked if they were allowed to use it and were told by Mercedes that they had talked about it with the FIA. It doesn’t mean that there was definitely a discussion that took place, or that Pirelli know/knew anything concrete to that effect.

            I mean, yes, this is one possible interpretation out of many. You could easily infer that the opposite was true. We simply don’t have enough information to do any more than speculate at the moment, so it would be dangerous to try and deliberately twist the facts to support our own personal theories.

            Personally I’m with @bascb in that, if it was the case that Mercedes had a definite agreement with the FIA, then there wouldn’t be any tribunal being called since there would be no question of whether or not Mercedes acted appropriately. As it is, the fact there is at least some ambiguity and doubt surrounding it, seems to be rather against the theory that such an agreement exists.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th June 2013, 13:21

            @mazdachris

            When taken in isolation, yes that sentence could imply that, but the quote goes on to clarify that Pirelli themselves were no part of any discussions relating to the use of a 2013 car.

            They didn’t have to be a party to those discussions to be aware that they took place. For example, when Mercedes showed up ready to test with the 20013 car, Pirelli could have asked why they were using it when they had normally tested with cars two years out of date, to which Mercedes could have easily replied “We asked the FIA and they said it was okay”.

      • vjanik said on 6th June 2013, 9:47

        @bullmello “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying”

        In that case Mercedes are trying a lot.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 13:40

          @mazdachris I think the reason for the tribunal is for F1 to appear to be doing their job as leaders and investigators to ensure there was no wrongdoing and to satisfy the teams and fans that everything is on the up and up given the unique circumstances with this year’s problematic tires. The use of a tribunal does not automatically imply wrongdoing or guilt, it implies answers to questions need to be cleared up before a final decision can be made, and I think that will be the case.

          Horner has been very vocal with his claim that Mercedes gained a massive advantage, so that accusation needs to be given an answer or a resolution. I note that Horner was also the most vocal about needing a change to the tires which most people have shot him down for as trying to influence their own betterment by being so vocal, and at the same time I haven’t heard Horner’s better idea as to how to achieve said better tires.

    • bertie (@bertie) said on 6th June 2013, 9:21

      Personally i think this whole saga feels very similar to the team orders saga with ferrari. I doubt mercedes will get much more than a slap on the wrist and will pave the way for the return of in season testing.

      • Ivano (@) said on 6th June 2013, 9:24

        @bertie

        o_0

        Seriously, in no ways it’s similar. This is a secret test where a single team gained an enormous advantage in data and car development.

        • I wish people would stop with this ‘secret’ nonsense. It was no more secret than Ferrari’s test. As Brawn said, if they wanted to have a secret test, they reallycould have made it secret. The ‘dodgy’ aspect of this whole debacle is the car used, thats it, really, and i for one, am certin someone like Merc wouldnt have done it if they didnt believe they were right in doing so. If anythink, this is a major fk up by someone in the FIA who gave them the go ahead.

          Lets just cut to the case, people are calling for ‘big punishment’ to Merc (without yet actually knowing full details) because they see Merc/Ham as a threat and if Merc get on top of their tyre issues, Merc could very well dominate given how strong their car is. Thats the bottom line. If this was a Caterham test, this wouldnt even be news.

      • Nomore (@nomore) said on 6th June 2013, 10:52

        @bertie
        OMG…
        Team orders are impossible to prove (unless the team or the driver admits) that’s why that rule were banned simply because no one could have prove it….if Ferrari or Massa were admitting that “team orders” were used then a penalty would have been certain.

        In this case we have a team (Mercedes) who broke the article 22 of the sporting regulations.
        You should not test with this year car or last year car. They got caught. They should pay the price now.

        The question is what price ?

  3. Nomore (@nomore) said on 5th June 2013, 22:16

    Test with a 2013 car incredible and again incredible

  4. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th June 2013, 22:17

    Kind of what I expected really: Ferarri are fine as they didn’t really contravene the rules and Mercedes seemed to be directly breaking them. I’d be surprised to not see some sort of sanction.

    • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 5th June 2013, 23:35

      Why could Ferrari be punished for using a 2-year-old car?
      At least the other teams can ask for permission to run a similar test, with a 2-year-old car I mean.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 3:57

        So if Ferrari didn’t contravene the rules by doing an in-season test (they have been exonerated) then so must Mercedes be exonerated from at least the accusation of breaking the in-season testing ban rule.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 4:45

          Oh…and I suggest that Pirelli has also been able to convince the tribunal that they did not share their data with Ferrari…that or Ferrari was able to convince them that Pirelli did not give them data, so that bodes well for Mercedes too. I just simply refuse to believe Pirelli would see anything to gain in helping Ferrari or Mercedes, and only everything to lose so why would they?

          • Dave (@davea86) said on 6th June 2013, 6:28

            The rule isn’t that you aren’t allowed to test at all during the season, it’s that you can’t test using a car from this year, last year or some other car which is significantly similar to a current car (I assume this rule is in place to prevent teams from building some ‘test car’ which might not exactly comply with current rules and isn’t one of their race cars but is designed to be representative of the current car). Teams can run old cars all they like during the season because they are considered different enough that it’s not an advantage. Ferrari have their Corse Clienti program where owners of old F1 cars can drive on race tracks.

            As for Pirelli giving data to the teams, I see no reason why they’d do it but it’d be very hard to prove one way or the other. Even if they didn’t give data to Mercedes, the test still would have been worth a lot to Mercedes, as Keith’s previous article outlines.

  5. andae23 (@andae23) said on 5th June 2013, 22:17

    “[...] it results from the inquiry that the conditions of this testing may constitute a breach of the applicable FIA rules.”

    So the FIA hasn’t decided anything yet. I’d say it’s pointless for us to discuss whether this test was legal or not, simply because we don’t have access to any crucial information. It’s something that has bothered me over the past few weeks – people judging and condemning based on speculation. Please stop doing that.

    What we can say is that the situation for Pirelli isn’t becoming any brighter. A tyre supplier basically has the role of being present, though also invisible (not Pirelli’s strongest point), so things like this aren’t doing Pirelli any favors. I really don’t see Pirelli supplying tyres in 2014 at the moment.

    What time scale are we talking about? When can we expect a ‘verdict’?

