FIA verdict on Mercedes-Pirelli test due today

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2013In the round-up: The FIA is expected to give its verdict on the hearing on whether Mercedes’ test at the Circuit de Catalunya prior to the Monaco Grand Prix broke the rules.


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

Mercedes say FIA treating Ferrari differently over ‘secret’ tyre tests (The Guardian)

Paul Harris (lawyer representing Mercedes): “Ferrari was even more involved in the actual testing than we were, they booked and paid for the circuit. They are not criticised.”

Mercedes challenges Ferrari’s tyre test (Autosport)

“Mercedes also revealed that Ferrari had another testing opportunity in 2012 with Pirelli, when Felipe Massa was used in its pre-Spanish Grand Prix test and that the team conducted more than 1,000 kilometres.”

Update: The above quote has been altered in the original article since the round-up was published. See the link above for the amended quote. Thanks to @wsrgo for the tip.

Mercedes accuse FIA of Ferrari test hypocrisy (The Telegraph)

“Mercedes said they regretted the fact that their drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, wore anonymous black helmets when driving at the test. They said that they did so in order to minimise the need for security. ‘We acknowledge this aspect was bound to raise suspicion and this is regrettable,’ Harris said.”

FIA tyre hearing sees Mercedes blame Pirelli for tests (The Independent)

“Mark Howard QC, speaking first on behalf of the FIA as the body’s legal representative, said [FIA race director Charlie] Whiting’s consent was ‘irrelevant’. Howard said that Whiting was not authorised to amend Article 22 of the Sporting Regulations, saying such a move could only be undertaken by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.”

Mercedes willing to forego young driver test (Reuters)

Harris: “If… we are in this sort of territory then it is open to the International Tribunal to impose exclusions actual or suspended from events that are under the FIA jurisdiction such as the young driver test.”

Verdict awaited after Mercedes hearing (MotorSport)

“Ross Brawn was adamant initially that Mercedes gained no benefit from the test and that Pirelli had not told the team what tyres it was running, although under question he conceded that inevitably there was some benefit.”

Lauda tried to avoid tribunal (ESPN)

“Red Bull lodged the protest against us with Ferrari, agreed an out-of-court deal with Bernie Ecclestone and to make it happen it needed a letter from Mercedes to FIA boss [Jean] Todt. But our bosses Toto Wolff and Ross Brawn refused. Now they have to live with it.”

Christian Horner Q&A (Sky)

“It’s for the Tribunal to decide, it’s not for us to comment on what the penalties should be, but normally if you commit a sporting offence then it is a sporting penalty which goes with it.”

Mercedes did not get test permission – FIA (BBC)

“Pirelli’s counsel Dominique Dumas argued that as a supplier the company was not subject to the FIA’s authority or jurisdiction.”

Byron Young on Mercedes and tyregate (The Mirror)

“Stripping the team of its Monte Carlo victory could be a step too far and see the car giant walk away from F1 if its reputation is tarnished.”

First day on the virtual track for Massa (Ferrari)

“For Felipe Massa, the time has come to get back into the cockpit of a Formula 1 car, even if in this case it?s only a virtual one: a lot of hours in the simulator and a long time talking to his engineers to analyse the data from the last few races was on the Brazilian?s agenda, starting this morning in Maranello.”

No place in the F1 community for fans who boo or hate drivers (Motorsport Reports)

“The lack of respect for [Sebastian] Vettel (especially) and other drivers is just shocking. Every fan base will always have a few idiots, but in the last few years, more F1 fans have turned into those football fans who say the most vile things as shown above.”


Comment of the day

The Pirelli angle to the FIA International Tribunal is a cause of concern for @MazdaChris:

It absolutely beggars belief that F1 would find itself in this situation. I know that people seem to think that Ecclestone is an omnipotent puppet master, always in control of the situation, but it?s hard to see how this situation is anything but a disaster: FIA having a massive falling out with the only company who could conceivably supply tyres for next year, and it’s just becoming more and more bitter.

