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

2013 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.

Mercedes and Ferrari Pirelli tyre test row

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

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  1. I’m glad to see that happening and want to see they get punished for that. And when i mean they , i’m referring to Mercedes but the other part to Pirelli, because they to are guilty in this process.
    For Mercedes, they should have a 3 bane race aand get thrown out of the constructor championship, also every team should have the same oppurtunity for drving like they did.

    As for Pirelli, if guity, they shouls see the contract terminated as soon as possible, or open to other manufacturers, i’m sick and tyre of discussing almos evrything and to ear more the tyre supplier that other teams and drivers. This should be racing, and racing is to beat the best, if you “race” alone like Pirelli case, ypu’re just getting to the finish line…

    1. @hipn0tic

      For Mercedes, they should have a 3 bane race aand get thrown out of the constructor championship, also every team should have the same oppurtunity for drving like they did.

      The last time a team was excluded from a championship was when McLaren were found to have used Ferrari’s designs in their car. Mercedes carrying out an illegal test is nowhere near the same scale as that, so excluding them from the championship is not an option because it’s disproportionate.

      As for Pirelli, if guity, they shouls see the contract terminated as soon as possible, or open to other manufacturers

      Pirelli’s contract expires at the end of 2013. However, there is no time for another supplier to develop tyres in time for 2014. Hankook and Bridgestone have already ruled it out. Furthermore, Pirelli appear to have carried out the test with the understanding that it was permitted because their contract allowed them to carry out an extraordinary test.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      6th June 2013, 14:03

      A 3 race ban and thrown out of the constructor’s championship?

      There are 10 teams in F1 now and the most valuable of those teams right now many would say is Mercedes. The FIA cannot punish Mercedes anymore than they can punish Ferrari. The fact that they exonerated Ferrari creates a double-standard. That’s made even more serious by the fact that every penny that Jean Todt has come from Ferrari’s coffers. Hopefully, the tribunal is for show and libations because if the FIA is serious no other car German manufacturer will ever touch F1 with a 10 foot stick and that includes BMW, Audi and Porsche.

      It’s bad enough the technology is not transferrable to anything other than a McLaren P1, LaFerrari and the new 2.9 million Pagani Zonda.

      Second, I’m going to venture a guess that Mercedes is one of Pirelli’s customers and if anyone should get a test it should be them because after all if you have a customer who has paid you a billion dollars you’d prefer them over another customer who has used your tires for free.. Unless you believe that fairness should rule the world and that Mercedes should enter F1, spend a bazillion euros and run 10th…

      If the world was fair, I’d be a Master Jedi by now;-)

      1. How “valuable” Merc is, is completely irrelevant. Taking that into account would only confirm the claims that the sport these days is all about politics.
        They need the punishment according to their offence. Regardless of who they are.
        The reason FIA don’t care about Ferrari’s test, is because it was carried out with a 2 years old chassis. That is lightyears away from testing with a current car.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          6th June 2013, 18:56

          It’s quite relevant when you are paying billions of dollars to compete. Pirelli had the right to run the test they chose Mercedes for obvious reasons. End of story… The FIA cannot “slap” Mercedes – it’s just not acceptable from a business standpoint. They are not equals. McLaren they could penalize them because McLaren had to stay in F1 since it’s their main business. F1 is not Mercedes’ main business – in fact, it’s a money pit that they engage in for fun and glory and they have not seen much of either lately…

          I’m sure from MB’s perspective, Formula 1 owes them not the other way around. To penalize them would be an insult that the FIA will never be able to wipe off and no other car manufacturer would be interested in F1 again. Why bother with it?

  2. How about; No more friday practice for Mercedes during the Championship.

    1. @pstaffan – That’s completely unfair. The FIA have to determine what, if any, advantage Mercedes got from the test. Then they need to decide on a penalty that is proportionate to the offence. Banning them from taking part in Friday practice is unfair because the test in Barcelona was used to assess the early designs of the 2014 tyres, but Friday practice is used for car set-up, and qualifying and race simulations – which Mercedes weren’t doing in Barcelona. That’s two entirely different uses of the time, and so it’s therefore an unfair penalty.

      Also, there is nothing that allows the FIA to suspend a team from taking part in Friday practice, so it’s not a penalty they can give for one race, much less every race between now and the end of the season.

      1. Not to mention Mercedes will have helped all the teams have better tires, and helped the fans enjoy better racing with potentially no more delaminations, fewer 4 stop races, and less delta time running, so why should Mercedes be punished for helping everyone?

