Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013

Mercedes and Pirelli to face FIA Tribunal today

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Will Wood

Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013In the round-up: Mercedes and Pirelli will learn if they will be punished for their controversial pre-Monaco private tyre test today when they face an FIA tribunal.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Mercedes and Pirelli to face FIA hearing over tyre testing (BBC)

“Mercedes and tyre supplier Pirelli face disciplinary charges on Thursday on what promises to be a dramatic day that could have major repercussions.”

Mercedes test row: how the International Tribunal works (Autosport)

“Formula 1’s attention moves to the FIA’s headquarters in Paris on Thursday for an International Tribunal (IT) hearing into the Mercedes secret test controversy.”

Lewis Hamilton fears for his legacy after ‘wasting away best years’ at McLaren (Sky)

Lewis Hamilton: “I got to F1 and nearly won in my first year, then won I won in my second year. I’ve never had a car to really compete since then. The car makes such a big difference so you’re just wasting away your best years.”

Lotus will be the No 1 team on the Formula One grid ‘within a year’, claims new investor Mansoor Ijaz (Telegraph)

Mansoor Ijaz: “We?ll be number one in 12 months. I say it simply, flatly, completely – we’ll be number one in 12 months.”

McLaren still struggling as we head to Silverstone, admits Jenson Button (Guardian)

Jenson Button: “We would love to be able to give the fans a win. We will still give the best we have. The important thing is that we do everything we can to put on a good show for the British fans ?ǣ whether that is finishing fifth or seventh, I don’t know where we are going to be ?ǣ but we have to feel we got everything out of it and we are happy with our achievement.”

Indian Grand Prix organisers slam ‘malicious’ rumours over future (Autosport)

“Indian Grand Prix organisers have dismissed ‘baseless and malicious’ rumours that the event could be in doubt after its 2014 edition.”


Comment of the day

After Infinity Racing acquired a 35 per cent stake in Lotus, @Matt90 wishes that the new consortium had come up with a slightly more original name…

Team Enstone really are intent on confusing us as much as possible. First the ??Lotus? debacle, and now a new major stakeholder has a near identical name to Red Bull?s main sponsor.

From the forum

Anticipating this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Julie and M744All!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Luigi Fagioli lost his life on this day in 1952 when he succumbed to injuries sustained in a crash during the Monaco Grand Prix. The race had been held as a non-championship event for sports cars three-and-a-half weeks earlier.

Fagioli finished third in the first ever world championship for Alfa Romeo in 1950, taking five podium finishes but no wins. He quit F1 two races into the 1951 season.

168 comments on “Mercedes and Pirelli to face FIA Tribunal today”

  1. Mercedes don’t seem very confident as in there summing up after the hearing they proposed suitable penaltys if there found guilty.

    They suggested a reprimand or exclusion from the young drivers test.

    Before the hearing a story that didn’t get much press is that Pirelli is said to have informed the FIA that they will sue them if Pirelli are given any form of damaging penalty.
    Mercedes board of directors also issued a statement suggesting they could quit F1 if there image is tarnished.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      20th June 2013, 16:42

      As I’ve said all along… Pirelli and Mercedes have put the FIA on notice.

    2. The FIA should take no notice of these threats and administer a fair penalty if they see fit, they should not be bullied. putting up such threats shows they know they are guilty – if they were innocent, they would have nothing to worry about and would not make such threats. if they leave, then good riddence to bad rubbish as the saying goes.

      1. Said the worlds biggest Redbull fan..

        1. @f190 thinking that what @dkpioe said was just because he’s a RBR fan or a Mclaren fan is wrong. This is a sport, there are rules, you should live by them or if you don’t want that, please leave the sport, or run alone.
          Even if with tests you cannot be the best, you’re just doing the wrong thing….

          1. @hipn0tic

            They haven’t been found guilty of anything just yet.

      2. @f190 They have been, but crime pays off. Congrats to Mercedes, Ross B., J. Todt and FIA. And all Mercedes or Hamilton fans. After this any Mercedes victory will be always with a question mark after.

  2. OH DEAR, in there closing submission to the tribunal, Mercedes are basicallly accepting guilt, and are now trying to dictate terms for what punishment they should get. – they are suggesting a reprimand or a ban for their young driver test…. hopefully they wil be banned for the rest of the year for admitting they cheated and for now trying to manilpulate the tribunal process.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      20th June 2013, 16:54

      Actually what they are doing is allowing the tribunal to save face by not forcing them to exonerate them and also informing them what they would consider suitable punishment so that the tribunal doesn’t have to worry about deciding on the penalty.