With Pirelli citing the Briatore case they?re sending a clear message ?ǣ mess with us and we’ll take you to court. Hardly conducive to ongoing contract negotiations.

Thing I also find interesting is that Pirelli seem to be exclusively interested in saying that they can do what they want and it?s none of the business of the FIA. I think if Mercedes were hoping for Pirelli to come in and defend them, then they?re sorely mistaken.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jcost and Jcost!

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

Alberto Ascari won the Belgian Grand Prix 60 years ago today, as he had also done the year before. What’s more, he’d also won every intervening world championship race (bar the Indianapolis 500, which he did not enter), setting a record of nine consecutive F1 wins that remains unbroken.

It was a one-two for Ferrari at Spa with Luigi Villoresi finishing second ahead of Onofre Marimon’s Maserati.

Image ?? Daimler/Hoch Zwei

139 comments on “FIA verdict on Mercedes-Pirelli test due today”

Jump to comment page: 1 2
  1. An unlikely scenario, hopefully, but what if Mercedes were to get some enormous fine, possibly even an exclusion from this years championship points, and the directors decided to simply pull the plug on their F1 works team? Presumably Merc would carry on developing the new motor, and meet their contractual obligations as a supplier. Hard to imagine also that the team itself would disappear. There would surely be a buyer for such a high level organization. As far as Lewis and Nico are concerned, I’m not too worried about them either. Their contracts would be honored, and a couple of top seats would no doubt be made available to them both. Perhaps Red Bull and Lotus respectively? Anyway, I doubt this will come to pass, but tomorrow’s verdict and the various reactions will be interesting for sure.

  2. @keithcollantine

    “Mercedes also revealed that Ferrari had another testing opportunity in 2012 with Pirelli, when Felipe Massa was used in its pre-Spanish Grand Prix test and that the team conducted more than 1,000 kilometres.”

    This is what you quoted.
    And here’s Autosport’s quote: “Mercedes revealed that Ferrari had another testing opportunity in 2012. It also said that Felipe Massa was used in a pre-2013 Spanish Grand Prix test and that Ferrari conducted more than 1000 kilometres.”
    Big mistake on the quoting, Keith. It’s pre-2013 Spanish GP, not pre-Spanish GP.

    Apart from that, I can’t see how Ferrari did a 1000km plus test in 2012, before Spain. They already had a three-day Mugello test that year, and I think we can put five days aside for that for all the logistic reasons. And a 1000km plus test with just one driver (Massa) would take around five-six days, with a total of seven-eight days for logistic purposes set aside for this test. That’s nearly a fortnight. So Ferrari used two-thirds of their time b/w the Bahrain and Spanish GPs to do track tests?
    Nice try, Merc.

    1. Why would it take Ferrari two weeks to carry out a thousand kilometres of testing when Mercedes did the same thing in less than one week? Teams regularly cover a thousand kilometers a week during pre-season testing, and they’re limited to one driver at a time then, too …

      1. @prisoner-monkeys How conveniently the Mugello test just..dare I say..slipped your mind..

        1. @wsrgo – Your arguement is that Ferrari could not have completed that test because they did not have enough time. But the problem in you argment is that it overlooks the way teams regularly complete these tests in half the time you clai it would have taken Ferrari.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys

            Why would it take Ferrari two weeks to carry out a thousand kilometres of testing..

            I rest my case…you did forget Mugello..

    2. a 1000 km plus test is about 3 days, they do up to 350 km a day in testing, and as this was put in the discussion as fact, I think we can safely accept that the running took place @wsrgo.

      Your extrapolation from 5 days (its only 3, but ok) towards 7-8 and round that up as a fortnight is very “generous” but not really accurate. If they did 3 days of track running, they probably spend 4-5 days at the track. Not that hard to do. And given that Ferrari has the Corse clienti crew to run these outings, its no burden on the race team (apart from the driver, but 3 days is not that much).

      There were 2 tests. One in 2012 where it seems they ran MAssa, and one in 2013 between Bahrain and Spain where they ran over 1000 km and used Pedro DL Rosa (and possibly Massa, that is not clear). Both of those tests were run with 2 year old cars and operated by the Ferrai Corse Clienti crew.