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 5th June 2013, 22:30

      I’m not sure this is strictly true. They’ve obviously decided that there’s sufficient evidence of wrongdoing that it warrants a full investigation. They’ve obviously looked at it in enough detail to be able to say that Ferrari didn’t do anything wrong, which rather implies that the also think that Mercedes did.

      Quite where Pirelli stand in this is rather hard to say.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 5th June 2013, 22:33

        Yeah, it’s not looking good for Mercedes, I have to admit. But I’d say compare this to an actual lawsuit: if you have to go to court, it’s not looking good for you – but it doesn’t immediately imply you’ve done something wrong. We just don’t know because we don’t know the details. And whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?

        • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 5th June 2013, 22:42

          Oh absolutely. But then when the only people in a position to say that Mercedes were allowed to do a test – the FIA – are the ones saying they think there’s evidence they did a test they weren’t allowed to do, it frankly doesn’t look great for them does it…

          • andae23 (@andae23) said on 5th June 2013, 22:50

            The statement says: “the conditions of this testing may constitute a breach”, so they are not saying if the test was illegal or not. I do agree with you that it doesn’t look good – and yes, it’s very likely they will get sentenced, but it’s a bit unfair to judge on something we really don’t have sufficient knowledge of.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 4:08

            To my knowledge, because teams certainly haven’t been doing it, the rule does not say you can do all the in-season testing you want as long as you don’t use your current car. So to me the issue is not that Ferrari were exonerated because they used a 2011 car…it will have been because they did a tire test with Pirelli which Pirelli has in their contract to do. That to me can be the only reason Ferrari have been exonerated, and therefore so should Mercedes be exonerated from the accusation of doing a Pirelli tire test during a testing ban period.

            I think this tribunal does not at all imply guilt. I think F1 has to show themselves as the leaders, the ones in charge, the ones that must investigate and come to a satisfactory resolution, and to do that they need to have their questions answered by Pirelli and Mercedes. There is at this point every possibility that the answers they get will be satisfactory, and so far at least we know the fact that Mercedes did this test will not be the concern. It will be the circumstances surrounding the test.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 6th June 2013, 9:11

            @robbie No, article 22.1 of the sporting regulations specifically prohibits testing during the season with a current car or a car which is representative of a current car. Since the 2011 Ferrari wouldn’t be considered representative of a current car (the aero has changed significantly enough to make it not at all useful as a testbed) then there’s no breach of article 22. However, since Mercedes used a current car, it is directly in contravention of the sporting regulations, which is why they have been called before the tribunal. The fact that the Ferrari test wasn’t conducted by its race team may also have had some bearing here – it was operated by their Corse Clienti division which generally specialises in letting people with massive chequebooks drive old F1 cars.

            The circumstances are very clear, really. Mercedes broke the rules, while Ferrari did not. What the tribunal will be to establish is whether dispensation was given by the FIA for Mercedes to break the rule. I’d say that if it was the work of a moment to prove that they HAD permission to do it, then it would have been cleared up by this point (and speculatively there wouldn’t have been this wall of secrecy around the test either..), so there is, at the very least, enough doubt in the minds of the FIA that they didn’t give permission for the test, that they believe it warrants investigation.

            I get that your opinion is that there was a need for testing to go ahead, but don’t confuse this with being a justification for breaking the rules. It’s not. Mercedes ARE guilty of breaking the rule, that much is beyond doubt. The rules may be stupid, but disagreeing with the rules does not automatically give you permission to break them, even if you can construct a compelling argument stating why the rule is wrong. The rule is still the rule, and if you wish to break it, you MUST first have permission to do so.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th June 2013, 22:51

        Lets not forget that Todt also has a new judiciary system in place which needs testing. So then having a highly sensitive case with some very worrying details and seemingly unclear/conflicting rules and contracts governing it is the perfect trial case to establish its status as such.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 13:23

          @mazdachris If you refer to some of the discussion above, it sounds like there is a strong case that Pirelli left the discussions about the use of a 2013 car to be between FIA and Mercedes, so I suspect FIA did give permission, and as I have stated before, they merely need claim once this all comes out to the public, that it was in the name of safety due to delaminating tires (even if it was really more about too many pit stops and too much delta running since Pirelli have said they didn’t need tests to solve the delamination issue).

          When you say Mercedes clearly broke the rules, you are making it sound like they acted on their own and insisted a 2013 car be used…ie. they wanted to glean information and advantage from said test. I simply don’t think this was anything but FIA and Pirelli agreeing that a test was needed and that Mercedes was a good choice to use and I suggest Pirelli may have even told FIA that a 2013 car would be ideal but they would leave that up to FIA to decide…’and by the way FIA keep in mind you wanted these degrady tires and now we have one shot to rectify them for the rest of the season, so work with us.’

          I know you want to see black and white enforcement of a black and white rule, but you also know F1 is famous for having shades of grey in their rules or finding shades of grey in the enforcement of them. I think this is a unique situation and I predict that the tribunal will find that safer tires were needed and they are satisfied that Mercedes was not given a ‘free test’ but Pirelli needed a test and did not share data with Mercedes.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 6th June 2013, 13:47

            I think you’re not really understanding the crux of what I’m saying.

            The rule is that you can’t test with a current (or representative of current) car during the season. Mercedes have done that. Unquestionably, a test took place which involved Mercedes’ current car and their two race drivers. This fact in itself means that Mercedes have definitely broken the sporting regulations. We can agree on this point. Mercedes definitely did a thing which the regulations say you can’t do.

            What needs to be established is whether or not there was an agreement in place whereby the FIA had given special permission for Mercedes to do this. If they did have and agreement, then Mercedes have done nothing wrong, and it will be for the FIA to explain to the rest of the grid why Mercedes were given this permission exclusively.

            If they don’t have this agreement, then they will rightly be punished.

            Now, the various parties have all given conflicting accounts but they can be broken down to the following points:

            Pirelli – have a contract that says they can run tyre tests through the year in certain exceptional circumstances. Tested previously with Corse Clienti using an old Ferrari, which is fine according to the rules. Claim that the FIA knew that the test was going ahead. Claim that Mercedes took the decision to bring a 2013 car to the test, and that Mercedes had an agreement with the FIA that this would be ok.

