Mercedes-Pirelli tyre test row timeline

2013 F1 season

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013The FIA has found Mercedes and Pirelli guilty of breaking the rules by conducting a test ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The decision was reached following the first meeting of the FIA’s new International Tribunal yesterday.

Here is how the events unfolded which led to them being found in contravention of the rules:

Date Event
2012 Ferrari conduct a tyre test for Pirelli, the date and further details of which have not been disclosed.
Tuesday 23rd – Wednesday 24th April 2013 Ferrari conduct a tyre test for Pirelli at the Circuit de Catalunya using their 2011 car, the 150??? Italia.
Thursday 2nd May 2013 Mercedes sporting director Ron Meadows asks Charlie Whiting “whether Mercedes was permitted to participate in the Pirelli test, using a 2013 car”. Ross Brawn makes the same inquiry on the same day.
Whiting exchanges emails with FIA legal director Sebastien Bernard who says “we could take this position that it is Pirelli?s initiative to carry out such testing sessions, and not an undertaking from the competitors. However I think this is always subject to Pirelli complying strictly with its obligation to treat equally all competitors as per clause 4.2 of the supply agreement. This means that Pirelli shall invite all competitors to participate in such tests, and be able at any time to demonstrate that it has done so.”
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery confirmed to Whiting that “all the teams would be given a similar opportunity to test and that he would confirm that all of the teams had been informed once that had been done.”
Sunday 12th May 2013 Fernando Alonso wins the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya, for Ferrari. Mercedes occupy the front row of the grid for the race but their cars finish sixth and twelfth.
Wednesday 15th – Friday 17th May 2013 Mercedes conduct a test for Pirelli at the Circuit de Catalunya using their current car, the W04. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both drive during the test and do not use their regular race helmets.
A “track side engineering report” emailled from Pirelli to Mercedes following the conclusion of the test is marked as having “high importance” and “confidential sensitivity”.
Saturday 25th May 2013 The details of the test emerge during a meeting between the FIA and the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association.
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton qualify first and second for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Sunday 26th May 2013 Red Bull and Ferrari formally protest Mercedes’ test shortly before the beginning of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg wins the Monaco Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton finishes fourth.
The stewards conduct hearings involving Ferrari and Red Bull (jointly), Mercedes and Pirelli (separately). Red Bull and Ferrari deny they were asked if they wanted to participate in the May test. The stewards note Brawn told them that “in the first five races of the year there had been several tyre failures. Mercedes was asked by Pirelli to conduct a tyre test for them, using current car and relevant drivers on the Barcelona track.”
The stewards refer the case to the FIA International Tribunal.
The FIA releases a statement saying “Within the contract Pirelli has with the FIA as single supplier, there is provision for them to carry out up to 1000km of testing with any team ?ǣ provided every team is offered the opportunity to do so.”
Friday 31st May 2013 Pirelli issues a lengthy statement on the tests, stating it “has not favoured any teams and, as always, acted professionally, with transparency and in absolute good faith”.
The FIA widens the scope of its inquiry to include Ferrari.
Friday 5th June 2013 The FIA calls Mercedes and Pirelli to a hearing of the International Tribunal and dismisses the cases against Ferrari, noting “for this purpose a 2011 car is not deemed to contravene the applicable FIA rules”.
Saturday 6th June 2013 Mercedes issue a statement saying they “welcome the opportunity to explain the full facts of the Pirelli test in an open and transparent manner at the International Tribunal.”
Wednesday 12th June 2013 Pirelli files its response to the Tribunal, stating “Pirelli, in its capacity as third-party with respect to FIA, is not bound by the FIA?s regulatory and disciplinary power in virtue whereof the FIA cannot impose any sanctions on Pirelli.” Mercedes also files its response.
Friday 14th June 2013 Red Bull files a response, calling on the FIA to impose “an adequate sporting penalty” on Mercedes. The FIA also files a response.
Saturday 15th June 2013 Ferrari files its response.
Thursday 20th June 2013 The FIA International Tribunal meets.
Friday 21st June 2013 The Tribunal finds Mercedes and Pirelli in violation of the Sporting Regulations and International Sporting Code and reprimands both. Mercedes are also banned from participating in the Young Drivers’ Test.

