Mercedes, Sepang, 2013

Mercedes banned from Young Drivers’ Test by FIA

2013 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Mercedes, Sepang, 2013An FIA Tribunal has banned Mercedes from participating in this year’s Young Drivers’ Test for conducting a three-day test ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Tribunal also reprimanded the team for its participation in the test along. Tyre supplier Pirelli were also reprimanded.

Following the Tribunal hearing yesterday Mercedes had suggested the punishment of exclusion from the Young Drivers’ Test.

The Tribunal ruled that Mercedes had “misconceived ‘qualified approval’ which was given on behalf of the FIA”. It decided the team broke article 22.4 (h) of the Sporting Regulations and articles 1 and 151 of the International Sporting Code.

The costs of the investigation and procedure were shared equally between Mercedes, Pirelli and the FIA.

In the first ever hearing of the FIA’s new International Tribunal the governing body’s prosecution denied Mercedes had been granted permission for the test and said they had failed to invite other teams to participate in it as they were instructed to. The FIA added there was no way of proving Mercedes could not have gained an advantage from the test.

Mercedes’ defence claimed they were not in breach of the rules as the test was run by and for Pirelli. They insisted approval had been sought and obtained from individuals within the FIA.

They added that if their test was considered in breach of the regulations the test conducted by Ferrari three weeks prior to it should also be as the 2011 car Ferrari used was, in Mercedes’ view, similar to those being raced at present.

Red Bull and Ferrari lodged a protest against their rival team during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend when it emerged they had used their 2013 car to cover over 1,000km in a tyre test for Pirelli.

The International Tribunal was presided over by Edwin Glasgow. The three members involved in the deliberations were Christy Harris, Patrick Raedersdorf and Anthony Scott Andrews.

Mercedes and Ferrari Pirelli tyre test row

Browse all Mercedes and Ferrari Pirelli tyre test row articles

Image ?? Mercedes/Hoch Zwei

182 comments on “Mercedes banned from Young Drivers’ Test by FIA”

  1. Not good enough. Period.

    1. Hilarious. The rest of the teams should be allowed to do the same.

        1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
          21st June 2013, 14:12

          Soooooooooooooooo….. told you so. lol.

      1. How do you know they are not? Ferrari’s test didn’t come to light until Monaco. The FIA needs to go further and straighten out its rules and police them, not just review things after the fact.

      2. We need a poll for this ..

    2. I think I can hear Ferrari firing up their engines to go testing now.

      3 days with your race drivers and the circuit all to yourself has the potential to be so much more productive than 3 days with a track full of other cars and a field of young drivers.

      Well done Mercedes for pulling it off. But the punishment does not fit the crime.

      1. What part of Pirelli test do you not understand. Scientific testing like tyre testing require a stable test bed, that means the car stays unchanged.
        People still think Mercedes were doing testing of the car. How would that have been any help for Pirelli?

        1. Merc got three extra days to see how their car (which overheats its tyres) performs with Pirelli rubber. You’re saying that Mercedes gained no data or advantage out of such a test? Just because it had Pirelli’s name on it doesn’t mean Mercedes didn’t benefit.

          1. But didn’t they say they never knew what tyres they were on? And also the tyres were development tyres? So how could they gain any info on the tyres?

          2. I would say that it’s not so much about the specific tyres, but why the car they have generates the amount of heat it does that transfers into the tyres. Solve the car problem, solve the tyre problem. Having a specific compound on would be better but not essential.

          3. @tonyyeb

            Pirelli did not tell mercedes which tyres they were running on, however if you think that the with some of the worlds best drivers and some of the worlds best race engineers could not make a very good educated guess about which tyres were which then you do not know much about F1. Also the drivers have had 1000km to practice their breaking, cornering and accelerating which is invaluable especially as Lewis was saying before the test that he was having issues getting used to the fact that the break system on mercedes was a lot different from that on the maclaren. The engineers will have also had a lot of information coming back about the wear rate on components in the engine and on the car, plus we have no idea if they were running any test parts either or for that matter if the telemetry data was being beamed live back to their base.

            If I was one of the other teams I would be fuming right now as this outcome does not rectify the problem. What use is it banning them from the young drivers test? They got to use their race drivers, with all the experience they bring and all the benefits the drivers themselves stood to gain, while in a young drivers test the other teams will be using new drivers with little experience of developing cars and standing to gain nothing of benefit for the drivers for the current season.

            I am not disputing the decision on how guilty Mercedes were, but I do think the other teams should have got at least a full test out of this. Remember that Maclaren were never proven to have gained anything from spygate to help their performance yet they were banned from the championship and fined £100million! If the idea was that if they punished Mercedes then they would leave F1 then that stinks, also if the thinking was that if they punished Mercedes then they would seriously have to think about the Ferrari tests, then that stinks too. Although I would not want Mercedes to leave F1 I do think this should have no bearing on the punishment handed out as it would effectively be one rule for the Manufacturer teams and one for the non manufacturer teams.

          4. I’d love to see that posed to all the technical directors at each team. Would you have preferred 3 days on tack by yourself, with your race drivers but without knowing what tyre you were on? Or 3 days sharing the track (more traffic, red flags etc, but gets cleaned up and rubbered in quicker), with a “young driver” (some of which have covered several race distances easily) but you would know what tyres you were using, when you wanted to use them?

          5. @tonyyeb

            Mercedes would have had a very good idea about which tyres they were on and the other teams would work that out pretty quickly too. Plus the track was fully rubbered in as they tested on a track that had just had 2 days of practice and 1 full race day. If the others were to get the same after say silverstone? or the next event after that, then they would then be running on a fully rubbered in track too.

          6. They also got to do that in mid season, and on a very clean track that they had just raced on. At the least points should have been taken .. banned from the young driver’s test???? PLEEEAAAAAAASE!

          7. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
            21st June 2013, 19:45

            @Lee1 the tyres that were used in the pirelli test are development tyres chances are not a single compound they ran will be used unchanged from that day till next year. Even if they were the notion that a driver can say oh thats a super soft and i completely understand it within 11 laps is laughable.(1000km of running divided by 3.6km track length divided by 24 compounds of tyres=11 laps a tyre.) 11 Teams with 22 drivers don’t understand pirellis tyres after 21 practice sessions or 460 hours of collective running time so far this year.

    3. + 1. Weak as but I dint expect anything different. Hmm got me thinking of those Ross & Jean days ;)

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        21st June 2013, 14:29

        Yeah because back in the ferrari days jean todt was alllllways taking ross brawn to court he couldn’t help him self the little devil.

    4. There’s a lot of loopholes and misunderstanding, the tribunal made the right call anyway. It’s not like Mercedes did the test without asking FIA and went to break the rules.

      1. Did they inform the FIA or CW that they woul be running there current spec car?

        1. It does seem they did ask about just that, yes @ming-momg, that is what the ‘Nnot in bad faith’ part is about.

    5. +1 agree, this was a joke. Now every tema should go ahead and break the rules…

      1. @celeste Sure…as long as Pirelli approaches them to do a tire test of no data sharing, and it’s not a normal F1 team test, and the team has “misconceived ‘qualified approval’ which was given on behalf of the FIA” and they are prepared to forfeit the YDT session, then yeah by all means let every team proceed accordingly.