            Mercedes – State that they had an agreement with the FIA to use a 2013 car for this test, and that the FIA knew the test was going ahead

            The FIA – state that they were contacted about the possibility of a test using a 2013 car, and had set out certain conditions upon which this would be ok. Most notably that every team would need to be given the same opportunity to take part in the test. This, demonstrably did not happen, meaning that the FIA effectively say that permission wasn’t given for the use of a 2013 car. Also say they did not know that this specific test was going ahead.

            Now these statements are all in conflict, so some of them must be wrong. Either a deliberate lie, or the result of a misunderstanding, who knows, but someone’s statement is not correct.

            One thing sticks out though, which is that it seems extremely unlikely that, if there was an agreement between the FIA and Mercedes, that Mercedes wouldn’t have produced that agreement the moment anyone kicked up a stink about it. So far despite them claiming they had an agreement, there’s been no actual evidence of it. More than that; the very people who would be responsible for the agreement – the FIA – are the ones demanding that Mercedes and Pirelli appear before an International Tribunal to investigate the situation. Are we really going to assume that the FIA are effectively going to be investigating themselves for potentially lying? It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 14:14

            @mazdachris

            This, demonstrably did not happen, meaning that the FIA effectively say that permission wasn’t given for the use of a 2013 car. Also say they did not know that this specific test was going ahead.

            I agree with everything you have said above this block quote. I don’t see how Pirelli (I’m saying Pirelli because it was their test not Mercedes’ so it would be Pirelli’s and/or FIA’s job to organize the other teams if that was deemed essential) by not ensuring other teams were there, means they shouldn’t have used a 2013 car.

            One thing sticks out though, which is that it seems extremely unlikely that, if there was an agreement between the FIA and Mercedes, that Mercedes wouldn’t have produced that agreement the moment anyone kicked up a stink about it.

            This was a Pirelli test not a Mercedes test, and Mercedes would not have just gone ahead and produced agreements to anyone that asked. The onus is on FIA and Pirelli and lawyers and a tribunal to gather the necessary information, not for Mercedes to do so, let alone produce agreements.

            Are we really going to assume that the FIA are effectively going to be investigating themselves for potentially lying? It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

            Lol wouldn’t be the first time. I believe the tribunal will find that FIA and Pirelli deemed this test necessary from a safety standpoint and that it was a Pirelli tire test not a Mercedes F1 team test and no data was shared with Mercedes.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 6th June 2013, 14:51

            @robbie – see my post somewhere below about Article 22 of the sporting regulations. These regulations are binding for all teams who participate in the championship, including Mercedes. Running a 2013 car in a test IS a breach of this rule. If there wasn’t permission in place for them to breach this rule, then that’s their responsibility. While they may well have relied on Pirelli to satisfy the terms of the agreement, it would still be due diligence on the part of Mercedes to ensure that this had actually happened before doing something which would constitute a major violation of the sporting regulations. They can’t simply take Pirelli’s word for it that it’s ok. Indeed, Pirelli have effectively said that it was Mercedes who agreed with the FIA that it was ok to use a 2013 car, not them. Each party seems to be pointing the finger at the other and saying that they were the ones to get an agreement.

            There has been an investigation of sorts already – Ferrari, Mercedes, and Pirelli have all been asked to submit statements and supporting evidence to the FIA to consider. It seems remarkable that, if one of those pieces of evidence proved that there was an agreement in place, that it would then be referred to a tribunal for further investigation. Not impossible, I’ll grant you, but unlikely.

    • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 5th June 2013, 22:51

      @andae23 Totally agree about Pirelli. After F1 brought them nothing but misery they’re still seriously considering supplying tires in 2014?! Sounds crazy to me. And when F1 is left without tires for 2014 I’ll be doing a “grave dance” on the metaphorical graves of those responsible(=most of F1), it’s nothing short of what their shortsightedness deserves

      • GT_Racer said on 6th June 2013, 0:23

        After F1 brought them nothing but misery

        And a ton of cash.

        Pirelli gets paid by every team for the supply of tyres & also make cash from the commercial deals with FOM in the way of publicity from sponsorship around the track.

        The negative publicity may not be brilliant, But there brand name is still getting tons of exposure as don’t forget all the branding around the circuit gets seen on the TV news & newspapers & they don’t always mention the negative tyre stories.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 15:21

        @mazdachris

        There has been an investigation of sorts already – Ferrari, Mercedes, and Pirelli have all been asked to submit statements and supporting evidence to the FIA to consider. It seems remarkable that, if one of those pieces of evidence proved that there was an agreement in place, that it would then be referred to a tribunal for further investigation. Not impossible, I’ll grant you, but unlikely.

        I believe the purpose of the tribunal is to show everyone that justice is being served and that everything will come out on the up and up. There is so much buzz about this that even if an agreement has already been produced, FIA needs to show that a tribunal has taken everything into consideration and imho will come up with a conclusion that, once again, FIA and Pirelli agreed that a test was essential, and Mercedes was a third party brought in to assist in helping Pirelli do that test, without data being shared with Mercedes.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th June 2013, 17:34

          There is so much buzz about this that even if an agreement has already been produced, FIA needs to show that a tribunal has taken everything into consideration

          If that is how the Tribunal works, then it is not independent at all, and just as big a farce as the procedures that were ditched after Briatore proved it was no due process at all in court @robbie.

          I agree that it is possible that the FIA does not expect a real chance of a penalty but wants to use the opportunity to both test the new procedures and by doing so wants to make sure that everyone can rest assured that justice was in fact served.

          However personally I do not see it as an easy case for Mercedes to prove they did not test (in contrast to providing a car for a Pirelli test) with a car that is explicitly named in the testing ban regulation.

    • Vortex Motio (@vortexmotio) said on 5th June 2013, 23:16

      So the FIA hasn’t decided anything yet.

      Well… Jean Todt did decide to have the FIA IT decide the Pirelli / Mercedes case, which is interesting. Perhaps having them decide this controversial issue will ensure that no one could accuse him of prejudice either for, or against the two parties in the case.

      I’d say it’s pointless for us to discuss whether this test was legal or not, simply because we don’t have access to any crucial information.

      Yes, very true. For example, it’s certainly conceivable that Mercedes is innocent, and that Pirelli will receive a slap on the wrist for not inviting the FIA to the test.

