Brawn says it was his decision to do test

2013 Canadian Grand Prix

Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn admitted it was his decision to do the three-day test for Pirelli which his team are under investigation for by the FIA.

During a tense press conference at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Brawn brushed off questions over his future at the team should Mercedes be found to have infringed the rules with their test following the Spanish Grand Prix.

“I think there’s been some rumours before and nothing’s happened,” said Brawn. “As I say let’s wait and see what the Tribunal finds and we’ll go from there.”

“It was my decision to do the test so that’s a fact.”

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery was absent from the press conference having taken legal advice. That left Brawn to field the majority of questions over the disputed test.

He refused to answer several questions about the test, including whether he had an email from FIA race director Charlie Whiting confirming Mercedes had permission to do the test, or whether he informed Mercedes’ Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff before the test took place.

“It’s a little difficult for me because we’ve got this process going on where it’s in the hands of the Tribunal,” said Brawn.

“We trust that process. It’s a new process the FIA have introduced, an independent process, and it’s the first time it’s been tested but I think it has a good structure and so we trust in the Tribunal.”

However Brawn insisted Mercedes believed they were within their rights to do the 1,000km run at the Circuit de Catalunya:

“I think we wouldn’t have done the Pirelli test unless we believed we could do the Pirelli test. I think when we get to the Tribunal you’ll have your answers.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner insisted there was no way Mercedes could have failed to gain an advantage from the test:

“When you run a current car of course, the way that Formula One is, the amount of technology, the amount of data analysis there is, you’re always learning. Whether it be reliability, whether it be endureance, whether it be performance. So of course even if you’re testing a component for another supplier, you’re learning.”

“And I think Formula One has moved an awfully long way over the last few years to ensure fairness and equality towards all of the entrants and I think that if a team does carry out a thousand kilometres of additional testing with a current car, you’re going to learn something.”

Horner stated that the fact Mercedes were conducting the test for Pirelli should have been made public: “I think the lack of transparency is disappointing. That you have to learn these things second hand. I think it’s important that there is transparency.”

“Of course if a supplier has issues then it has to obviously deal with them but when all entrants are supposedly equal I think it’s only right and proper that that information is made transparently clear.”

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58 comments on Brawn says it was his decision to do test

  1. Euro Brun (@eurobrun) said on 7th June 2013, 22:21

    Seems to me that this might be the opportunity Lauda / Wolff have been waiting for to get rid of Ross.

    • This conspiracy ‘theory’ is particularly bizzare to me (but this is F1, nothing should be bizzare..), can someone explain why you would wanna get rid of one of the most successful/experienced people in the sport from your team please? Whose gunna do a better job than Brawn?

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 7th June 2013, 22:48

        why you would wanna get rid of one of the most successful/experienced people in the sport from your team please?

        The problem is that Ross Brawn has been successful with Benetton & Ferrari as an engineer not as a team principle (i’m not ignoring the Brawn GP success but i think that a big part of it was due to the double diffuser)
        many engineers could be phenomenal in their job but when they move to leadership position they don’t automatically succeed i’m not saying that Brawn has failed but with his standard as engineer not winning with Mercedes is maybe considered a failure by Mercedes people

        Whose gunna do a better job than Brawn?

        For the management part Toto Wolf & Niki Lauda , for the technical part Paddy Lowe

        • So, they’re gunna replace one engineer-come-teamprinciple, with another engineer-come-teamprinciple?

          Merc’s only problem is their useage of tyres during race stints, thats the bottom line. Is Brawn responsible for that, and is firing him and replacing him like-for-like going to solve their problems?

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 8th June 2013, 0:33

          @tifoso1989, you seem to forget who was calling the shots on the pit-wall for MSC’s 7 championships.