        1. @robbie wanna ask the teams what would they rather do?

          1. Fair point, but some teams were asked and declined, and Ferrari were completely exonerated, so…I just don’t see what allowing the other teams to ‘break the rules’ would accomplish when in fact it was found that there were extenuating circumstances for the Pirelli test. It was unique and necessary imho, and therefore should not be treated like a door has been opened for anarchy.

    6. @endel – Have you actually read the judges’ decision?

      They make it pretty clear that although the rules were broken, there was no intent to break them. Pirelli and Mercedes were testing the tyres under the impression that the test was legal, and with the intention of using the data that was gathered to build better tyres for the future.

      So do they necessarily deserve to be punished for this?

  2. So I guess, that now it’s worth for teams to conduct 1000 km test, because you will not lose tooo much. Actually, you will gain.

  3. Pathetic decision, This decision is a disgrace and embarace the sport.
    Well done Mercedes, having tests, and getting the knowledge will pay off and it’s better than having the young driver’s test.
    Shame for FIA, Todt and all the court.

    1. -1 it was a Pirelli test.

      1. O’rly??? And they drive the tests alone??

        1. Yes in the case of Ferrari and Mercedes. I don’t make the rules.. I just read the facts. Mercedes took part in a Pirelli test, they were found guilty of using the incorrect car and have been rightly punished for this. The facts don’t change anything nor does the punishment. It was and will always be a Pirelli test.

          Had Mercedes used an older and legal car there would have been no problem or punishment, as we have seen with Ferrari. This is very simple for anyone with a brain cell to understand.

          Saying it was a Mercedes test just makes you look like you have no clue what’s going on.

          Saying it was a Mercedes test means that Ferrari also had two independent tests. They should therefore be punished as in season testing isn’t allowed. But, the whole reason they were not punished is because, guess what ? it was a Pirelli test ! Which is again the reason what Mercedes were not more harshly punished.

          1. When did i said that was a Mercedes Test???
            Please transcrit my text here that i said it was a ferrari test

            I know exactly what’s going on…Todt, Montezemolo and Brawn know it too…

            I think also Ferrari should be punished btw

          2. *Mercede’s test

    2. ++1 it was a big Mercedes test

      1. @nomore

        No, you are wrong. It was a Pirelli test. End of.

        1. It was indeed a pirelli test, What does this have to do with it. The fact is Mercedes did not fulfill the requirements to do the test and they will have gained a lot of benefit from the testing. The fact that the premise of the test was to test the tires and that the tire test itself was conducted by pirelli does not mean Mercedes have not engineered an unfair advantage over other teams and it does not clear them of the duties that they failed to perform in relation to fair play and common decency.

          1. “It was indeed a Pirelli test, What does this have to do with it. ” – well quite a lot actually @lee1

            I was just pointing out @nomore ‘s mistake when they said ” it was a big Mercedes test ” – which it simply wasn’t. It was a Pirelli test, meaning his comment was in fact wrong, as I pointed out.

          2. @f190
            i’m afraid you are mistaken it was a Mercedes test…

            Do you really believe Pirelli could run Mercedes car ? really belive ?…ok bar the fact that you may be Mercedes, ham, Ros fan…do you really believe that Pirelli controlled Mercedes car ?

            the name of the test could be whatever…pirelli test, magneti marelli test, shell test, Mobil 1 test…but we know who run and controlled the car

            If you really believe that, then we can’t discuss because you believe in something that for me is unbelievable

            If you believe that Mercedes run the test, but to find a solutions how to lie to FIA is to call this test a “Pirelli test” then yes there you are right

        2. @f190
          they were found guilty, it was a Mercedes test.
          The friendship Brawn – Todt works pretty well to escape a big penalty…

          But Mercedes were found guilty. i.e Cheated

          1. @nomore

            Sorry but you are simply wrong. They were found guilty yes, but guilty of breaking the rules while in a Pirelli test.

            Cheated is a bit harsh, they were helping Pirelli out with a well documented safety issue, an issue which Vettel, Button and several other drivers had complained to the FIA about.

            “The Decision of the International Tribunal confirmed that the team acted in good faith regarding the Pirelli Tests” Mercedes statement confirming it was a Pirelli test.

            So YES, it was a Pirelli test. So please stop saying ” it was a big Mercedes test” because it just wasnt.

          2. @f190
            sorry to disappoint but it was a Mercedes test…was Mercedes then run the test…read the message above

    3. I think the court did the right thing. Mercedes played it cleverly and ultimately the FIA being murky about it made it possible to get away with it.

      Had the FIA legal man clearly stated that “NO, the proposed position will clearly be seen to violate the rules”, its highly likely that the case would have been clear cut (although in that case its even more likely that Mercedes would not have done the track running with their 2013 car).

  4. You do have to feel for Sam Bird here.

    The FIA really needs to learn to avoid these loopholes in future.

    Strange decision…

  5. So they punish Sam Bird.

    1. FWIW, I’m not totally sure they would’ve put Sam Bird in the car. Maybe Daniel Juncadella.

      Not to mention it was Mercedes themselves who recommended getting banned from the YDT as a punishment.

      But yes, I get your point.

  6. Thats an absurd penalty considering they were found to have broken the rules.

  7. So tribunal asked what “punishment” Mercedes would like and then made it official?

    Is it a bad joke or what.

    1. Yep, suggesting your own punishment during proceedings. Well played Mercedes.

      1. Suggesting does not mean getting. I think the point of their suggestion was to reinforce the fact that they didn’t commit nearly the crime that many believe they did, nor did they gain nearly as much from this test as many want to think. I think they will lose more from their YDT ban than they might have gained from the Pirelli test. At least at the YDT they could have tried different components for the car, and would have known what tires they were on and had their own engineers progressing the car with possible solutions, which is something they didn’t get to do at Pirelli’s tire test with Pirelli engineers running it.

  8. This is a disgrace to the rest of the Formula 1 world, FIA could do alot better than this. As others said, pathetic..

    1. jimscreechy (@)
      21st June 2013, 14:58

      Completely agree. A 10,000 Euro fine would have been quite sufficient.

  9. Considering all the politics and grey areas involved in this whole mess, I’m not surprised that Mercedes got nothing more than a very light slap on the wrist. A reduction in constructor’s points would have been preferable to my mind, and at the end of the day this does nothing to negate or penalise the development advantage Mercedes have surely gained from their three day test.

    1. This result more or less shows that the FIA was less than clear cut on the matter as well. They did not mind Ferrari doing considerable running with a 2 year old car (which could have run new parts non the less), Todt has been in favour of more testing all the way, and even proposed to open up testing several times, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the only reason to bring Mercedes in front of the tribunal was to make transparent procedures of it after Red Bull and Ferrari protested.

      Lets hope they now sit down and clear the rules on testing from now on, close the loophole and be happy that the tribunal had its first session and no more damage was done to the sport.

      1. There was no “loophole”. Mercedes broke the regulations against testing, and were found to have done so.

        The so-called-punishment they were given for doing so was simply farcical.