      We won’t know till the crucial information is published.

  6. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 5th June 2013, 22:19

    Question is: what sort of punishment or action could we expect to be taken?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th June 2013, 7:03

      @atticus-2 – The problem in this case is that there is no precedent. Nobody has ever broken this rule before, so the FIA doesn’t have anything to refer back to as a guide for meteing out the appropriate penalty.

      What the FIA has to do is figure out exactly what happened to bring the test about. Mercedes aren’t stupid, so they were obviously convinced that the test was in some way legal. Then they have to work out what advantage – if any – Mercedes gained from the test, and how that advantage contributed to any success from that point on. And finally, they have to figure out how the effect of that advantage changed over time. The tribunal process allows for up to forty-five days between the formal summons and the actual hearing, and in that time, other teams may have made up the difference to Mercedes, negating the advantage.

      In the event of a guilty verdict, I think the most reasonable course of action would be to suspend Mercedes’ abiility to score Championship points for a race or two.

      • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 6th June 2013, 10:20

        @prisoner-monkeys I agree with most points.

        But I can also imagine a scenario where Mercedes deliberately broke the current rules to gain on the rivals in understanding any preconception of the 2014 tyres – after all, however quick they become this year, they are still likely to fall short of a championship in 2013. Why not take this risk then, when any likely action will only affect 2013? Nobody could imagine in the Tribunal, let alone prove they breached the rules deliberately.

        Of course this is kind of a conspiracy theory. A few against it: Pirelli already hinted at being a lot more conservative next year with less marginal tyres, saying that the teams will have their hands full with the new engine formula nevertheless. Which will likely be the case.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th June 2013, 10:38

          @atticus-2 – Because the 2014 tyres will change several times between now and the start of next season. What Mercedes used during the Barcelona test was really the rough draft for 2014. They’ll get refined and refined again before Pirelli settle on the precse make-up, and even then, they’ll be adjusted a few more times to fine-tune them. Whatever data Pirelli got from the test will be next to useless for understanding the 2014 tyres.

  7. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 5th June 2013, 22:31

    What sort of punishment would Mercedes get?
    I don’t know everything that happened, but going by the information I have at my disposal, maybe a 3 race ban for each Mercedes car would be the most suitable punishment.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th June 2013, 7:06

      Too many people are looking at this from the perspective that Mercedes did 1000km of testing, so their punishment should take place over 1000km. However, Mercedes were using the early builds of the 2014 tyres at the Barcelona test, and so any data that was gathered would not have been as useful as if they had been running the 2013 tyres. Furthermore, they wouldn’t have done the test unless they thought it was legal. The decision to do it seems to hinge on a clause in the contract with Pirelli allowing them to carry out an extraordinary test. From the sounds of things, Pirelli approached Mercedes and convinced Mercedes that the test was legal. So why should they be made to suffer when someone else is repsonsible for what happened?

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th June 2013, 10:08

        @prisoner-monkeys

        From the sounds of things, Pirelli approached Mercedes and convinced Mercedes that the test was legal.

        I don’t think Mercedes are that gullible. That sounds like a rather fanciful version of events designed to pin blame on Pirelli.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th June 2013, 10:25

          @keithcollantine – The point I’m trying to make is that I find it highly unlikely that Mercedes would have agreed to take part in the test without having some firm belief that it was totally legal.

          I can only speculate, but I believe this is going to come down to a paradox. On the one hand, the rules clearly ban in-season testing. On the other hand, Pirelli’s contract from 2011 apparently gave them the power to carry out an extraordinary test. The conflict may rise from the way the rules were re-written in 2012 and again for this year. In-season testing was permitted last year, with everyone going to the group test at Mugello. But the teams decided not to continue on with it, and so banned it for a second time. Since Pirelli had never taken up that extraordinary test when the rules were rewritten to re-ban testing, the paradox was created.

          It sounds to me like the test in Barcelona was Pirelli carrying out that extraordinary test. From what they have said, Mercedes did 100km on the 2013 tyres – which I believe is permitted under the rules allowing for filming days – and conducted the rest of the test on the first build of the 2014 tyres. I’m guessing that Mercedes thought the test would be legal because they would be using the 2014 tyres.

          • Asanator (@asanator) said on 6th June 2013, 12:14

            Pirelli’s contract from 2011 apparently gave them the power to carry out an extraordinary test. The conflict may rise from the way the rules were re-written in 2012 and again for this year. In-season testing was permitted last year, with everyone going to the group test at Mugello. But the teams decided not to continue on with it, and so banned it for a second time. Since Pirelli had never taken up that extraordinary test when the rules were rewritten to re-ban testing, the paradox was created

            It is not quite the paradox that you suggest, my understanding is the Pirelli do indeed have a clause which allows THEM to conduct a 1000km extraordinary test with a 2013 car. I still believe that it will all come down to who conducted the test rather than whether the test sanctioned or not. Now, Pirelli will have to have been helped to run the car by whoever supplied the car that much is clear, but let us also bear in mind that Pirelli have it’s own test drivers who could have been given a relatively free rein in the Mercedes simulators beforehand to get them up to speed before the test. But if the test was carried out by the Mercedes race team, mechanics and probably more importantly race drivers then there is an argument that Mercedes conducted the test (they could even have used their own test drivers to mitigate this argument), not Pirelli and certainly that the team and race drivers gained an advantage from it.

          • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 6th June 2013, 15:03

            The point I’m trying to make is that I find it highly unlikely that Mercedes would have agreed to take part in the test without having some firm belief that it was totally legal.

            Makes sense to me. At least they would have thought about it hard. Unless they decided to blindly take the risk knowing their disadvantage with tyres (which I doubt). Mercedes is a strong team and there is lot at stake for them to make blind decisions.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th June 2013, 12:14

          The point I’m trying to make is that I find it highly unlikely that Mercedes would have agreed to take part in the test without having some firm belief that it was totally legal.

          – I think you have a bit too much believe in Mercedes there.

          Now, I agree that Mercedes must have judged to have enough to debate the illegality of this test and get away with it without getting too harsh a penalty compared to what they gained. In other words, they thought there was enough grey and uncertainty to take a chance on it.
          But if Mercedes had a clearly worded dispensation (giving them a firm belief that it was totally legal) from the FIA to do so, that would have already been on the table by Saturday of the Monaco weekend, and now instead of debating Mercedes, we would be debating the scandal of the FIA giving them that.