      1. they are trying to save their own face, not the tribunals, at the start of the day they pleaded innocent – to the tribunal you are saying needs to save face, and now they are trying to manipulate a lenient penalty.

        1. I don’t think they have said they are guilty ! Therefore their plea hasn’t changed..

  3. It’s a mistake to get hung up on how much advantage Mercedes gained for 2013. I believe that, while they were certainly interested in helping themselves for 2013, Mercedes were even more interested in helping themselves for 2014.

    They’ve already gotten a huge jump on the other teams when it comes to understanding the 2014 tyres, and at a crucial time. The 2014 cars are being designed right now. Everyone else will get two or three laps on the 2014 rubber sometime in November.

    1. the advantage or no advantage is the least important in this, what is important is that mercedes broke the rules, a major rule – that could lead to a huge advantage, but is irrelevant. the only thing relevant is that the teams stick to the sporting codes which mercedes did not. in testing, even not gaining an advantage can be an advantage, 1000km of free running is good for many other parts in the car and for the drivers mentality and getting a better feel in the current car to push more in the next races. all teams could do an illegal test now, and then cry innocent by saying they go no advantage, as advantages can not be proved.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        20th June 2013, 17:00

        Hey, Ferrari broke it twice and they were exonerated without a tribunal while Jean Todt, a man whose blood is more red than Alonso’s, runs the FIA. But that doesn’t seem to bother you one bit, right?

        1. I am not sure he said that Ferrari should be getting away scott free. This trial is about Mercedes behaviour not Ferrari. I personally think at least one of those Ferrari tests need to be looked into as well, but that is for another day. If Ferrari have done wrong then that does not excuse Mercedes.

    2. I doubt Mercedes has a small advantage let alone a huge one for 2014. They were running coded Pirelli tires with their 2013 car and don’t even know if they were running what will be the final product for 2014. They weren’t given any data on the tires so they only know how tires that were on their car felt, without knowing what those tires were and as I say whether they will even be the final 2014 product. I’ll assume that come September all the teams will have data on the actual 2014 tires that will be on their cars. And nobody will be on those tires until they have their 2014 cars finished and out testing at the first pre-season test next Jan/Feb. Besides, if Mercedes has a ‘huge’ jump on the field for 2014, then I guess Ferrari had a ‘huge’ jump from their test with Pirelli last year, and yet Ferrari aren’t leading the Championships, so I really question the whole ‘advantages’ thing. I think the teams can jump up and down about theoretical advantages Mercedes may have gleaned, but in reality I don’t think there is much to be concerned about whatsoever.

      1. @Robbie

        So you don’t think the best drivers in the world can work out what tires they are on just by the handling and split times etc? You don’t think that The best car engineers in the world can gain a huge amount of information from wear patterns on parts etc? You do not think that one of the worlds top engine manufacturers can glean information from the wear on the engine and the fuel consumption etc? Also as lewis said before the test, he was struggling to come to terms with the difference between the breaks on the Maclaren and the ones on the Mercedes, He then had a lot of extra laps to get used to these, plus other parts of the cars handling. Being able to run a car for that distance under test conditions is a benefit to any team even if the test is technically being controlled by Pirelli. Also we only have Mercedes word for the fact that had no access to the telemetry data, I personally do not believe this as most teams beam their data live to their base so there is no telling if Mercedes were doing this during the test or not. There does not seem to have been any parc ferme conditions enforced so they could have put new parts on their car to test and or done pretty much anything. They may not have and may have been totally honest but no one will ever know. Even if they were totally honest there is no way they did not gain any benefit from the testing as the drivers and engineers can not simply unlearn what they learned.

        This is not to say Mercedes are guilty but highlight the big problem here, What happens if they are found innocent? I am sure the other teams will still feel that they have benefited from the testing and will want that rectifying in some way. However I think they are guilty of being stupid if anything. It was always looking like a grey area so why did they not simply tell the other teams so that all grievances could be aired before it was too late. If they had done that simple thing (which I am sure we all do at work via the cc option in email) then we would not be talking about this right now.

        1. I simply think you are overblowing what Mercedes would have gained from Pirelli using them to conduct tire testing using their own engineers. I would agree with you if there was some sense that Mercedes had Pirelli’s help in making this a Mercedes test, but there is simply no evidence of that nor do I think Mercedes would have found the risk to doing that anywhere near the reward.