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 8th June 2013, 2:17

            you seem to forget who was calling the shots on the pit-wall for MSC’s 7 championships.

            no i didn’t because i have already said that but you seem to read another comment

            Ross Brawn has been successful with Benetton & Ferrari as an engineer

            In Benetton & Ferrari Ross was a successful engineer responsible for the strategy, the team principles were Flavio Briatore & Jean Todt respectively

    • ThrillerWA09 (@thrillerwa09) said on 7th June 2013, 22:41

      Hello Paddy Lowe.

    • Meaning “It’s my entire fault f it goes wrong, anyway I wished to quit F1″

      In F1 Racing this month, Ross Brawn said he doesn’t want to quit on a fail… It’s not going his way.

  2. John H (@john-h) said on 7th June 2013, 22:29

    I can’t see how the FIA knew about this test if they are referring the whole thing to the tribunal process. Surely there was no email (phone call, whatever…) from Charlie, otherwise Brawn would have said that there was in the first place when initially grilled by the media.

    Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery was absent from the press conference having taken legal advice

    As for Pirelli, well. If they didn’t inform the FIA either then what are they playing at. I guess the FIA will be getting the Michelins they wanted after all then.

    In summary, why didn’t either of these parties properly check this out with the FIA first? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever unless they were both up to something. What a big mess.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 8th June 2013, 2:17

      I just think that when you have complex issues like this, you don’t see the key players spelling everything out to the media when grilled, right? There’s a process. They don’t want to be baited by media questions, misquoted etc…have words put in their mouths…I think you know what I mean.

      In summary, why didn’t either of these parties properly check this out with the FIA first? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever unless they were both up to something.

      Or indeed they did check this out with the FIA and you are incorrect to assume that a tribunal means guilt and that the FIA wasn’t approached. Of course they were…that is the only thing that makes sense…because both of them being up to something does not…the risks simply wouldn’t be worth it and I think we’ve heard enough tidbits from Pirelli, and even from FIA about Pirelli having a clause in their contract to test, to believe that FIA knew about and supported this test even if it didn’t happen quite as they expected. Hence the tribunal to get all the answers.

      Simply put do you honestly believe Pirelli and Mercedes are that corrupt? And why wouldn’t heads have already rolled if the FIA has been completely caught wrongfooted on this because they weren’t approached by P and M whatsoever ahead of the test? I would expect the immediate expulsion of Mercedes for the season, and multi-multi-million dollar fines for Pirelli without the need for a tribunal if this was all so underhanded. Why would Brawn be talking so confidently about them doing nothing wrong, and why would his voice and his mannerism be so calm, as well as NR’s, and why wouldn’t he have totally shut the media out and said ‘no comment’ if in fact they have been caught doing something so dirty? Surely Brawn’s and Mercedes lawyers would have them totally clam up if there was such volatility to this.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th June 2013, 6:36

      @john-h

      I can’t see how the FIA knew about this test if they are referring the whole thing to the tribunal process.

      If the FIA are enmeshed in this, then it makes sense for them to refer the matter to the tribunal. They can’t just hand down a sentence without any realy debate – that is one of the hallmarks of the Mosely regime, where he acted as judge, jury and executioner. The International Tribunal is independent of the FIA, so they can investigate the matter properly, and find out who knew what and when.

      As for Pirelli, well. If they didn’t inform the FIA either then what are they playing at. I guess the FIA will be getting the Michelins they wanted after all then.
      According to Pirelli, Mercedes negotiated the use of the 2013 car directly with the FIA. So the FIA was aware that some kind of test was being carried out.

      In summary, why didn’t either of these parties properly check this out with the FIA first?

      Pirelli’s contract to supply tyres was first signed in 2010. It gave them the power to carry out one extraordinary test of the tyres. It appears that this is the clause they activated to justify the Barcelona test.

  3. Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 7th June 2013, 22:30

    Whether Mercedes gained anything from the test is a bit of a distraction. All that the FIA should concentrate on whether or not it was against the rules.