Mercedes and Ferrari Pirelli tyre test row


Browse all Mercedes and Ferrari Pirelli tyre test row articles

Image ?? Daimler/Hoch Zwei

Advert | Go Ad-free

13 comments on Mercedes-Pirelli tyre test row timeline

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st June 2013, 14:07

    I’m an English teacher, so a large part of what I do in the classroom has my students trying to find their own individual meaning in a variety of texts. With that in mind, the following statement leaps out at me:

    “We could take this position that it is Pirelli’s initiative to carry out such testing sessions, and not an undertaking from the competitors. However I think this is always subject to Pirelli complying strictly with its obligation to treat equally all competitors as per clause 4.2 of the supply agreement. This means that Pirelli shall invite all competitors to participate in such tests, and be able at any time to demonstrate that it has done so.”

    Whiting specifically says that Pirelli have to invite all teams to these tests, using the plural. And the presence of that single letter ‘S’ has all manner of consequences: theoretically, it means that Pirelli was not obligated to invite the teams to the Barcelona test, and could instead conduct several tests throughout the year. Provided that they invited all of the teams to test at some point, they would have technically satisfied the conditions set out by Whiting. That might sound like grasping at straws, but it’s there in writing – Pirelli were never told that they had to invite every team to every test. This cold be supported by Paul Hembrey’s comments:

    “All the teams would be given a similar opportunity to test and that he would confirm that all of the teams had been informed once that had been done.”

    He never says that they would be given the same opportunity to test, only that they would be given an offer like it.

  2. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 21st June 2013, 14:23

    “track side engineering report” do we know the content of this report?

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st June 2013, 14:24

    Thanks for the timeline @keithcollantine, helps a lot, especially with the details like the e-mails etc. filled in!

  4. tmax (@tmax) said on 21st June 2013, 15:23

    @keithcollantine Thanks for the nice summary.

    Lets says Ferrari did the test in 2012 for the 2013 tires. Does’nt that mean that they are having an unfair advantage now. They had tire problems last year, which seems to have vanished this year. I could be very well because of the 2012 Massa tests.

    The same can be said about Mercedes will they gain any advantage in 2014 because of this test ?

    The whole thing is a mess.

  5. Hairs (@hairs) said on 21st June 2013, 16:39

    Great article which really shows how unforgivably slovenly the FIA are at dealing with these affairs.

    In a world (and a sport) where gigabytes of data are sent, shared, discussed, analysed, and decided upon in real time, it is farcical that the FIA couldn’t have requested on Sunday that copies of emails and initial depositions be sent by Monday, set up a conference call on Tuesday, and have the whole thing dealt with in a couple of days. I’m sure we’ve all worked in companies where more complicated things than this are decided in shorter timeframes using input from people in different countries or timezones. Nope, almost 2months delay and a two day trip to Paris for busy people to deal with it in person. You can bet that Brawn and Horner probably got more work done in their team principal roles in their hotel rooms over the two days than the FIA managed in a month.

    It also shows how despite acres of lawyers, the FIA can’t even ensure it’s written a set of rules on what testing is or when it is allowed to happen.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd June 2013, 3:51

      @hairs

      written a set of rules on what testing is or when it is allowed to happen.

      This they really need to sort out. I mean, how many times have we heard of teams running their cars, but it’s ok, because it’s to shoot camera footage for advertising.

      In the end, ANY running outside of races and tests shouldn’t be allowed. And if you don’t stick to that, you can’t make it fair.

  6. ron orritt said on 24th June 2013, 14:46

    if they used the current car how did they get round the limit on number of engines to be used in the season and the number of races each engine has to last for?

Add your comment

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

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.