        1. Indeed they were @jonsan. But they did get out of it without any substantial punishment because the FIA appeared to have created just enough of a gray area for them to get away with it like that

      2. The FIA’s approach didn’t help, for sure! I am happy that it’s over with, especially since a harsh punishment would probably have created more damage to the sport and potentially open this up to having Ferrari dragged in, creating even more controversy and prolonging all of this.

        Bad cases don’t make for good law, and the FIA-Pirelli-Mercedes mess we saw certainly meant that things were never just going to be about any possible advantage Merc gained, and more about other factors surrounding how the test was conducted. It’s over now and we move on!

      3. @bascb

        This result more or less shows that the FIA was less than clear cut on the matter as well.

        Exacctly. Which is why this got so messy.

  10. Difficult to know whether it is the right decision or not, but surely Pirelli could’ve gone about the testing bit a better way – if they had have asked Marussia or Caterham to do the test with their 2013 cars, we wouldn’t have cared less. But, that’s the way it is and let’s focus now on what happens on the track, regardless of whether an advantage was gained by Mercedes.

  11. as a Hamilton fan, I’m chuffed! no race bans etc.

  12. I don’t think Sam Bird might suffer as much. Mercedes might get him to test with Force India or maybe even Williams now that they would be using the same engine. What an entirely weak decision this is. Banning a team from a young driver’s test. A better decision would have been to ban them from next years pre-season tests or at the very least all except the last one before the first race next year.

    1. Haha so because of a grey area, destroy their next season? Sounds fair. …

      1. No the point is not about there being a grey area. The point is that the punishment is not fair enough. It will make hardly any difference to Mercedes by missing the YD test. Yet, the Pirelli test has made a difference to how their car has performed over the last few races.

        1. Yet, the Pirelli test has made a difference to how their car has performed over the last few races.

          I don’t know of one credible source that is confident enough to say that. The snails pace at which the Monaco GP was races doesn’t show any such thing. Mercedes were predicted to do well at both these tracks regardless of any testing.

        2. Yet, the Pirelli test has made a difference to how their car has performed over the last few races.”

          Proof of this please ?

  13. Cue raging criticism from Christian Horner and/or LDM….and a “told you so” style comment from BE…although he appears to have been right that Mercedes should have refused Pirelli’s request without proper consultation of the other teams.

    Sounds to me like the FIA sided with Mercedes’ view that this was a Pirelli test and they were there at Pirelli’s request, which gets them out of the sporting regulation about in-season testing.

    1. The FIA was prosecution, the impartial Tribunal made the decision.

      1. do you really believe this….it all about friendship… Jean-Todt

        1. What, that ex-Ferrari team boss? Is that the Jean-Todt you mean?

    2. Not so sure. Ferrari already mentioned before it started, that they only protested to get a clear view on what is and what is not allowed. Red Bull started toning down their anger about it too lately, so I guess they will just repeat that they think the penalty is not severe enough but to be happy that it was a transparent case etc, etc.

    3. Sounds to me like the FIA sided with Mercedes’ view that this was a Pirelli test and they were there at Pirelli’s request, which gets them out of the sporting regulation about in-season testing.

      You might want to read the results again (or perhaps the first time) because you’re wrong in every single part of that. The Tribunal (not the FIA) found that Mercedes had conducted illegal in-season testing. And then let them off with a warning.

  14. So thats 1000km with the current drivers vs 3 days with a driver who is never getting a Mercedes race seat. I know which I’d want.

    1. But on the wrong tyres. To be honest, I’m not sure which I would rather have.

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        21st June 2013, 19:51

        young driver test is far more valuable at least then you get some data and if you learn nothing about the tyres at least you can do some aero mapping

  15. Personally I think it’s the right call. There are a lot of grey areas that need to be cleared up.

    Going forward, FIA permission should be given in writing before ANY tests go ahead. We need transparency in F1, not hidden secret tests.

    1. What is “grey” about the article that regulates testing, in this particular case with Mercedes?

      22.1 Track testing shall be considered any track running time not part of an Event undertaken by a competitor entered in the Championship, using cars which conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year. The only exception is that each competitor is permitted up to eight promotional events, carried out using tyres provided specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier, to a maximum distance of 100kms per event.

      Tyhe description “cars which conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year” is indeed very vague. But MGP ran this year’s car, so no arguments there.

      Brawn kept stating that it was a Pirelli test, not a MGP test. That was his angle. Does that refer to the bit “undertaken by a competitor”?

      I don’t think the problem lies in unclear rules. The problem lies with how the teams pay around them.

      1. The grey part starts where Pirelli has a contract with the FIA that does allow them to test with a teams car. And the FIA’s legal council answering a question from Mercedes about using the 2013 car with a conditioned yes, instead of a clear no. @baremans. In other words, the FIA murking up their own rules.

  16. All the other teams should now swap their young driver test for the same test as Mercedes did. Maybe at stay on at silverstone.

    Ross gets away with it again.

    1. Symbolic slapped wrist.

    2. Then the other teams would get a harsher punishment. Mercedes got off lightly because there was a massive grey area – they believed the test to be legal. Any team which now tests with their 2013 car and drivers will know that it is fact illegal.

      For example, if a young child was told by their mother that it is perfectly fine to kill someone, should this child be put in prison for life? Certainly not, as the child believed they were doing the right thing. However, as they still did break the law, they deserve some small punishment to reinforce the rules for the future.
      A fairly extreme example but I hope you understand the message behind it.

      If, however, the child is told not to do something and they subsequently do it, then that is a completely different matter.
      So any team who does test now should be severely punished, as they knowingly broke the rules.

  17. Brad Bircumshaw
    21st June 2013, 12:56

    What the hell fia need to man up first they let vettel off with an illegal overtake last year now this, hang your heads in shame

    1. they let vettel off with an illegal overtake last year

      I don’t know what that’s a reference to.

      Vettel was penalised for an illegal pass on Button in Germany.

      If it’s a reference to Ferrari’s claim Vettel overtook Vergne under yellow flags under Brazil the FIA rightly threw that out because it was complete rubbish.

  18. This is a disgrace.

    Obviously, by the letter of the regulations, Mercedes seems to have found a loophole. But they clearly breached the spirit of the regulations, somewhat ditching the whole purpose and principle of having rules.

    Now compare this with a recent incident in NASCAR: Penske used rear-end housings on its cars which incurred severe penalties (-25pts for drivers plus two-race suspension of key personnel), but NASCAR noted that it was not because the housing was illegal by the letter of the rulebook, but rather because NASCAR itself thought it was not in accordance with the spirit of the rules.

    Now, I take the side of the latter case and think of rules from the viewpoint of their purpose. I think if it does not serve its purpose, it somewhat loses its relevance and dignity; it becames merely a toy.

    1. Well the tribunal obviously thought Mercedes’ main purpose was not to gain an advantage, but to help Pirelli, so in that sense they were not against the “spirit” of the regulations.

    2. In formula 1 “Spirit of the rules” has no basis for judgement. Just ask red bull about that

      1. I know. But I cannot accept it – all that was needed was an FIA with balls to rule on a matter in its own backyard that the Mercedes test was not in accordance with the spirit of the rulebook, end of story.