        • Jason (@jason12) said on 6th June 2013, 12:39

          Gullible or not, they were approached by Pirelli.
          And to be on safe side they first confirmed with the FIA, which sounds very appropriate.

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 6th June 2013, 10:11

        Mercedes are entirely responsible for their own actions. Not only were they aware of the sporting regulations prohibiting them from testing with a current car, there were also documented discussions about this specific situation which went around last year where FOTA made it clear that any such test would require the full support of all teams involved.

        Pirelli may have a contract, and it may say any number of things on that contract, but ultimately it’s the FIA who make the rules not Pirelli. So Mercedes should have gotten full and absolute permissions from the FIA for this test to go ahead. If they didn’t do that, then they’re absolutely responsible for their own actions.

        As my mum would say, if Pirelli told you to go jump off a cliff, would you do that too?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th June 2013, 10:18

          there were also documented discussions about this specific situation which went around last year where FOTA made it clear that any such test would require the full support of all teams involved.

          The only documentation that I am aware of is an e-mail that was sent around a year before this came up. It seems unreasonable to expect a team of seven hundred people to be able to recall one of thousands of e-mails that dealt with a previously-obscure subject a year beforehand.

          Also, FOTA are not a governing body, and so they have no jurisdiction. As we’ve seen plenty of times, all it takes is one dissenting opinion – usually Red Bull’s – to upset the applecart.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 6th June 2013, 10:43

            Technically, under Concorde FOTA (representing the group interests of the teams) DO have authority in all situations where majority agreement is required. One of those situations naturally being any amendments to the sporting regulations once the season has started. While Concorde itself has expired it appears they still operate under the agreement that unanimous support is required in order to amend the rules.

            I think you’re being a bit disingenuous talking about hundreds of people remembering one email out of thousands. We’re talking about the team principle, who is ultimately responsible for deciding what the team does, who would definitely have been involved in the FOTA ruling in the first place, where the ruling is directly applicable to the situation right now. For Brawn to simply forget that they had discussed this previously would be ridiculous. And the FIA have indicated that more recent discussions have taken place, which also involved Mercedes, where they made it clear once again that all teams would have to be aware and be given equal opportunity to participate. Since this was allegedly never followed up on, then there seems no way that the FIA would have given permission for a test to go ahead. Ultimately if Mercedes don’t have solid documented evidence that the FIA gave them permission to do it, then they’re responsible for breaking the rules. Because as I say, the rules are very clear under the sporting regulations, and make absolutely no exceptions for testing future tyres or anything else.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 13:55

            @mazdachris

            Pirelli may have a contract, and it may say any number of things on that contract, but ultimately it’s the FIA who make the rules not Pirelli. So Mercedes should have gotten full and absolute permissions from the FIA for this test to go ahead. If they didn’t do that, then they’re absolutely responsible for their own actions.

            And I think Mercedes had permission or simply would not have done this test…the risks would be far far greater than the rewards of a single 3 day test, a tire test at that, unless you believe a single 3 day tire test can change a team into a Championship winner coming from a distant 4th.

            the rules are very clear under the sporting regulations, and make absolutely no exceptions for testing future tyres or anything else.

            Do they even mention future tires at all in the rules for the teams? That implies they thought to put in the rules this unique situation they’re in and I doubt they have. They just need to pull the safety card to cover the issue of why a team would get together with a tire maker to test future tires. But I can see why Pirelli would have that in their contract, given that they have been asked to make intentionally degrady tires and not the much more durable stable tires that we all know they can make but haven’t been asked to. Even last year’s degrady tires, left unchanged for this year, would have meant a unique in-season test with a team would not have been needed.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 6th June 2013, 14:34

            @robbie

            Have a look for yourself. You can view the whole set of regulations on the FIA’s website – they’re available for download as a PDF. But here are the crucial points:

            22) TRACK AND WIND TUNNEL TESTING

            22.1 Track testing shall be considered any track running time not part of an Event undertaken by a competitor entered in the Championship, using cars which conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year. The only exception is that each competitor is permitted up to eight promotional events, carried out using tyres provided specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier, to a maximum distance of 100kms per event.

            22.4 No track testing may take place :

            h) 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 with the following exceptions :
            i) 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.
            ii) 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.
            iii) If a team declares that one of its current race drivers is to be substituted by a driver who has not participated in an F1 race in the two previous calendar years, one day of track testing will be permitted between the start of a ten day period which precedes the start of the second Event and the last Event of the Championship. The following must be observed :
            - Any such day may only be carried out by the new driver and may not take place on a circuit hosting a race in the current Championship year.
            - Any such day may only take place within a period 14 days prior to the substitution and 14 days after the substitution has taken place.
            - If a team, having declared the driver’s substitution and performed the test, does not then enter an Event with the new driver, the team will be penalised by a reduction of one day from the pre-season track testing days available in the following year.

            22.7 During all Formula One track testing :
            a) Red flag and chequered flag procedures must be respected.
            b) No other type of vehicle is permitted on the track.
            c) Every reasonable effort should be made to ensure that the recommendations concerning emergency services detailed in Article 16 of Appendix H to the Code are followed.

            So just to clarify that – Article 22.1 effectively outlines what constitutes a ‘test’. Effectively any running of a current F1 car outside of an event. It then says about the exception being promotional events – these would range from the kind of public running on the streets where the drivers do donuts and stuff, to the kind of special filming days which might take place on a current F1 track. I believe, for instance, that Red Bull did one of these last week at Silverstone with Martin Brundle. You’ll note that the only mention of tyres is under the exception, where it simply stipulates the use of tyres specifically provided for the purpose of promotional events. These might range from wet tyres, through special super-hard display tyres, all the way through to a representative, unmarked race tyre, though naturally in the case of the latter there will be all sorts of agreements in place to prevent that from being of practical benefit to the team. The mileage in any case, would be restricted to 100km. Now, the really important thing to note here is that the definition of a test is not defined in any way by the tyres. It doesn’t specify that a test is only a test if the car is run on current spec tyres – so even if you bolted on 2014 development tyres, it would still be a test, according to Article 22.1.