    And in regards to that, it’s hard to see the “Well he told me I could” line working. Surely they would have had their legal eagles poring over the rules prior to making the decision.

    • Skett (@skett) said on 7th June 2013, 23:21

      Totally agreed. I have no doubt that they wouldn’t have gone in for this test unless they felt that it was within the rules, even if outside the “spirit” of them!

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th June 2013, 7:36

      Whether Mercedes gained anything from the test is a bit of a distraction. All that the FIA should concentrate on whether or not it was against the rules.

      – Indeed @mouse_nightshirt, while it might be taken in account for establishing the right penalty (if there was an infringement), the primary question for the tribunal to judge on is about breaking the rules.

  4. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 7th June 2013, 22:34

    Like i just mentioned earlier in the site, i think this could be Mercedes best chance to get rid of Ross Brawn, apart from my thoughts which aren’t based on facts but only on the conspiracy theory i think Mercedes position in front the FIA is weak , Ross admitted indirectly that they are guilty & BTW i feel that he was pushed by someone to admit his responsibility of the test, why it took him 2 weeks to say this , he could have made it clear just after the Monaco GP

  5. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 7th June 2013, 22:49

    Still more questions than answers.

    Brawn said this; “I think we wouldn’t have done the Pirelli test unless we believed we could do the Pirelli test. I think when we get to the Tribunal you’ll have your answers.”

    The rest seems to be speculation until then.

  6. Even Hembery has dodged the hot potato in Canada,.. Ross is alone at the moment

  7. celeste (@celeste) said on 7th June 2013, 22:59

    Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery was absent from the press conference having taken legal advice. That left Brawn to field the majority of questions over the disputed test.

    More twist than a Mexican telenovela

  8. Aimal (@aimalkhan) said on 7th June 2013, 23:00

    Come back home Ross !!!

  9. GT_Racer said on 7th June 2013, 23:03

    The thing I find laughable about the Mercedes/Pirelli response is there insistence that it wasn’t a secret test.

    The facts are that nobody knew the test was taking place, Circuit security was ramped up, Areas where the circuit can be seen were covered to prevent anyone been able to see the cars, Drivers apparently wore unpainted helmets, no filming was done & nobody from Pirelli or Mercedes mentioned it anywhere until it came out in Monaco.
    Also Lewis posted tweet’s (including a picture) saying he was in Florida while he was at the track.

    No matter how you look at it, They wanted the details of the test kept secret. There’s no reason to block the view of the track, have extra security & get drivers to wear unpainted helmets if the test is simply ‘private’.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th June 2013, 7:43

      My guess is that its a bit of legal language in preparation for the tribunal GT_Racer, because from all I have so far read and seen, they did all they could to hide what was going on, including reports from Germany that not even the team people present were in the know that they would be doing 1000 km instead of a 100 km filming session, having extra security, not mention it and having the drivers run in helmets other then their own, etc. Whether we call it “confidential”, “private” or “secret”, and I see those words in the context as rather synonymous (aren’t secret government documents also labeled “confidential?), and part of the game of playing, the effect was the same in that it was meant to make sure the test was not noticed to the best of their abilities while running a 2013 car, on a GP track using their race drivers.
      The thing with the Lewis picture seems a bit dodgy though, I understood that he did indeed fly to Florida after the race (before the test) for a Blackberry PR event in Orlando, so while it surely helped hide what was going on, I doubt it went as far as tweeting that he was somewhere else than he really was (that tweet was supposed to have been sent on the 16th, that is before the test).

  10. “The thing I find laughable about the Mercedes/Pirelli response is there insistence that it wasn’t a secret test.

    The facts are that nobody knew the test was taking place”

    Nobody was talking about Ferraris test before, why? because nobody actually knew the Ferrari test happend until all this came out, why? Because it wasnt publicised, why? because it wasnt neccesary…. But noone is talking about that being a secret test. You know why? Because it wasnt secret.