        And this is entirely independent of the scale of the penalty received – I completely agree with the YDT ban as it could have, in my opinion, the same impact as the Mercedes test. 3 days, about 1,000km, even more liberty to access data, etc. However, contravening somewhat to this assumption is the fact that Mercedes literally advised the IT this sanction during the hearing – surely they would not have done so if they thought they were not in a net beneficiary position still.

    3. I completely agree with that.

      I feel totally depressed now. I hope Mercedes never does well in formula 1 while under Brawn.

      1. I mean I agree with Atticus.

    4. @atticus-2

      Actually the spirit of the regulations is what they -didn’t- break, the authorization from FIA to go ahead takes that away.

    5. Well, actually, I judged too early. My initial thought was that the eventual penalty was for some ‘lesser’ infringement, like violating article 1 or 151c, and they got away with the testing infringement because of that unclarified ‘undertaken by’ phrase and the FIA clearance.

      So it turned out that the IT actually ruled against Mercedes in the legal interpretation (“misconceived the ‘qualified approval”), which is exactly what I thought was the right step from the viewpoint of the rulebook’s purpose.

      Thanks for @tvm for the comment which had me review the issue.

  19. I wasn’t expecting points deductions or race bans, but at least a financial punishment. They got a light penalty indeed.

  20. That’s not much of a penalty. It will hurt Mercedes to some extent, but it’s comparable to the advantage they’d gain from the Pirelli test. If they were guilty they should have got a much harsher penalty.

    It’s like being found guilty of robbing a bank with the only punishment being having to return the money.

    1. To be honest, I can imagine a situation where a court would decide on such a verdict @enigma, if it would be clear that they were doing the robbery to give people who were conned out of their money by a bank fraudulent manager their money back or something.

  21. joeyzf1 (@jzformulaone)
    21st June 2013, 13:00

    So much anger in the comments. LOL

    I would’ve expected a harsher punishment, but oh well. It’s not really that big a deal.

  22. I don’t get all the negative comments so far. I have followed the tribunal since yesterday (kudos to Sky Sports for providing live updates and chat) and the general consensus was that Mercedes had delieverd a good defense. They successfully argued that:
    1. The test was undertaken by Pirelli, not Mercedes (so the sporting regulation does not apply),
    2. They had acted no differently than Ferrari about communicating about the test with the FIA or the rest of the world,
    3. Any knowledge gained from simply running a car (which at this point of the season was quite reliable), especially with unknown tyres, was of little use to them.

    I feel missing the YDT is still a punishment, as it is a proper test where you can put sensors and new parts on the car, but not a very heavy one. I’m grateful this whole saga is over without any damage to Mercedes’s campaign this year, and I hope the FIA won’t appeal the verdict.

    1. +1. The only person here who understands what happened. The judgement was correct.

      1. The only person here who understands what happened.

        It makes two of you actually ;)

    2. firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@)
      21st June 2013, 13:40

      So, gaining 1 sec in 2 weeks has nothing to do with the secret test??? In Spain they finished 7-8, and in Monaco they won. In Canada they were second…

      1. @sorin

        So, gaining 1 sec in 2 weeks has nothing to do with the secret test??? In Spain they finished 7-8, and in Monaco they won. In Canada they were second…

        Unfortunately you’ve failed to understand how F1 works. Not all tracks are created equally. Lewis Hamiltons results have been 5-3-3-5-12-4-3, Nico Rosbergs DNF-4-DNF-9-6-1-5. There’s nothing in those numbers that suggest the test gave them any advantage. Though nor is there anything to suggest it didn’t…

        By your argument, STR should immediately be investigated for their obvious illegal test. JEVs results: 12-10-12-DNF-DNF-8-6. HOW HAS NO ONE SPOTTED THIS?!

    3. Spot On!
      it seems to me that many who are commenting here, did not follow the tribunal.
      Mercedes argued their case pretty well and On those grounds, I am even surprised
      they got the YDT ban.
      Nevertheless, i was expecting this outcome. The FIA need to sort themselves out.

      1. They successfully argued that:
        1. The test was undertaken by Pirelli, not Mercedes

        A) They did not successfully argue that. If they HAD successfully argued that then Mercedes would not have been found guilty of having broken the ban on in-season testing. Which they were.

        B) It was a Mercedes test, not a “Pirelli test”. See both the official ruling and a dictionary for the meanings of words.

        1. @jonsan, you may be right about A, in that they didn’t fully exonerate themselves. On the other hand, the penalty was mild, so they must have been at least partially successful in their arguing.

          With regards to B, I did not see anything in the official ruling about it being a “Mercedes test” or a “Pirelli test”; I will try to look up “Pirelli test” in the dictionary but I doubt I’ll find much.

          And why are you so convinced it was a Mercedes test, and not a Pirelli test? We have both Mercedes’ and Pirelli’s statements that the test was undertaken by Pirelli, and even the legal department of the FIA (in the communications with Charlie Whiting) could accept that interpretation.

    4. Given that Mercedes was in fact found to have broken the rules

      It decided the team broke article 22.4 (h) of the Sporting Regulations and articles 1 and 151 of the International Sporting Code.

      ist simply not true that the Tribunal accepted the reasoning that it was a test undertaken by someone who is not a competitor @adrianmorse
      Actually, the fact Pirelli received a reprimand as well, would point to the Tribunal accepting that Pirelli in its role as tyre supplier is in fact bound by the same rules as the competing teams, their associates, licence holders etc.

      But because the Tribunal does not see an intention on any of the parties to gain an unfair advantage, the penalty handed to the team is very lenient (missing a test which will be more of a burden than a help mid season, a reprimand and paying a 3rd of the cost of the procedures)

      1. @bascb, I didn’t spot that line initially, as I only saw the verdict that said they would be reprimanded and miss the young driver’s test. I now see there’s also a 20-page document on the FIA website, but something for the F1LegalFanatics to go over, I suppose.

    5. +1 Good solid analysis. Besides the legal aspect, I think a lot of commenters are missing the boat on just how useful the test data gained is compared to how useful it could have been under a completely Mercedes controlled test.

      The point is, if it were completely a Mercedes test, Mercedes would have gained much more information than they did. Any team, Mercedes included, is intelligent enough to glean *some* information from a test with no knowledge of tire compounds and no adjustments made to the car during testing.

      Infinitely more useful information would be gained from a test with exact known tire compounds, making adjustments and changing car parts to correspond with different compounds, then further changing compounds and adjustments during testing to create a large, useful database of known qualified information to be studied at length post test. That is not what happened.

      Looking forward, hopefully the teams and FIA can agree on terms for much needed testing that will benefit all.

    6. +1

      I was on the other side of the fence when the whole thing became public, but the more evidence came to light the more it pointed towards Mercedes’ acting in good faith (anything else would have been stupid, really). As to whether they have not gained significant information is up to debate – the question is how much more useful was it than by running a two-year old car.