  4. So the arguments offered up by the high-priced and high-powered Mercedes legal team were “Pirelli did it, not us!” and “But Ferrari did it too!”

    Sounds like something a six-year-old would come up with.

    1. Well, no offence but you boiling it down to two short quotes sounds just as amateur. They discussed the issue for 7 hours, so I’m sure some very valid points were made by all parties involved. I have yet to hear one single bit of evidence that Mercedes asked for this test, not Pirelli, nor that it was a Mercedes test, not a Pirelli one. So not only do teams pretty much never turn themselves into race winning and Championship winning teams with one normal F1 team 3 day test, they sure wouldn’t with a tire test of no data sharing. Their advantages gained would be absolutely minimal in reality such that I highly doubt they would take the risk without the comfort of permission, namely from Charlie Whiting…never mind if he technically doesn’t have the final say now that everything is coming out in the wash…he is to be considered a key icon in F1 and one could understand his say being golden at the time the conversations took place.

      I also think, yes, if there was a precedent of Ferrari testing, without recrimination, then that reeked of ‘permission’ as well. Some have argued all along that if Mercedes ‘gets away with this’ then all teams will expect to be able to test, which I don’t buy, because I think they had permission due to the urgency of the tire situation, but my point being if folks are going to argue all teams will want to and expect to test now, then why wouldn’t it be ok for Mercedes, knowing Massa tested last year without recrimination, take that as a bit of an open door to do a tire test when Pirelli asked them if they would?

      1. Did you notice that Mercedes made two completely contradictory arguments?

        On the one hand, they had to test with the 2013 car, because there was just no way to get good data with an older chassis.

        On the other hand, that Ferrari test using a 2011 car was in breach of the regulations – because there is no real difference between the 2011 and 2013 cars!

        They can’t both be true.

        I think they had permission due to the urgency of the tire situation,

        If the tyre situation was in fact “urgent” then Pireli could simply invoke safety and unilaterally change the tyres. But they have repeatedly claimed that the tyre situation is not “urgent”, that’s it’s mainly a cosmetic problem.

        knowing Massa tested last year without recrimination

        What car did Massa test last year? The 2010 model, or the 2012 model?

  5. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher)
    20th June 2013, 17:42

    Bearing in mind I haven’t read the article, because frankly I don’t want to, Lewis had a competitive car in 2010, yes he had 3 years where he didn’t, but stop complaining!! Schumi had some ‘wasted’ years at Ferrari as has Alonso, you can’t win all the time. Alonso isn’t winning the championship atm but he’s still regarded as the best by many! Only be afraid of your legacy Lewis if you complain and don’t just get on with it.

    1. At the risk of coming across as a giant Kimi fan in this round-up’s comment section; have we ever heard Kimi complain in recent times about the years he ‘wasted’ at McLaren and Ferrari? 2003 wasn’t exactly wasted, but I do imagine the failure of the MP4/18 cost them development time. 2005 and 2006 could classify as Lewis’ ‘wasted years’, 2008 was partially his own fault, but 2009 would cost Lewis even more sleep were he to drive a Ferrari that season.

      But you mention a fine example in Schumacher. Schumacher was considered by far the best, even when Hakkinen matched his number of titles. Heck, Alonso matched Hakkinen’s amount of titles in 2006 to little critical acclaim, but is considered one of the best now. Statistics don’t tell the entire story in F1, and to be honest, I’d be far more likely to remember Hamilton winning a WDC in 20 years, than Villeneuve, now there’s a driver who tarnished his ‘legacy’.

      1. How did JV tarnish his legacy? I don’t remember JV ever being involved in ‘liegate’ nor with a team that was involved in ‘spygate’. Nor do I remember JV having to admit that off-track distractions cost him on the track. What I do remember is that JV had the equipment capable of winning a WDC for two years. His first two. And he nearly won the WDC in his first year as a rookie to F1, and then he won his WDC in his second year against the ‘legend’ MS who tried to whack him off the track and failed and tarnished his own legacy hugely and permanently in the process.