      1. @bascb Yeah sorry I mixed up kms. with laps.

        and one in 2013 between Bahrain and Spain where they ran over 1000 km and used Pedro DL Rosa (and possibly Massa, that is not clear).

        Wherever did you hear that?

        1. The fact that Ferrari also did a test this year came out during the Monaco weekend already. As for the drivers, there seems to be a degree of uncertainty whether they ran Massa in that test (apart from confirmed Pedro dlR) @wsrgo

          1. @bascb Uncertainty? What uncertainty? Can you give me a link, please?

          2. Uncertainty because the various sources we have claimed different things @wsrgo, although it seems that by now all of them have come to the conclusion that Massa was only driving in 2012.

    3. @wsrgo Thanks for letting me know. The extract from Autosport used above was quoted verbatim when the round-up was written. It looks like they’ve subsequently altered their article. I’ll put a note to that effect in the round-up.

    4. Sorry, but your argument still holds no weight. Ferrari were quite capable of carrying out two separate tests in that time.

  3. They don’t call Ross a genius for nothing ;-)

  4. It´s funny nobody has mentioned Lauda´s apeal to settle out of the tribunal! Ding, Ding, Ding!!! Guilty!! Most of the times, only people who know that they have done wrong settle out of court! Case that comes to mind is Michael Jackson settling out of court to avoid his dirty laundry and pedophilic ways coming out to light! I know there are more cases but that one just sprung to mind.
    What we have here is just a case of people hard in the head sticking to their belief that they did nothing wrong. It´s sad, I thought Brawn was a little bit more intelligent than that.

    1. A willingness to settle out of court does not prove guilt. Especially when Mercedes were the ones approached with the offer to settle, rather than going to the others with an offer prepared. That Mercedes were approached by the others suggests that they had a strong case. Why do you think they suggested sitting out the Young Driver Tests in exchange for admitting they broke the rules, which is a pretty light punishment. It’s because they knew the other teams wanted this to go away before Mercedes had the opportunity to embarras them before the tribunal.

      That doesn’t sound like guilt to me.

    2. @karter22

      Not necessarily. If you want to avoid reputational damage, you might want to have a case buried as soon as possible even if you have done nothing wrong. This is because every day the media reports about a case, the accused is connected with something bad/illegal/immoral, etc. Being right in the end might not always reverse these negative connections.

      This is especially true for F1 teams such as Mercedes, Red Bull, etc that use F1 as a means to promote their brand. It is different for teams like McLaren, which essentially are only an F1 team. On the other hand, they also require a positive image in order to attract sponsors.

      1. @mike-dee @karter22 What puzzles me is why they tried to settle it out of the tribunal with an F1 team than with FIA, since essentially they had broken a rule mandated by FIA than an agreement with RBR

        1. @SeaHorse possibly because the need for a tribunal hearing would go away, if the team, which actually started the whole thing (Red Bull) withdrew their official complaint.

          1. That is my best guess as well Daniel2.

            Although I have seen it reported as a settlement with the FIA as well, where the complaining parties had to also agree to it.

          2. @Daniel2 maybe they could have aimed for that. I do not know entirely how procedures of the International Tribunal, but in some appeal and hearing procedures the appellant withdrawing their complaint has no effect once the judiciary takes cognizance of the offence. But who knows that may not be the case with FIA’s IT as @bascb states.

  5. Last night, I made the decision not to follow the tribunal hearing too closely. This was in part inspired by the way I had to mark test papers for Year 10, but mostly because I was struck by a most curious thought. In this day and age of instant access to information, all it takes is one leaked report to turn the tide if public opinion, something that I think a few people involved in this have chosen to exploit to their advantage. Sitting on the train this morning and absorbing the proceedings after the fact (to the point where I nearly missed my stop), it occurred to me just how little we actually knew about the test, and how much of what we actually knew was perhaps tainted, however faintly, by an ulterior motive. I have to applaud Mercedes for the way they have handled the spotlight, choosing to wait until the tribunal hearing too explain themselves, rather than taking the bait offered by others and falling into a trial by media.

