Mercedes “had no reason to believe” test was illegal

2013 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2013The FIA International Tribunal ruled Mercedes “had no reason to believe that approval had not been given” by the FIA for their three-day tyre test for Pirelli.

The Tribunal heard from 25 people prior to its deliberations including representatives from the FIA, Mercedes, Pirelli, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Williams.

It ruled that: “The track testing, which is the subject of these proceedings, was not carried out by Pirelli and/or Mercedes with the intention that Mercedes should obtain any unfair sporting advantage.”

It added that “neither Pirelli nor Mercedes acted in bad faith at any material time” and they “disclosed to FIA at least the essence of what they intended to do in relation to the test and attempted to obtain permission for it.”

Significantly, the Tribunal agrred with Mercedes that they “had no reason to believe that approval had not been given” following their consultation with FIA race director Charlie Whiting.

The Tribunal added that “The actions taken on behalf of FIA by Charlie Whiting (having taken advice from the legal department of FIA) were taken in good faith and with the intention of assisting the parties and consistent with sporting fairness.”

However the Tribunal said the test was a violation of the Sporting Regulations and that Mercedes benefitted from it:

“Mercedes did obtain some material advantage (even if only by way of confirmation of what had not gone wrong) as a result of the testing, which, at least potentially, gave it an unfair sporting advantage, to the knowledge and with the intention of Pirelli.

“In the light of the data which Pirelli did in fact pass to Mercedes by way of the confidential email referred to under paragraph 37.8 above, it is plain beyond sensible argument that Pirelli had intended confidentially to pass some data to Mercedes, which Pirelli expressly regarded as being of high importance even if, as we accept, it was in fact of limited value to Mercedes because it was unaware of the tyre(s) to which the report related.”

On the subject of Ferrari’s two tests for Pirelli in 2012 and 2013, the Tribunal said it was “unable to express any opinion as to whether or not the testing carried out by Ferrari in 2012 and 2013 was properly authorised.”

“But it would appear to be equally unsatisfactory that this consent was also given by Charlie Whiting, the Tribunal has no evidence before it which indicates that his opinion in that case had in
fact been wrong.”

Mercedes and Ferrari Pirelli tyre test row


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