            Article 22.4 outlines the periods during which a test must not take place. Subsection H effectively prohibits testing during a period which starts ten days prior to the opening event, and finishes on the 31st of December the same year. It then lists the few exceptions to this, which is where the ability to run straightline and constant radius testing comes from. There’s also an exception which allows the team to run a single driver test if they need to replace their current race driver for some reason, though that’s not really applicable in this situation.

            I’ve also included Article 22.7 since this is an interesting side point to note, in the case that the FIA didn’t have a representative at the test. There are rules governing how such a test must be carried out, and without an FIA overseer, it may not be possible to ensure that this was complied with either.

            So, if we take these rules to be absolute, then by the letter of the rules we must conclude that the test in which Mercedes participated was in breach of Article 22 since it was within the period during which the testing ban applies, and the test did not conform with any of the requirements where there may be an exception. We can only conclude that there is no exception within the sporting regulations which would make provision for such a test to take place. The question rests, therefore, on whether or not there is any other agreement in place which would overrule the sporting regulations in this situation.

          • Vortex Motio (@vortexmotio) said on 6th June 2013, 16:13

            @mazdachris @robbie Regarding the potential breach of Article 22.1, the key phrase there, (and the whole reason for the original protest by RB and Ferrari), the key phrase is,

            …undertaken by a competitor entered in the Championship…

            . Pirelli, and Mercedes are all saying that the test was “undertaken” by Pirelli, not Mercedes. Remember, when asked, the FIA gave conditional approval for this test with a 2013 car because they saw the test was to be “undertaken” by Pirelli.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 17:10

            For now I have to leave my response to you @mazdachris as agreement with what @vortexmotio just said…this was a Pirelli test. I also note with a quick scan of the rules you have posted that nothing is mentioned about safety, and I still say it is very possible that the FIA can pull the safety card, which they will say makes this test exceptional and is hard to argue against in the name of saving a driver, or marshall, or fans life.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 6th June 2013, 17:25

            @robbie – I think at this point we’re just going round in circles. I’m really not trying to prejudge this at all, simply pointing out to you why on the face of it, there has been a breach of the rules. As you say there is no exception there made for exceptional testing on the grounds of safety – I guess it’s assumed that the tyre supplier will bring tyres to the races which they already know are safe. What I would say is that I would find it very hard to justify 900km of testing on 2014 tyres using the justification of safety. There is no emergency need to test 2014 constructions in the interests of safety. Only the exceptional changes to the 2013 construction would realistically fall into this category. It would also not really marry up with Pirelli’s claim that they have also got further tests planned with other teams.

            The FIA, ultimately, can say whatever they like. I mean, if they decide that they want to change the sporting regulations on a whim, then right now they could do that. Without any Concorde agreement, it’s debatable how binding any rule really is right now. The decision lies with the FIA, absolutely, no question about it. The point really is that the FIA have made a statement to the effect that – they didn’t know the test was happening – that the requirements they laid out to Pirelli under which such a test could be conducted don’t appear to have been met. So, y’know, something really doesn’t add up. I’m not saying at this point that any one party is in the wrong, or lying, or will get a punishment. I’m just saying that it’s impossible to reconcile the statements made by all three parties since they appear to contradict each other.

            I appreciate you think there was plenty of justification for a test. On this point I totally agree. This situation where you have a tyre manufacturer expected to develop tyres for an apex motorsport while not being allowed to bolt a single tyre to a car, is utterly ludicrous. I don’t know why anyone is surprised that there are tyre problems when both supplier and teams are having to guess what each other’s products are actually going to be like, rather than working collaboratively to try and create something which works in harmony. But it’s important to remember that no amount of personal feeling on the subject actually changes the rules. I may want there to be 20,000km of testing a year, and I could write a flawless justification for exactly why it should happen. But that won’t matter one bit – the rules are exactly as they stand, and every player must operate within the boundaries of those rules.

            I feel that you believe strongly that Mercedes and Pirelli have acted correctly in this matter. I am simply pointing out to you that on the face of it, there seems to be plenty to suggest that this is not the case. You seem bent on ignoring all of those points which seem to contradict your own opinion, so honestly I can’t see that there’s a lot of point in keeping up this debate. I am trying to objectively analyse the situation based on the facts as we understand them.

  8. dcjohnson (@dcjohnson) said on 5th June 2013, 22:31

    F1 needs to be careful…its becoming as realistic as WCW (or WWF). They (Teams, FIA, Bernie…etc) know exactly what when on, yet the fans get this ridiculous “show of half truths”, propaganda followed by counter propaganda …I think this distracts from the great things about the sport and damages F1.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th June 2013, 23:24

      @dcjohnson On the contrary the sport’s governing body showing that it will enforce its own rules can only be a good thing for F1.

      I agree that a team breaking the rules may not reflect well on F1, but that is not an excuse for the FIA to hush it up in the interests of good PR.

      • dcjohnson (@dcjohnson) said on 5th June 2013, 23:55

        @keithcollantine I truly envy your ability to believe anything that comes out of the f1 circus during one of these scandals…and I’m amazed that anyone would think that the FIA is a governing body ? Bet Bernie would find that funny !

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th June 2013, 10:15

          @dcjohnson – You’re forgetting the fundamental that has taken place in the past few years: Max Mosley has gone, and he has been replaced by Jean Todt. And Todt has gone to great lengths to actually run the FIA as a governing body, and not a way to live viscerally though the teams. The International Tribunal is his creation, designed to specifically address the shortcomings of handling disputes like this. I see no reason to doubt its ability to function as intended.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 6th June 2013, 12:42

            @prisoner-monkeys

            I think it’s pretty remarkable that they’re making a big issue out of this when it’s obviously so politically damaging for them to do so. I wonder if, to some extent, Mercedes and Pirelli were expecting the FIA to be a little more complicit when it came to working outside of the rules, on account of the political clout of the two companies, and the personal relationship between Brawn and Todt. If that’s the case then it’s clearly an error on their part, and very commendable for the FIA to be taking a hard stance on it and dealing with it through the official channels. It’s the biggest thing that was missing from the Mosley years, where decisions were often made arbitrarily with little or no justification given, nor any attempt made to be fair or consistent in the implementation of the sporting and technical regulations.