    With so much of public opinion shaped by the information posted on the internet, I wonder how Mercedes would have been perceived for doing the test twenty years ago …

  6. Just my opinion but when tens to hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake there is no place for the “spirit of the rules,” that’s for little league. I see no difference between what Merc did and what Newey and others did and do by pushing the boundries of the rules be it Tech or Sporting. If you get caught, pay up. If not, good for you…then the rules get revised.

  7. The point of penalties is twofold:

    1) To reverse any advantage gained by breaking the rules;
    2) To deter others from committing the same offence.

    By arguing for a ban from the young driver test, for instance, Mercedes have perhaps acknowledged 1) but failed to take into account 2). All that would do is establish a trade-off whereby teams can test mid-season in exchange for sacrificing the place at the young driver test. Similarly, a mere fine for Mercedes would just set a going rate for testing outside of the rules.

    I suspect Mercedes will be found guilty, and I hope that the penalty will be robust enough to achieve both of the objectives above. I don’t see any logic for penalising Pirelli: as a tyre supplier, they are not a team and hence are not bound by the Sporting Regulations.

    1. @red-andy Perhaps their logic for giving up YDT as a trade off for the secret test arises from the fact that teams have agreed to bring back in-season testing and eliminating young driver test from next season onwards (or at least for the next season). But with an established team of drivers in their lineup, the adverse effect of not having an YDT is nigh to nothing for Merc.

    2. Giving up the YDT really is no punishment, except a token punishment to save the FIA from complete embarrassment for filing an unfunded case (from Mercedes point of view).

      I fully agree that its not a penalty that fills either target of a penalty you mention. I certainly hope the Tribunal does not go for that one.

    3. I thought it was an odd move for Mercedes to suggest what penalties might be appropriate, for two reasons.

      First, it could be taken as a tacit acknowledgement by Mercedes of their guilt.

      Second, it could affect what judgement they ultimately receive. The FIA may prefer not to hand down a punishment suggested by Mercedes as it might look like it was giving them what they want.

      At any rate I think banning them from the Young Drivers’ Test would be too weak a punishment for the obvious reason that Mercedes used their race drivers at their test while their rivals would be unable to do that at the Young Drivers’ Test.

  8. It’s my mom’s birthday too!

    1. @JCost Wow, congratulations! I wish you both a wonderful day!

    2. Happy birthday to you @jcost and your mom! :)

    3. Make it a grandiose party @jcost!

  9. From the booing article:

    People who say these things are not F1 fans and should be ashamed of themselves. You will never be welcome in the F1 community.

    The pure form of Formula 1 for me is the best drivers in the world trying to earn respect from the audience and the other drivers by driving the best they can. Sebastian Vettel won the Canadian Grand Prix fair and square, there is simply no doubt he deserved to win the Grand Prix, as was reflected by the DOTW results. If you cannot respect that, it really begs the question: why the hell are you watching F1 then?

    In recent years, the ‘hooligan’ behavior has started to make its appearance on several F1 forums as well: fans of one driver insulting another fans’ favorite driver. In my opinion, a ‘true’ F1 fan can at least separate his support for one driver (there’s nothing wrong with that of course) from resentment towards other drivers.

    I will admit, I don’t like certain drivers myself: I don’t really like Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen as a person, but as far as driving is concerned there is no doubt they are among the best drivers in Formula 1 today. I do respect these drivers for what they have achieved in Formula 1 over the years and as such I’m not even slightly tempted to compare these drivers to the awful things mentioned in the article.

    I’m just happy there are still a lot of ‘true’ F1 fans: the majority of people posting on F1F for instance seem to have really balanced views which are very interesting to read. But also the more quiet people who just switch on the television come Sunday and expect to be impressed by the display of driving skills. And that’s what it’s all about.

  10. Meanwhile the world (which is mainly not even slightly interested in motor racing) looks on with incredulity at the mess that F1 has got itself into.
    This situation is no better than tabloid revelations about which footballer did what with whose wife/girlfriend/mother/lover and who did it first.
    If finding sponsors for top-level motorsport was difficult before, it’s going to be even more elusive after this.