      The problem lies with Pirelli having a contract with the FIA, not Mercedes going ‘testing’ – they acted as asked while also exploiting a loophole. As one cannot (a) deem them from breaking the rules per se, (b) quantify the advantage gained, the Tribunal has decided to effectively cancel the test out by banning them from the YDT.

      I’m pretty sure most teams would prefer Mercedes’ test to the Young Driver’s Test, but given everything I think the whole thing boils down to Ross Brawn being savvy once again. There is no ‘spirit of the rules’ in a competitive environment as everybody’s definition will be different.

  23. Steve Ellis
    21st June 2013, 13:02

    Weak. I guess the Mercedes’ board threat to leave the sport put the fear of God into the FIA. Punk card successfully pulled.

  24. On a sidenote, I wonder what the reason for this ‘penalty’ was. I mean, what rules did Mercedes breach after all. All cited earlier seemed to be significant; I would have thought they all deserved more serious penalties.

    And a more important one: is there any indication on the FIA modifying the rulebook instantly to prevent these type of tests to be carried out the near future, or not? Obviously, all teams – that can afford it, and that’s the key point of this whole thing – are not in a hurry to get this opportunity as well as per the status quo. This is ridiculous.

    1. as mentioned in the article @atticus-2

      The Tribunal ruled that Mercedes had “misconceived ‘qualified approval’ which was given on behalf of the FIA”. It decided the team broke article 22.4 (h) of the Sporting Regulations and articles 1 and 151 of the International Sporting Code.

    2. As for the second part of your post,

      a. Its inconceivable that another team would be able to argue that they believed it was legal to do such a test now
      b. Pirelli would be crazy to do another test like this, after being reprimanded for it
      c. the FIA would certainly make it more clear that it was NOT ok to do this, apart from very special circumstances, where the FIA WMSC would actually agree with such a test beforehand and would be carefully informed of all details of a planed test, etc.

      So its not going to happen again.

      1. Thanks for the clarifications @bascb, I misunderstood a couple of things here by the looks of it.

        1. happy to be of help there then!

  25. A sensible solution to a very difficult problem (as suggested by Mercedes). In my opinion Mercedes will have gained less knowledge at the Pirelli test than they could gain at a “young” drivers test, the young drivers all have a lot of experience with driving, testing and setting up cars and are quite capable of driving to orders so that the engineers can evaluate various parts, set ups and scenarios. Let’s now forget the whole messy business and get back to racing.

  26. I think this punishment is fair, Mercedes got no data back from this test, which the teams will get at the young drivers test, plus i doubt very much that using next years tyres on this years car will make any difference as next year car will be completely different, I think Ross Brawn was naive to think that nothing might happen from doing that test, but some of the blame should be put on the FIA for this silly contract situation, lets just hope this doesn’t happen again

    1. No data. Your dreaming pal. F1 cars are sensor cities and Merc would got alot of data back. They may just have not got some of Pirellis data back.

  27. I think the bottom line says a lot, The costs will be shared equally between Mercedes, Pirelli and the FIA.

  28. So there was enough of a loop-hole to not receive a hefty penalty, but not loop-holed enough to get away with it entirely? Interesting. It seems it really is as grey an area as it can get.

    I feel this is incredibly harsh on Sam Bird. He has literally no part in any of this, and now he gets his track time in the YDT cut out. However, could the penalty really have been more, considering there was this loop-hole in the first place. I mean, I still don’t think that Mercedes would have done the test thinking it was illegal, so, it would have been harsh to issue even more. It’s a very tricky situation.

    One thing is for certain. The FIA need to clear something up, because if Mercedes found a loop-hole (albeit still technically illegal, but 1000km for a loss of the YDT? I’d take that), who’s to say other teams wont now do the same and just lose the YDT.

  29. Lenient and all rather predictable really.

    I didn’t ever think there would be a heavy sanction because this was another example of the FIA providing a pretty healthy sized loophole for someone to leap through.
    The investment Mercedes have made to stay in F1 recently, to me guaranteed they would receive a minor penalty, as did the recent losses the FIA have suffered in appeal courts.

    Then there is Pirelli. Let’s be honest, if they were punished heavily they would have packed their bags and left the sport for good. The criticism they have received this year must have been as close to unbearable from a corporate point of view as is possible. This way they have been given a slap on the wrist, with the FIA sound in the knowledge that securing a different tyre supplier for the 2014 season at such late notice would be almost impossible.

  30. Fair and sensible decision in the end. You have to give benefit of the doubt to Mercedes. Also 3 parties are involved here. Mercedes, Pirelli and FIA so anything more than this would have been harsh on Mercedes.
    Mercedes did 3 days of testing and will lose 3 days now. So the advantage gained will be more or less neutralized.
    FIA should improve the procedures so that this kind of miss communication doesn’t happen again.

  31. So Merc goes testing illegally, and the only one who is punished is Sam Bird?
    Merc has gained an advantage over the other teams after Spain, they are going to carry that advantage all the way to the YDT before it is evened out. Where is the punishment in that?
    This debacle has made F1 look properly stupid as a sport. And that no example has been set.
    I think F1 looks even worse now then it did before.
    To think that the offending party has been allowed to just choose their punishment. I can’t get my head around how stupid it sounds.

  32. Mercedes probably eeked the punishment on 2 factors, both of which are hefty grey areas –
    1) Pirelli’s testing contract was two open to interpretation
    2) The rule re: cars substantially conforming to the rules is also very grey – the argument by the defence of Ferrari benefiting quite well from it probably held some water (after all, apart from a different exhaust & front suspension geometry there’s not a whole lot of difference in the car concepts).

  33. Seriously, how could they do anything to Mercedes? If this was some of the midfield or lower grid teams they would have had a stiffer penalty.

    Lewis Hamilton cannot be banned or disqualified in any way. That is never going to happen. Want proof? Just listen to the sport reporter on the BBC yesterday in Paris. He said: “With the British GP just around the corner, many don’t want anything to happen that will harm Lewis Hamiltons’ chances of winning at Silverstone.”

    It’s as though they already have Lewis winning the race! How can they take any action against the team when a British driver who is classed as a God by the BBC and other media outlets is going to drive at Silverstone in Britain?

    There was more chance of ABBA reforming than action taken against Mercedes.

  34. What a joke of a punishment! I hope all teams do a test together now without Mercedes knowledge to gain worthwhile data! Punishing them by young driver test ban is hilarious!

    I’d bet everything I’ve ever owned and everything I’ll ever own every team would take that punishment for a 3 day test on current hardware with their race drivers!

    What do people usually say? Ferrari International Assistance, well today it was MIA not FIA!

    1. @rgbsf Not exactly ? So what about Massa’s Test last year he was not supposed to do testing. It looks like Ferrari has more Skeletons hidden in the closet. so better close this with less noise without any further damages to them. FIA remains FIA.

      Ross Brawn is a smart Cookie, He knows what hurts FIA the most – Ferrari !!!!! Bring up a few facts about Ferrari and FIA is silent. Nobody understands Ferrari better than BRAWN :)

    2. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
      21st June 2013, 20:07

      I’ll take that bet.