    As Brawn said, you cant expect to operate at and run around the most used F1 circuit in the world and not expect it to be ‘secret’, if they wanted to be actually secret, they’d have gone to another circuit were no-one would know.

    • Scratch ‘not’ from the last paragraph :]

    • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 7th June 2013, 23:23

      Actually to this day Pirelli has refused to even confirm whether that Ferrari test took place, citing “confidentiality”.

    • GT_Racer said on 8th June 2013, 0:44

      Fact remains though that they tried to keep the test a secret.

      At normal pirelli tyre test’s there always open about when/where there testing, There test drivers often tweet about it & post images/video from the test online & they run there normal helmet colors. There’s usually no covers put up to prevent people been able to look in & catch a glimpse of the test.

      The silence regarding the test from all parties, The extra security at the track, The covers put up so that nobody could see the track from outside the circuit perimeters, Drivers running unpainted helmets, No images/video/Tweets from anyone at Pirelli/Mercedes, Lewis tweeting about been in Miami is all highly unusual.

      Regarding the Ferrari test, I would also class that as secret because like with Mercedes measures were taken to try & prevent anyone else finding out it took place.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 8th June 2013, 2:34

        Yeah it has appeared ‘secret’ and I’ve been very defensive of M and P on this because I think the test(s) were not secret as in because of underhandedness going on as in literally teams being advantaged by Pirelli, but ‘secret’ as in being expediant and needing to get this done without roadblocks of red tape and meeting after meeting searching for concensus which would likely have not been achieved. They just needed to get this done quickly. And the FIA knew it. Imho of course.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th June 2013, 7:46

      Well, when we accept that Ferrari providing a 2011 car does not constitute testing (as defined in the regulations), then there was no secret test.
      Apart from that, it was kept secret as much as the one Mercedes did for Pirelli @N, in stark contrast to all previous testing Pirelli conducted (as noted by GT_Racer)

  11. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 7th June 2013, 23:20

    He refused to answer several questions about the test, including whether he had an email from FIA race director Charlie Whiting confirming Mercedes had permission to do the test, or whether he informed Mercedes’ Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff before the test took place.

    So much for the claims to value openness and transparency.

    I think when we get to the Tribunal you’ll have your answers.

    Anybody know if the Tribunal is held in public, or behind closed doors? Will we hear all the evidence submitted, or just the Tribunals final report?

  12. Lucien_Todutz (@lucien_todutz) said on 7th June 2013, 23:23

    is Brown still owner in the team or sold his shares?

  13. DaveW (@dmw) said on 7th June 2013, 23:24

    Ross Brawn is preparing for a dramatic “accidental” fall under the bus. Not a great way to punctuate an amazing career. At least Mercedes has finally muzzled Nico Rosberg who has been assiduously crafting lovely quotes for the FIA’s case brief every time he opens his mouth. Amazingly, the most injudicious user of Twitter and microphones on the grid, Lewis Hamilton, has said nothing. What’s gotten into him? I miss the old Hamilton, tweeting throttle traces, putting H.A.M. on his helmet. He’s real boring now.

    • David (@neiana) said on 7th June 2013, 23:37

      What’s gotten into Hamilton?? I’ll tell you! He no longer has to play the role of the rebellious teenager now that he has finally secured his freedom! Now he’s all grown up into a boring, old man trudging through his day job.

    • Simon (@s162000) said on 8th June 2013, 0:01

      Hamiltons keeping his nose clean, he’s learnt his lesson from 2009

  14. Simon (@s162000) said on 8th June 2013, 0:00

    sounds like Ross is preparing to fall on his sword, it’s like Liegate all over again

  15. Gerrit said on 8th June 2013, 0:04

    Question I have is did Mercedes use engines and gearboxes from this seasons allocation? If not then it must be construed to be a car/engine test as well. Otherwise why add 1000km of wear and tear on the seasons fixed allocation of engines and gear boxes.