            Especially when you consider how potentially damaging this could be, given the current murky situation with tyre contracts – contracts with Pirelli which have been tabled by the tyre manufacturer, but not accepted by the teams. If the FIA effectively demonstrate misconduct on the part of Pirelli in breach of their contract, then it will be even harder to convince teams to sign off on the 2014 tyre deal. Especially problematic given that the main alternatives have all ruled themselves out, and there appears to be nobody else able to step in at this point to supply tyres in their stead. Very troubling indeed.

  9. Ivano (@) said on 5th June 2013, 22:34

    For me the best punishment would be to give the other teams 2000km of tests with the new tyres.

    • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 5th June 2013, 22:43

      @ivano Not good for cost saving unless Merc pay for it. But that would create even more problems

    • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 5th June 2013, 22:56

      I said that before and people said “2000? that would be unfair!” but I agree with you @ivano

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th June 2013, 23:34

      @omarr-pepper @ivano The problem is logistic. By the time all teams can do test, maybe after Silverstone, 2 races would have past. Three races, including Monaco, with Mercedes running and unfair, IMHO, advantage. So maybe Mercedes already won lots of knowledge so what if by the time the new test happened, Mercedes has already gain so much they win one or both championships.

      And then there is the cost.

      • Ivano (@) said on 5th June 2013, 23:43

        @celeste @omarr-pepper

        For the cost, let Merc pay. For logistics won’t be a problem. There’s a 3 week gap between Canada and the next GP, and a lot of fans will pay to see go the teams test either in GB or Italy.

        • GT_Racer said on 6th June 2013, 0:33

          Yes there’s a 3 week gap after Montreal, However these things have to be planned weeks in advance.

          Also what about the team personnel?
          One of the reasons testing was banned (Other than costs) was to give the crew more time at home with there families. There already on the road away from home more than anyone ideally wants to be. The break after Montreal will also include a break for the crews which would also have been planned some time ago.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 4:54

            What a massive waste of time and money that would be to give all the teams 2000km worth of tire testing where no data is shared and they don’t know anything about the tires they are on, because there is no way Pirelli gave Mercedes that info so why would they give it to the other teams?

          • Ivano (@) said on 6th June 2013, 7:17

            @robbie

            LOL, Pirelli never gave that info to Mercedes? And you think Mercedes did not gathers theirs? That’s funny.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 14:28

            @ivano Yes I believe strongly that Pirelli would not want to nor would share data with Mercedes and affect their potential Championship standing that way. There’s absolutely nothing Pirelli would gain from that since everyone is on the same tires and they don’t have another tire maker to beat, so can you tell me why Pirelli would advantage Mercedes by giving them data. Imho they would only stand to lose in integrity, and reputation, and would likely get sued all the way to Mars if they were found to have been trying to help Mercedes, so again…why do you think then Pirelli would do that? Nobody has yet given me an answer to that question and I’ve been asking it for 3 or 4 days now.

            Mercedes may have some data, but it will be of little use since this was a Pirelli tire test and Mercedes would not have been informed at any given time what exactly the construction and compound of tires they were running. So Mercedes would not know how to match up any little data they may have toward an understanding of what tires made their car behave in what way.

            Furthermore, the bulk of the test was for 2014 tires, and were tested on a 2013 car, so any data Mercedes might have would be useless given that they haven’t even built their 2014 car and don’t even know if and when 2014 tires were on their 2013 car and even if those are going to be the final product for 2014, or were they just ideas as to the direction Pirelli will go with next year’s tires.

  10. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 5th June 2013, 22:43

    How was it with the double diffuser? What was FIA’s wording in that case?
    If Ross looses this one, he’ll be toast at Mercedes. Or did someone above him authorize?
    As I replied at the round up: pay 5 million, miss 6 fridays.
    You could argue about subtracting the points from Monaco and I would be fine if that doesn’t mean that others get more points. Only mercedes should get less.

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th June 2013, 22:49

      Back in 2011 when Sauber was disqualified from Australia, every driver gained one position. So that will be probably what will heppened if Mercedes is excluded from Monaco. But I think Keith wrote back them that the result can´t change anymore.

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 5th June 2013, 22:59

        I think that was while the case was still with the race stewards but the race result had already been called. Once the result is called the race stewards can’t change it, but the statement made by the FIA appeared to imply that the tribunal had the power to overrule the decisions of the stewards. Including the race result.

    • Zantkiller (@zantkiller) said on 5th June 2013, 23:13

      Fridays are only sometimes used for testing so banning them from Friday sessions seems incredibly harsh and slightly dangerous not giving them time to prepare the car for the weekend races.

      Letting all the teams but Mercedes do 1000Km worth of testing sounds much more fair.
      Also I would add 2 years suspended disqualification as well.

      But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The trial hasn’t started and the details have not emerged. Once that has happened then we can discuss the proper punishment.

  11. Macademianut (@macademianut) said on 5th June 2013, 22:58

    I will ask the same question again in this forum. Let’s say Mercedes shows that FIA indeed gave it the approval to use the 2013 car and current drivers. Who in FIA will get punished? Just curious.

  12. PhilEReid (@philereid) said on 5th June 2013, 22:58

    This probably isn’t even a factor in the decision, but, what happens if the punishment is that Mercedes get a number of race bans, would that effect T.V viewing figures, what with the grid dropping down to a smaller number, and, the fact that there is a huge following of Hamilton (and probably Rosberg, although not really sure). With that, would they deem to not use a punishment such as this?

    I think that if they are going to dish out a punishment (which seems likely) would it be similar to McLaren in 2007? Or, is it possible Mercedes will skip punishment and can push the blame to Pirelli. It seems unlikely, but I still have a part of my mind which tells me that there’s no way Mercedes would take part in such an event if they even had a doubt in their minds that it was illegal. Or maybe I’m being too naive.

    • Ivano (@) said on 5th June 2013, 23:06

      @philereid

      As I can see your point, I think the majority of fans are between Ferrari and McLaren, also Lewis isn’t half of the sport, maybe an eighth of the fanbase considering Alonso, Vettel, Kimi, Jenson, then the others.

      So I don’t think it will affect the viewers ratings, if anything, it will boost them up for curiousity, and even more upon their return.