  35. I’m sure Mercedes are bitterly regretting the way they will not be able to put Rodolfo Gonzalez in their car.

  36. Lets get the Test Fest started.

  37. HaHa what an absolute joke

    So the only punishment for Mercedes is that they miss the young driver test. They got to run both cars and race drivers (in plain coloured helmets) for three days of testing. Now the rest of the teams get three days of testing at the young driver test with only one car and the driver must be a rookie.

    The FIA are oxygen wasters.

  38. FlyingLobster27
    21st June 2013, 13:46

    I agree with the view that the tribunal has penalised the young drivers. I would have parked the Mercedes team for a day or two in pre-season testing next year, especially if they’ve been testing Pirelli’s project for 2014. It would have hit the culprits – the team and their drivers, who, if Mercedes were in the dark on data, had all the info on car feedback -, and hit them hard.

  39. In my opinion, this is the only logical outcome.

    Ignoring all the statements by people saying “I don’t believe this” or “we all it it was that” and actually looking at the evidence supplied, the FIA had no real choice but the be lenient. And not due to the threat of Mercedes and Pirelli walking out…

    The facts are that Mercedes asked a representative of the FIA – AND a lawyer for the FIA – if such a test would be legal. They both said yes (albeit with caveats). The test was then run by Pirelli, with steps taken to ensure that Mercedes didn’t benefit from the test. (Whether individuals believe that those steps were sufficient – or even COULD be sufficient are beyond the scope of my comment). The test was conducted, with the only notable attempt to hide details being the use of plain helmets.

    From that evidence, everything Mercedes have done is reasonable. Saintly? No, but certainly not a deliberate attempt to cheat, as some have implied. The primary fault with this saga lies with the FIA – a lack of clarity, and the left hand not talking to the right have led to this pseudo-not-authorised test.

    But the reason why the FIA had no choice? Because they’re already embarrassed by this. If the punishment was too severe, Mercedes would likely have appealed the decision, dragging them deeper into the mud.

    As for considering the sportsmanship of the topic, and how that affects any punishment, in 2010 Ferrari knowingly and deliberately broke the rule regarding team orders, attempted to hide the fact with a coded (however stupidly coded) message, which had a direct affect on the outcome of the race.. Their punishment? $100,000.

    If many of the suggested punishments I’ve read here were handed down, and it went to appeal, I cannot see how it could possibly have stood.

    All this is even before considering Ferrari and the ambiguous “conform substantially” rule.

    1. RE: my view on Ferrari testing (copied from my tweets):

      Those saying testing with 2011 car is “within the rules” are wrong. Rules say nothing about the age of the car.

      “cars which conform substantially with the current F1 Technical Regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year.” #F1

      Also difference between 2011 and 2013 car is not the only consideration. Has to be different to 2012 AND 2014 cars #F1

      Also, define “conform substantially” #F1

      Basically, FIA have rules which lack clarity, advice and information that lack consistency, whatever they decide will reek of hypocrisy #F1

      I stand by my comment on hypocrisy.

      1. Basically, FIA have rules which lack clarity, advice and information that lack consistency

        Or they have written a rule that allows them to judge these things on a case-by-case basis. Since no two cars are the same, why should the rule that governs their legality assume that they are?

    2. Good points,

      The other thing to take on board, a lot of people are now claiming that all other teams go and do tests. Anyone doing the same thing would be in direct violation of “the spirit of the regulations”, and thus would receive a more serious penalty. They are now knowingly breaking the rules which is I think slightly different from this incident.

      1. a lot of people are now claiming that all other teams go and do tests. Anyone doing the same thing would be in direct violation of “the spirit of the regulations”, and thus would receive a more serious penalty. They are now knowingly breaking the rules

        @devious – well said. i also find it impossible to take seriously anyone who claims to be upset by the verdict and sanction (or lack thereof), but then immediately cries that the other teams should respond by breaking the very same rules! talk about bitter, partisan hypocrisy!!

    3. I agree with all the points raised. More clarity is definitely required by the FIA in future.
      Now it’s time to put this whole saga to bed.

  40. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    21st June 2013, 13:57

    I personally am extremely happy with the decision and a suitable penalty. All teams can now go back to racing and clarity exists when it comes to tyre testing which was perhaps the main objective of the Tribunal to quote Horner from his interviews at Montreal. A team simply cannot test even if Pirelli invites you and the FIA gives you a signed letter that you are allowed to test.

    I still would like to see Ferrari be brought before the tribunal for keeping their test a secret for a whole season and for being the first to break the rules and also engaging in a 2nd test, and then blaming Mercedes like some lowlife criminal. Furthermore, as Mercedes’s counsel pointed out Ferrari’s test looked like a combination of Pirelli and Ferrari testing as Ferrari booked the track, exceeded the 1,000 kms and also were allowed to do their own testing for many hours.

  41. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    21st June 2013, 14:09

    I forgot to mention, the tribunal has made one thing very clear to Mercedes and to every other car manufacturer – that there is a double-standard in Formula 1. It’s a very expensive lesson to teach anyone and especially Mercedes who feel that they should be considered a top team in F1 and be given equal consideration. They have insulted Mercedes and once Mercedes wins a few WDCs and WCCs, they will pay F1 in full and fully retire.

    This also means no other car manufacturer shall ever bring a team to F1 until 2,050 when this is forgotten. I can only imagine VW’s executives (Audi and Porsche) laughing their posteriors off thinking how clever they were to stay away from F1…

    Tens of billions of dollars of cost to F1 for 1,000 kms of testing that yielded a nominal, if any, advantage and the test was initiated by the tyre manufacturer and semi-approved by the FIA… Such a silly mistake by Bernie, Jean and Luca. I would have expected them to be a little smarter than that.

    1. I forgot to mention, the tribunal has made one thing very clear to Mercedes and to every other car manufacturer – that there is a double-standard in Formula 1.

      Yes. If you’re a big company like Mercedes you can get away with breaking the rules by threatening to leave if punished.

      1. Let’s not forget how this all started. F1 mandated the tires be made as they are by Pirelli, F1 limits testing drastically, Pirelli blows it with the tires this season and needs some testing help, FIA/F1/Whiting likely agree they need help and had Pirelli been afforded more testing to begin with, and had Pirelli not been mandated to make tires like these, then there wouldn’t have even been the need to approach Mercedes to begin with. This has nothing to do with Mercedes being a big company and therefore getting away with rule breaking. This was a collaboration of FIA with their “misconceived ‘qualified approval’ which was given on behalf of the FIA,” along with Pirelli, approaching Mercedes to help them solve the tire woes this season.

        I vehemently disagree with anyone who suggests this was Mercedes initiating this test and trying to get away with something, especially because they somehow think they are immune to punishment due to their size, and also would choose to ‘win’ this way. Mercedes are the third party in this…F1/FIA the main instigator by forcing mandated tires upon the teams in an atmosphere of too little testing, Pirelli is the next most guilty party for blowing the tires this year, albei under difficult conditions given their mandate and the lack of testing, and Mercedes is the third party that agreed to help Pirelli, with quasi approval enough such that Brawn was confident they were doing nothing wrong, and with the understanding, as all teams have expressed frustration with, that the tires are not good for F1 this year.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        21st June 2013, 17:58

        Well, I hate to break it to you but F1 needs the big companies. We don’t want accountants and lawyers building the engines in their spare time, do we? When you invest the money Mercedes and get very little in exchange while uplifting the sport a lot more than say Caterham or HRT, you probably should be congratulated for trying to help Pirelli when they ask for help.