    Additional question must also be around the changed supplier of disc brakes for Mercedes. Mentioned during the Montreal practice sessions that Mercedes have changed to an alternative supplier to suit Lewis Hamilton’s late braking style. A supplier that Nico Rosberg was comfortable with.

    Could 1000Km of testing have been used to try out the new disc brake materials?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th June 2013, 7:46

      Short answer: NO, they did not Gerrit

    • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 8th June 2013, 8:30

      Err they are an engine manufacturer, surely its just possible they have some spare engines from last year or this years preseason testing?

      Do yuo really think they need 1000km to test some new brakes.

      Surely its not hard to understand that the car would have remained unchanged for the entire test? A stable and consistent test bed is what was needed. Do you not understand that to conduct a proper scientific test that Pirelli would have needed the car to remain unchanged for the duration of the test? How could they draw proper conclusions if Merc were chopping and changing parts and engines?

      Its fairly simple . This was a Pirelli test, run by Pirelli for Pirelli. Mercedes supplied the car and drivers, Pirelli dictated the rest. There is no scope for Mercedes to test new things on the car. That is probably one of the clear points Merc and Pirelli will make at the tribunal. The Car would have remained unchanged for the entire test except to replace wearing parts due to the car driving 1000km.

      • DaleH said on 8th June 2013, 14:11

        So, by your very admittance … Mercedes were AT LEAST able to test the wear rate of certain parts on their car.
        Other teams don’t have that opportunity due to testing restrictions.
        That makes the test unfair to the other teams.

        The excuse of this being a Pirelli test doesnt hold water.
        What if Shell decide they need to test their fuel & book a few 1000km test sessions with the current Ferrari doing the running, then Magnetti do the same, & 25 of Ferrari’s other suppliers all do the same. Next thing Ferrari have done 80 days of track testing, but not a single one booked & paid for by them, so they must all be legal?

  16. Dom (@3dom) said on 8th June 2013, 0:44

    Could each driver not have a different brake supplier? Didn’t mclaren do this with Lewis & jenson?

    • Gerrit said on 8th June 2013, 0:53

      Garry Anderson (I think) was quite categorical that they changed to suit Lewis Hamiltion and that Nico Rosberg did not mind the change. Apparently he has the soft brake approach while Hamilton is a stomper.

  17. Paul2013 said on 8th June 2013, 5:47

    That was the opportunity Mercedes was waiting to … Test their cars, breaking the regulations and taking illegal advantage of it.

    Conspiracy? Yeah! Well, seems to me that Mercedes was the only one conspiring in here, more specifically in order to test and improve their cars illegally.

    • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 8th June 2013, 8:43

      Except you have no proof, nor do any of the other teams that any development work was done on the Mercedes during the test that was run by Pirelli. Even the FIA will be unlikely to quantify what advantage if any was gained. Just like the Mclaren spygate, the FIA never proved any aspect of mclarens car was influenced by the ferrari data.

      The facts are only Mercedes and Pirelli know and that is what they will show in their defense, that nothing was changed or developed on the car. Pirelli will show they gave Merc no favours and Merc will show they stayed at arms length with the test being run by Pirelli.

      You can’t transpose the preseason and Friday practice test run by the team which focus on car development with a Tyre development test run and operated by Pirelli. You have no proof only suspicion.

      • kpcart said on 8th June 2013, 9:16

        there is proof that merc broke the sporting code. the rest does not need proof

        • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 8th June 2013, 11:38

          Except if they were given permission to supply cars to Pirelli so they could test their tyres. The FIA have said that they think the grounds for permission were not met in which case they are going to the Tribunal to determine those facts.