        1. You’ll find Schumacher tainted his legacy, but it’s not like people disregard him entirely.

          Villeneuve became a joke. He showed his talents every now and then, but having WDC material twice was largely his own fault. 1998 not so much, but his move to BAR, a team which was supposed to be built around him failed miserably and he was ousted from the team by Richards and Button, who both at that time had more to prove than JV. I liked him at Sauber, but his final year was another weird year of incidents, pace gone missing and rumors. Most people watching F1 in the 2000s (the ones I knew) always put his 1997 title on the Williams, more so than in Hill’s case.

          Don’t get me wrong, I think villeneuve earned his championship fair and square, but he essentially killed the reputation he earned at Williams and then some.

          1. I disagree and I think you are using hindsight to support your argument. And that old argument that it was the car is just that…an old argument that doesn’t hold water. Look it up and you will see that almost every time, the WDC winner had the WCC winning car…it’s simply a necessary ingredient, and if it wasn’t the WCC winning car then it was a very very close 2nd place car in the WCC.

  6. On the matter of Mercedes/Pirelli and their private test:

    Is F1 shooting itself in the foot yet again?

    If Mercedes are found guilty of some rules infringements, they may well feel that their reputation is unfairly under attack and that they have no future in F1. As the BBC reports today: “Mercedes may . . . have to consider its F1 future if the company’s integrity is impugned in any way.”

    Much the same can be said of Pirelli. The benefit of F1, in the eyes of their management, must be wearing thin, and having their reputation tarnished will not make them eager to remain in F1. Their contract is up for renewal at the moment I believe.

    It cannot be said enough: F1 needs a stronger hand on the tiller. The series must be more affordable for entrants (how great would it be to have a full grid of 26 cars?), so costs must be reduced; The teams should have much less control over the rules and regulations. If they don’t like the rules, they can go elsewhere. No team should have a special interest in the series, or a veto over any of the rules. If Ferrari don’t like that they can lump it – where else are they going to go? And perhaps most importantly, the commercial side of F1 has to be simpler, clearer, more transparent, and set up not for the financial of a bank (or billionaire) but for the long term health of F1.

    As things stand, F1 looks set to stumble badly, with a major team leaving and a major supplier throwing in the towel. F1’s glory days are long in the past. It is a racing series that has become more about showbusiness than racing. It can’t afford this kind of shambles.

    1. Yeah hard to argue with anything you are saying. But I also think that it will not come to Mercedes and Pirelli leaving F1. Even if it is found out that rules were breached, which it seems is very possible, I cannot envision massive penalties. Why? Because F1 mandated these tires and the lack of testing in F1 these days. And Pirelli’s tires have been problematic this year. They asked Mercedes to help them test, Mercedes felt they had some permission, even if it turns out it wasn’t enough permission, or official enough permission, but I just don’t get the sense that this was Mercedes trying to get away with a Mercedes test, nor has anyone yet offered me an answer to the question as to what Pirelli would have to gain by helping any one team advance.

      It sounds to me like this has been a series of miscommunications or misunderstandings, but I really do not believe Mercedes and/or Pirelli were colluding to advance Mercedes, nor that Mercedes would have seen this test as worth the risk whatsoever if they didn’t feel they had permission. So I think any penalties have to have motives taken into consideration, and I think Whiting and Pirelli had the motive to make F1 racing better this year without 4 stoppers, delaminations, and so much delta time running, and they wanted Mercedes to help. I don’t think it is much more than that because Mercedes simply wouldn’t risk everything otherwise, and if it weren’t for the shabby mandated tires and lack of testing, this mess wouldn’t even exist.

    2. @rsp123

      If Mercedes are found guilty of some rules infringements, they may well feel that their reputation is unfairly under attack and that they have no future in F1.

      Punishing an innocent team would be unacceptable. But so would failing to punish a guilty team that was considered to be ‘too big to punish’.

      When it comes to deciding whether Mercedes should be punished all that should matter is whether they have infringed the rules and the circumstances related to it. Not how important Mercedes are.

      If they are justly punished but take umbrage and quit the sport, that would not be a failing on F1’s part, it would be a failing on Mercedes’ part. But as I said yesterday I don’t think it will come to that.

      1. (@keithcollantine)

        I don’t agree with your last paragraph, F1 failing -has- a part of this with the playing around with artificially bad tires that has an unusual narrow window of operation that nobody understands. (Apparently even Ferrari felt the need for extra test both this and last year)

        1. @tvm The scope of my comment was only whether Mercedes have broken the rules and should be punished. I don’t think a person’s opinion on F1’s policy on tyres is relevant in that context.

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