        It’s not like Mercedes rented a track and just decided to do its own testing. They are abiding by the rules to the best of their knowledge and they actually have to because they have a larger organization behind them. Mercedes MUST play fair and square in F1 because not doing so would affect their core business and cost them a lot more than winning a WDC or WCC.

        1. Here here!

  42. Seems like we get one sort of scandal a year these days. Its good for business and commands alot of attention for Formula 1. Ching Ching.

    1. Yes, but this particular scandal has made the team concerned and Pirelli and the sport’s administrators look as though they don’t really know the rules or what each other is allowed or not allowed to do. In other words, it’s made the sport look silly and that’s not good for business. Clang Clang, rather than Ching Ching I think.

      1. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

        1. Not true. See Charles Saatchi this week. or Lionel Messi this week, or Sergio Garcia over the past few weeks.

  43. More like a reward rather than a punishment. Absolutely laughable. FIA should be ashamed of themselves for letting Merc manipulate them like that and the other teams should be outraged.

    1. @henslayer

      No, the other teams should be outraged that Ferrari ran a test in 2012 nobody it seems new about until Mercedes lawyer revealed it. Not only that, but they used one of their current drivers (Massa) and covered more than the 1000km limit.

      This is the very definition of a ‘secret test’ as they did not attempt to inform the other teams of this test… nor did the FIA.

      Conspiracy anyone?

  44. Ben (@scuderia29)
    21st June 2013, 14:33

    what a joke!
    mercedes suggested their own punishment and the FIA went with it :/
    they lose out on the young drivers test..which is really for the young drivers themselves so its them that have been punished. Mercedes get a test with their current drivers while others have to make do with a test using rookies. If i was red bull/ferrari/mclaren etc i’d be out on the track tomorrow and do a 1000km test and then tell the FIA “ok we’re sorry, we just wont participate in the young drivers test”

    so the test has seemed to have had an impact on the performance of this years car, theyre the only team to have a feel of the tyres for next year (very handy) and their rookie driver gets punished. wow.

  45. Brawn/Wolff – Lauda
    1 – 0
    Ross doesn’t do rulebraking. He reads very carefully and covers his ground.

    1. err… you are wrong as it was proven they did break the rules. only he is lucky the punishment was so small

  46. F1 needs to stop the habbit of making itself look stupid. We have a strict ban on testing that the teams have accepted and followed to the letter for the past few years even though they didn’t like them. Punishing (read: reward) one team by saving them from doing a test with youngster is ridiculous. The least the tribunal could have done was to DSQ them form the constructors championship.

    This now opens the door to other teams that don’t find the YDT interesting to go all out testing because they will know that they won’t recieve a punishment heavier then Mercedes.

    In fact I would go as far as calling this an outrage!

    1. Why does anyone think that loosing 3-days of testing for getting one day of testing, on non-race tires, run under someone else’s program, is Mercedes getting-over? If Mercedes had theit druthers you can bet they would have taken the young driver’s test over the Pirelli test.

    2. This now opens the door to other teams that don’t find the YDT interesting to go all out testing because they will know that they won’t recieve a punishment heavier then Mercedes.

      Sorry to be harsh, but that is a ridiculous statement. The punishment handed out to Mercedes clearly acknowledges that Mercedes were acting in good faith. Specifically, they believed that they weren’t acting illegally. They, and every other competitor has now been told exactly what qualifies as permission, and told that what Mercedes did WAS illegal.

      If another team were to conduct a similar test (assuming they managed to convince Pirelli to get themselves in hot water again) the “good faith” defense would no longer apply. And considering this case would have happened recently, the FIA (or rather, the tribunal) would come down on them like a ton of bricks.

      And yes, even on Ferrari.

      1. @fluxsource This tribunal was nothing more than a farce. A couple of days before the whole thing started it was pretty much clear Meredes was a dead man. Then suddenly as if per coincidence certain stockholders of Daimler claim they would use any conviction to terminate the F1 project. From that point onwards it became pretty obvious the FIA put the importance of having Mercedes in F1 above making a clear example toward other teams. In the two weeks before the tribunal the FIA made it clear they hadn’t given actual permission. And now they are saying they weren’t ‘clear’ enough? Verdict on demand and nothing more. I have lost faith in F1.

        1. @force-maikel

          A couple of days before the whole thing started it was pretty much clear Meredes was a dead man.

          How could this possibly be, when all the relevant evidence hadn’t been reviewed by an impartial body. Surely you’re not condemning the actions of a team based largely on assumptions and anger? No? No, I didn’t think you’d be silly enough to make a mistake like that.

          From that point onwards it became pretty obvious the FIA put the importance of having Mercedes in F1 above making a clear example toward other teams.

          Or perhaps from that point onward it became pretty obvious that the FIA should put forward their case to an independent tribunal, who are not controlled by the FIA so as to remain impartial in these cases, to review the evidence and make a decision based upon that evidence, and not base their decision on what people can and can’t believe regarding something they actually know little about.

          In the two weeks before the tribunal the FIA made it clear they hadn’t given actual permission. And now they are saying they weren’t ‘clear’ enough?

          And yet at the tribunal it emerges that two representatives of the FIA (including a legal representative) said it was ok. How much more unclear would you like?

          I have lost faith in F1.

          And I have lost faith in people ability to analyse this situation with logic, rational and proportionality.

          1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
            21st June 2013, 23:23

            Not that i dont agree with everything you said but i especially agree with you on this.

            “And I have lost faith in people ability to analyse this situation with logic, rational and proportionality.”

  47. Now you understand why Rossberg listened when Braun told him to hold station behind Hamilton. Didn’t Rossberg subsequently win the first for Merc, real team principal. Any more stories about Red Bull galloping on the track under Webber?

  48. F1 is not a sport. It is an extremely embareasing marketing joke!!

  49. A reprimand for Pirelli? Does that mean if they do it twice more, they’ll be banned for a race weekend? I can see a tiny flaw in that….

  50. This is about as I expected, except I thought there would also be a fine. The lack of a fine suggests that the tribunal was worried about the contractual basis of their decision, because Mercedes and/or Pirelli could have had reason and a basis to take the FIA to court on the fine, because collecting the fine requires that the FIA institute some other contractual consequences for not paying that would implicate the actual breach/default terms that matter, for example, taking back prize money or travel money. The FIA did not want to rule themselves into a lawsuit. Mercedes, like most major corporations, don’t hesitate to litigate when significant sums are at stake. They have plenty of lawyers and the endurance to take on whoever. The “reprimand” to Pirelli is a joke. Pirelli is not a party to any sporting regulations. That reprimand is worth about as much as attacks they get from internet forums.

  51. That is probably one of the highest calculated gambles I’ve ever seen. Mercedes risked their entire season, the reputation of their parent company, the wrath of their parent company, their continued involvement in the sport, all for this, believing that the FIA had blundered an escape route for them. Based on what was at stake, the information gained must be of COLOSSAL value. All in the name of winning.