          Wow would hate to be facing court with many of the people o the blog in the jury. Guilty before even knowing all the facts

          • kpcart said on 8th June 2013, 16:06

            the facts came to light last week, one simple fact -they tested. that is all that needs to be known with the specific rule they broke, what more is there to say? the rest will now be a formality with the FIA taking the opportunity to use the IT for the first time. the thing in this forum is people talk about irrelevant things like what gain was made, and what tyres were used, and if it is was secret or not – well the secret part is relevant as they were almost not found out because they did keep it secret. Ross Brawn will continue to throw up heaps of political spin like a lawyer to avoid the guilt, but it seems pretty plain what has happened. Mercedes only defence is that the test was approved by the FIA, and that is all, the rest about secrecy, advantage etc is irrelevant to this case. lets see how it pans out, it is not looking good for mercedes and Brawn. I think Brawn will be sacrificed, it was coming since the day Wolf walked in to the team. Merc had nothing to lose with the test, it is 5th in the championship or nothing, they almost got away with having done the test, but the pace in practice at Canada seems they didnt reach the improvements they had hoped for. Maybe Mercedes will go a lot more forward even after a ban or massive fine, as each year since 2009 that Brawn has been a team principle, the teams car performance has got worse as the year went along. a change at the top will be good for the team

  18. HiPn0tIc (@hipn0tic) said on 8th June 2013, 7:24

    Hembery always in search of the spotlights, now runs away from it like the devil from the cross…
    This situation is a poor image of the sport and the people surronding it. That said it’s time to clean all the dirt…
    Who gave the all tyre monopoly to this gentleman? He too should be considerated guilty.

    Has for Brawn, taking one for the team, but he’s not the only one in thiss story.

  19. Manule said on 8th June 2013, 9:06

    Admitting it was his decision, Brawn takes the blame. It is irrelevant whether they gained anything, and even whether or not they’ve had this alleged email from Charlie. Whiting alone simply has no authority in this case. Since the tests are prohibited by the FIA Sporting Code, no single FIA delegate, even Todt himself, can give a secret permission to breach the regulations. Brawn, I’m sure, is as pefectly aware of a due process in such cases as any other team principal. And, as been said many times, it is his responsibility to adhere strictly to the letter of the Sporting Code, not Pirelli’s.

    • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 8th June 2013, 11:44

      A secret is when you purposefully don’t let someone know something with the intent of hiding the information. Not telling someone is not necessarily a secret.

      If you called your mother and said you would by Mcdonalds for dinner on the way home, but did not also ring your sister. Is that a secret or have you just not told your sister her because you didn’t think it was necessary nor your responsibility.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th June 2013, 12:44

        @theoddkiwi Let’s not confuse this situation with flawed and unrepresentative analogies or we’ll all end up talking about “what if you, your mother and your sister were banned from eating junk food?”

        It’s more helpful to stick to the actual matter. Such as, is it true Hamilton and Rosberg purposefully chose not to use their regular helmets for the test? That would be a pretty big hint Mercedes were trying to keep rival teams from knowing what was going on.

        • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 8th June 2013, 13:14

          I probably should be banned from junk food, i had pie and chips for dinner tonight ;)

          I admit the Helmet thing is peculiar. I know its a stretch but could it be a legal issue with sponsors, they probably didn’t have their normal race suits on either. For all we know the car may have been stripped of sponsor logos too. After all the imagery we have in the public is a fuzzy photo from miles away.
          Why not go even further and paint the whole car black. The guy taking the photo wouldn’t have had a clue

          I just don’t buy the insistence it was “Secret”. Private Yes, Secret no

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th June 2013, 13:20

            @theoddkiwi We already know the FIA told Mercedes and Pirelli to invite other teams to the test. That clearly didn’t happen. Furthermore, nor did they advise the other teams they were conducting the test. So I have no problem describing it as “secret”.

  20. Lindsay Lohan is my girlfriend (@lindsay-lohan-is-my-girlfriend) said on 8th June 2013, 11:45

    German Auto Motor Und Sport reports, the Fia Tribunal takes place before the British GP. Didn’t know that.

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