    2. As I’ve mentioned before I think the appropriate and best punishment would be for Mercedes to have to disgorge all data and all related analytical work-product gained from the test to their competitors. That would more than “even” things up as the other teams would necessarily gain far information about the Mercedes car and data systems than they would have dreamed. That would sting Mercedes far more than being excluded from the title, because it’s not like they are going to win either title this year.

      1. They don’t have the data…Pirelli does. Mercedes would have nothing useful to share.

  3. everyone should read the autosport article about the international tribunal and how it works – time frame, penalties, the tribunals independance from fia. very interesting read. on their website linked in the cover article

  4. For those wondering who conducted the test?

    From Rosberg:

    “It was a full on Pirelli test – they dictate what we do. We have no say whatsoever – they say you are doing that, that, that and that and the engineers that they have run our programme. So it is not for us to learn anything or to decide on anything that we do.”

    1. He races for Mercedes. Of course you’ll be saying that.

      1. Because it’s the truth.

        1. @robbie
          And you know that, how?

          1. Because I have a strong belief that Pirelli would only have everything to lose by doing anything underhanded, and nothing to gain. Same with Mercedes. There’s just way too much at stake and it simply wouldn’t be worth the risk.

        2. Sure it’s the truth, we trust what Ros & Ross says to us…why not….

          we folks are ready to trust everything..

    2. Just a question for you did you excpect Rosberg to say :

      Guys we get caught, we tried to do something illegal, we thought to run away with it…but unfortunately we got caught…

      you really expected this…

    3. If Pirelli ran the test then why were there own test drivers not used?

      Both Jaime Alguersuari & Lucas Di Grassi are contracted Pirelli drivers & its usually them who do all F1/GP2/GP3 tyre testing during the Pirelli test’s.

      Whatever the rights/wrong of the test taking place, I don’t believe Hamilton or Rosberg should have been driving the car.

  5. Tests aimed at 2014 should not affect 2013 racing, period.

    1. test conducted during season when the rules say there is no testing whould not have happened period.

      1. Correct, but it did thanks to negligence from the FIA, and Pirelli’s invite.

        Someone should have ensured that this test did not occur.
        Merc must have thought the invite was special, and supersedes all other restrictions.
        Which is a fair assumption….

        1. i doubt it was FIA negligance, and i doubt Merc had that assumption. its more likely mercedes just decided to bend the rules and hope to get away with it. and they nearly did. if it was FIA negligance and if it was legal, it would not have gone this far to the tribunal – which is an independent panel outside of the FIA (apparently). even so if there was FIA negligance, the team still had the “choice” to break the rules. i dont see how a pirelli contract with a seemingly half true invitation cited by the FIA and not correctly worded to include the 2013 car, and other teams not knowing about the matter – how that will have any precedence over the sporting codes which are pretty balck and white about the issue.

  6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th June 2013, 15:02

    Noone has mentioned the fact that Pirelli can make a serious claim that the FIA’s investigation could be interfering with Pirelli’s main business because in all honesty the only serious client in F1 would be Mercedes and Fiat through its association with Ferrari.

    Pirelli could easily threaten and they could even leave midseason.

    On the flipside, should Merc decide to leave they would be leaving on the tail end of a Monaco GP victory with a car that could have been a championship winning car were it not for the tires. It IS a good time to leave the sport. Timing is everything and the FIA’s timing is not good.

    If I were the FIA I would tread very, very carefully…

    1. Pirelli could easily threaten and they could even leave midseason.

      Is their right, they are free to leave

      1. And should the teams all go down to TireRack to outfit their cars? This is serious situation for the sport, not just Mercedes. While all fingers are wagging at MB now the FIA needs to focus on calming the situation rather than just meting out the roughest justice it can. Pirelli’s contractual commitment, and the question of material breach and consequences, is the main event here. No amount of liquidated damages is going to put tires on these cars if Pirelli gets fed up and decides writing the check is better than putting up with daily abuse from the FIA, Bernie, and the teams. Ferrari and RBR are laughing now but unless Dietrich can convert a soda factory to make tires in a quick jiffy they are going to be crying soon.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          6th June 2013, 18:50

          lol, good points. If Red Bull may enter the condom business and Pirelli makes the rubber for it, this might change the whole game:-)

  7. The International Tribunal is open to the media, and today, Mercedes have gone on the front foot with media coverage to get peop0le on their side, to continue manipulating this situation. Rosberg today said mercedes had nothing to gain because Pirelli controlled the test, yet did not talk about why he drove, and why he drove a 2013 car, and how he no doubt got to better understand his car with 3 race distances. Mercedes have also said they “welcome the tribunal hearing” as it gives them a chance to show the true facts, welcoming it like it will work in their favour :) now we will have propoganda for 45 days from mercedes. great.

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