    1. Disagree completely.

    2. Winning 2014 titles

  52. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    21st June 2013, 16:29

    So what we have is still extensive net gain on the part of Mercedes, who have done more mileage than will be done during the Silverstone, with race drivers and at a more crucial time in terms of development, the start of the European season. The tribunal obviously vehemently believed that there was no malicious intent on the part of Mercedes, because a hefty fine or a points dock certainly seems to be a punishment that more neatly fits the crime. This punishment is a short-sighted attempt at squaring Mercedes with its rivals, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a test for a test. However what we will still have is uproar. Mercedes have done very well. They have managed to maintain the innocent stance, and yet have grabbed the opportunity with both hands and exploited it fully, by putting both their drivers in a modern car and undoubtedly got loads of lovely data. Not being at the Young Driver Test at Silverstone does not act as automatically bringing the other teams up to speed, although to the casual onlookers, or the media, justice may appear to have been done. I think that is the line that the International Tribunal has taken, a need for water on the media fire. Mercedes, a team that broke the rules, did so not out of malice, but after being misled. To a purist, that may not lessen the punishment, with guilt and ignorance squaring to the same thing, but this kind of black and white, rules are rules justice was not what was found at the Tribunal, rather unlike what I expected. There will be further arguments in darkened rooms, further debates, further politics, but as far as Sky F1’s hopeless Rachel Brooks or Johnny-casual-F1-viewer is concerned, justice is done.

    1. I personally believe that Mercedes will lose more from the YDT ban than they have allegedly gained from the Pirelli tire test. That test did not allow them to try different things on the car, all the while knowing what tires they were on, or anything of any use to progress the car. The YDT would have allowed them the opportunity to try different wings, etc etc, all the while experimenting with different setups on different tires all the while knowing what tires they were on, unlike with the Pirelli test.

      So I think what Mercedes may have gained from one 3 day Pirelli tire test has been way way overblown, and certainly the Tribunal’s findings attest to that. If they had been shown to have somehow experienced a normal F1 team test while testing Pirelli tires, different story and I’m sure that would have come out day one of the Tribunal. But obviously it was shown that this was a Pirelli tire test, not a normal F1 team test.

  53. I think this is a great decision on the Tribunal’s part. I think the fact that costs are being split amongst the 3 players, FIA, Pirelli, and Mercedes shows that they ALL had a hand to play in this unique situation of having to deal with bad tires in an atmosphere where bad tires are being mandated with little testing in F1 any more. I remain steadfast that Mercedes are not stupid and would never have even dreamed the risk of breaking the in-season testing ban rule would be worth it. And on top of that this was not a normal F1 team test as was suggested/assumed umpteen times whether by a former F1 mechanic or by armchair pundits. So even more reason why Brawn would not have considered a Pirelli tire test of no data sharing worth the miniscule potential gain if he thought there was any risk at all to it.

    As I’ve said before, and now this ruling proves it…Mercedes must have had some sort of permission, they didn’t seek out this test Pirelli did, and the FIA/F1/Whiting I believe had to have had some sense that the tires were problematic and the test necessary.

    I think it is silly for anyone to suggest that now other teams have some sort of open door to test then, since Mercedes got off ‘so lightly.’ I think this was a bit of a perfect storm of circumstances. Pirelli needed to test because they blew it with the tires this year, but they are tires that everyone signed off on and the conditions of F1 restrict testing so much as well as mandating these tires put Pirelli in an impossible situation and F1 needed to own some of that. Mercedes were the least offender I have thought all along because they didn’t seek out this test nor would have risked it, there was some form of permission, and the FIA/F1 and Pirelli caused this problem to arise to begin with by mandating the tires under conditions of limited testing.

    Good on the Tribunal for coming to a common sense conclusion.

  54. ABout all this @keithcollantine , when is the date and circuit (or dates and circuits) where they have Young Drivers Tests? Because we have to take into consideration the early in the season that Mercedes / Pirelli ran their secret test, thus giving them the possibility to learn more from it (regardless what some people may think,I still believe their Monaco victory had much to do with that test). Because if the Young Drivers Test is, if I’m not mistaken, in Abu Dhabi, any gain the other teams can make from it will be even more irrelevant compared to this case.

    1. regardless what some people may think,I still believe their Monaco victory had much to do with that test

      Out of interest, what are you basing this on? On the assumption that any benefit from the test would be related to improving tyre wear, and knowing the Monaco is probably the kindest race on tyres in the whole season, AND given that even before the tyre-gate saga kicked of Mercedes were hailed as favorites for that race, I would have thought it would have a pretty minimal impact.

  55. A lot of anger of Ferrari and Mclaren fans.
    Haha funny.

    1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
      21st June 2013, 23:26

      Honestly I’m not sure the mclaren fans are angry infact i havn’t seen one since melbourne. Ferrari and redbull fans are the most vocal about this.

  56. The penalty would always have been either too soft or too hard. No matter what you do, you can’t restore the balance anymore. Punish too hard, and you’ll put Mercedes into the disadvantage for an otherwise honest mistake. Punish them too soft, and the other teams will stay with a disadvantage.

    In that regard, this was the best and most honest solution. Let me explain why:
    -The YDT can essentially be driven anytime a team wants it. Look at last year: the test wast spread out over Silverstone, Paul Ricard and Yas Marina. Teams can safely look at the weather and pick the best oppertunity. They can even be present at one of the test, with car ready to roll out and all, and still bail out. The test only starts when the car rolls out of the box. So Keith, the argument about weather really isn’t valid: teams essentially can plan their YDT at the best moment. If they hit bad weather, it’s their fault.
    -The YDT is, except for obliged running test drivers, without any restriction. How much advantage Mercedes got out of it, we don’t know, but it’s a fair assumption they did not run new parts as that would contaminate tyre data. At the YDT however, teams can basicilly run a new car if they want.
    -Mercedes was restricted to 1000km, while at the YDT there is no restriction on the amount of kms. Say you drive 100 laps at Silverstone every day of the test. that’s 5.891km x 100 laps x 3 days=1767,3km total, a whopping +76,79% extra mileage compared to the Pirelli test.

    So missing out on the YDT is a (much) bigger loss then the gains from the Pirelli test. with that in mind, we have to consider that Mercedes will have had the oppertunity to built on the data they have got. Also it would probably have helped their drivers, especially Hamilton, the only advantage other then time the Pirelli test has over the YDT. It’s not possible to measure how much the balance of power has been restored by this, but it does show that loosing out at the YDT is a harsher punishment then it looks like.

  57. So if Pirelli gets two more reprimands, does it mean that all drivers on Pirelli tyres will get 10-place grid penalty?

  58. Fair punishment really. The FIA weren’t exactly clear so swapping one test for another is a fair sanction in my view. The only problem is Sam Bird (and perhaps Brendon Hartley) get punished for having no involvement

  59. Totally bogus! The FIA is a neutered body and is totally worthless as well as useless. I´m utterly disgusted with this!

  60. reckon merc should be quite pleased with themselves after all this

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