  11. That’s a good article about fans’ attitude, it’s sad that some people lack any respect for the heros that all F1 drivers are. I know I have sometimes been angry towards some drivers and I also have my favourites but I would never call any driver names on Twitter or anywhere else.

    That said, I have to admit that those fans, who spend 90% of their time complaining about the lack of respect for their favourite driver annoy me, too. That’s just unproductive and boring. I think that most fans are able to share their opinions “with decorum and civility”, as one website has put it. But I’m not sure if there are many, who can truly raise above their prejudices and who really want to analyse and understand what’s going on in F1.

  12. FIA: You broke the rules!
    Mercedes: You said we could!
    FIA: Well, kind of, but you didn’t tell us you actually would.
    Mercedes: But we just lent our stuff to Paul so he could break the rules.
    Paul: We can do what we like.
    Mercedes: And anyway, Ferrari did it too! Honest! And they didn’t even ask first!

    1. COTD! Exactly the way I see it as well!

      Article 22 is actually pretty vague about the legality of the Ferrari test.

      And I couldn’t find the regulations of testing regulations for the tyre supplier. That doesn’t get mentioned ANY WERE.

      FIA, you have yourself to blame for this blunder and F1 is the big looser in the end.

  13. We need to have Mercedes in the championship, they are offering the only real challenge to the Red Dulls right now. We don’t need another Vettel romp.

    1. @lifew12 – Ferrari have the car to challenge Vettel as well, having won 2 races so far.

  14. I have to agree with that last article, I’m not the biggest fan of Vettel, but I still respect that he has a lot of talent, and for the fans in Canada to boo his victory was downright disrespectful. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I always imagined F1 had a little more class about it than that. I could understand if the Grand Prix was won under false pretenses, as in Austria ’02, but Vettel won that Grand Prix fair and square and doesn’t deserve for the fans to treat him like that.

    Again, I understand the passion, and not everyone will be happy to see him win, but come on give the guy the credit he deserves for once.

  15. The blame lies firmly at the feet of the FIA. The fact is that Mercedes reached out to the FIA about using a 2013 car before hand. If the FIA feel that using a 2013 is such a breach of the rules that they have taken Mercedes to tribunal over. Then why the hell was there not a firm ‘NO’ from them in the first instance.

    Their stance from the start should have been no. It wasn’t, it was a yes with conditions. But then we all know the FIA is a joke.

    1. @mcewan7 – The FIA’s stance is that they had no issue with Mercedes using a 2013 car, but that they never actually gave permission for it to be used. They treated Mercedes’ enquiry as a general request for clarification, rather than a direct question of whether it could be used in an upcoming test. Which one it comes down to hinges on the wording of the actual request.

    2. It is not just about the 2013 car, It is about using current drivers in that car and also about the fact that neither Mercedes or Pirelli seemed to think letting the other teams know about this was not necessary. It is clear to me that Mercedes were going in to a very grey area with this test so 1) should not have just taken the FIAs Lawyers word as they should have got their own lawyers to look through it too. 2) They should have let the other teams know what was happening ( even if they did not think it was their job to do so) as that would have been the intelligent and correct thing to do. It would have enabled the other teams to question the FIA and also would have meant that Mercedes themselves were being transparent about the test.

      As it is they have made themselves look like they were part of a secret plot (even if this is not strictly the case). It would have just been common sense to let the other teams know.

      We are no in the position where even if they are found innocent they have still gained significant benefits from the testing which the other teams will want to see put right in some way or other. The fact that they are in this position is entirely their own fault.

  16. Anyone have any idea on when would the International Tribunal’s sitting commences today? Also whether there would be continuation of the hearing or only delivering the verdict?

  17. Reprimand for MERC and Pirelli. Merc suspended form forthcoming Young Driver Test. Predictable outcome I reckon. But fair enough.

    Reckon Horner is foaming at the mouth though… lol

Jump to comment page: 1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.