      • PhilEReid (@philereid) said on 5th June 2013, 23:20

        @ivano

        It’s a good point. As I say, it was just a thought, and it’ll have probably such a minimal impact either way.

        Although, thinking about it, the British GP is coming up. Would that have any weighting to it?

        • Ivano (@) said on 5th June 2013, 23:28

          @philereid

          Very interesting point there.

          And this is where the ban might get political, especially as right afterwards it’s the German GP. Perhaps they’ll drag the trial till after then, so if it’s ban, it will be only after Germany.

  13. Vortex Motio (@vortexmotio) said on 5th June 2013, 23:00

    The FIA’s statement mentions both Pirelli and Mercedes, yet only Mercedes is mentioned in this headline and article…

    To be clear the statement says essentially that Jean Todt has brought “the case concerning the tyre testing session carried out by Pirelli and Mercedes… before the FIA International Tribunal… because… the conditions of this testing may constitute a breach of the applicable FIA rules.”

    Let the assuming commence!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th June 2013, 23:37

      @vortexmotio

      The FIA’s statement mentions both Pirelli and Mercedes, yet only Mercedes is mentioned in this headline and article…

      Both are mentioned in the article in the second paragraph.

      As for the headline, obviously the entirety of an article is never going to be encapsulated in the headline alone. Most of the time the headline is only going to include the most interesting detail.

      As it happens in this case I chose to use a longer headline than usual (breaking across two lines on the full-size homepage, which not common practice) because I wanted to contrast Mercedes being investigated with Ferrari being exonerated, thereby including what I consider the two most significant details of the story.

      Pirelli, of course, are not competitors. Whatever sanctions the FIA might hand down it’s the ones that affect the teams that have the greatest consequence for this year’s world championship, which is why I consider the outcome for the teams more significant.

      • Vortex Motio (@vortexmotio) said on 6th June 2013, 0:08

        @keithcollantine Yes, well done going long on the headline. I’m not being facetious in this compliment, as it works, it’s dramatic.

        And I stand corrected on the article. I understand your point about the implications for the 2013 championship.

        (The lead sentence was perhaps the missed opportunity, candidly, but I’m not an editor!)

        It’s worth thinking about the 2014 championship. This action today on this case will change the tire testing schedule, as Pirelli indicated that they intend to do at least one other test with another team. Given the change in cars for next season, one result of this action may be delays in development of, or incomplete development of the 2014 tyres, which are due this September.

        Also, it’s within the realm that Jean Todt found that Pirelli was in violation of FIA rules, but not Mercedes. (I don’t know if I’d bet money on that, but it’s possible.) In such a situation, it would be wise for him to pass that judgement to the FIA IT so as not appear prejudicial on this controversial case.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th June 2013, 2:26

          Well done Keith…my initial reaction to the headline was, hey what about Pirelli? Excellent point and excellent thinking on your part about the contrast to Ferrari being exonerated and then the pending decision on Mercedes as two teams whose Championship rally can be affected by the tribunal’s decisions vs. whatever they decide for Pirelli.

          I believe that this is not evidence of enough ‘wrongdoing’ as MazdaChris suggests, but enough reason to have their questions answered by Pirelli and Mercedes, and I think they have to appear to be leaders, and show concern and that their role is to ensure that no wrongdoing was done.

  14. celeste (@celeste) said on 5th June 2013, 23:08

    Interesting FOTA Fan Forum about to start, Rosberg is set to appear and is not there. Probably PR briefing after FIA stament?

  15. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 5th June 2013, 23:25

    I never understood why, back in 2007, the McLaren drivers kept their points while the team was DSQed. If you win a race in an illegal car, you have an illegal victory, despite the skills you can show.
    I understand that championship would have ended in a boring way without Lewis and Fernando battling till the end, but “exciting” and “fair” are usually very different from each other.

    If Mercedes is found guilty of “cheating”, Nico should lose the Monaco victory (and points) as well as Hamilton with his share of points.
    (and before people throw rocks at me) Vettel should keep just the 18 points to keep the standings as they are. I don’t know if excluding the first automatically brings more points to all the rest, but that could be a “very fair” solution, to just keep the other drivers with the same points.

    • Ivano (@) said on 5th June 2013, 23:40

      @omarr-pepper

      Well actually, if they did DSQ the McLaren drivers, then Ferrari would have allowed Massa to battle for the title against Kimi. So it wouldn’t have been totally over from a championship’s perspective.

    • Stagger (@stagger) said on 6th June 2013, 11:14

      I never understood it either but as it turned out it lead to one of the most amazing finishes of a championship, what troubled me at this moment was what happend to Lewis Hamilton, even thought i was and still am Kimi fan, at the middle of the race in Brazil when his car just slowed down for almost a minutes getting him out of the position to win the WDC and after that all was ok and he could run again. You might call it conspiracy theory but i think it was a deal under the table to McLaren ” your drivers will not loose their points, but no matter what, you wont win the WDC.” If it happend before it can happen again imo.

      • Ivano (@) said on 6th June 2013, 13:58

        @stagger

        Where this theory crumbles is that the day after the Brazilain GP, McLaren tried to get the Williams’ fuel investigated to get them omitted from the result, and bumping Lewis a place up to win the title.

        • Stagger (@stagger) said on 6th June 2013, 16:26

          @ivano Still if you wanna build this conspiracy theory you can do it even with their requested investigation to Williams team. I will get it out of my mind only if i know what was the real problem on Hamiltons car… and I dont know that…
          Imagine how all the other team with react if Hamilton or Alonso won the WDC that year while they got banned as constructors.

          • Ivano (@) said on 7th June 2013, 15:03

            @stagger

            Well then, Lewis and McLaren then did a terrible job at it. They should have just switched off his engine from the pits, and Lewis played it very slow. Which is why doubt very much they threw it away. Otherwise they would have done it way before Brazil, upon Belgiun after the verdict instead of fighting to the end. As well in my car jacked up to eat Porsches, I’ve encountered similar problems with my electronics, suddenly the car has no power, no gears, then 2 minutes later it goes again, and the mechanic later finds no problems with it, only that it’s common with electronics.

    • DaveW (@dmw) said on 6th June 2013, 17:09

      The answer is that the car was not “illegal.” It was never ruled inconsistent with the sporting regulations.

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