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Mercedes escape punishment from FIA International Tribunal, FIA test control to be strengthened
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Jun 2013   |  12:55 pm GMT  |  479 comments

[Updated]The FIA International Tribunal has handed Mercedes a reprimand over its part in the controversial Pirelli tyre test and stopped it from taking part in the Young Drivers’ test next month.

Pirelli has also been reprimanded; it will be interesting to see what their reaction is as they felt that they should not have been part of the proceedings in the first place. Their lawyer Dominique Dumas said yesterday that “we do not come under the jurisdiction or authority of the FIA”.

At the same time the FIA also said that it “wishes that lessons are learnt from this case and from the decision handed down. To this end, the FIA will make sure, in association with all F1 teams, that its control of the testings is strengthened.”

To read the full FIA IT verdict read TRIBUNAL VERDICT

Red Bull’s Christian Horner said that the verdict showed “that Mercedes breached the sporting regulations and the International Sporting Code.. however the penalty is not for us to decide. It was for the tribunal to decide and they have made their decision. ”

Ferrari was more critical. The Horse Whisperer, Ferrari’s official blog, said that Mercedes had got away “scot free”

“Today we learned, that even if one is guilty and in this case that is an indisputable and verified fact, there is always a way of muddling through as best one can. One only has to suggest to the judge what the penalty should be and even better, why not make it something light like a rap across the knuckles.

“It is somewhat perplexing to say the least to see that the guilty party can get away virtually scot free for having derived “an unfair sporting advantage.””

Here’s what the Tribunal statement said about the verdict:

“The Tribunal, after having heard the parties and examined their submissions, decided that:
1. Mercedes be reprimanded;

2. Mercedes be suspended from participating in the forthcoming “three day young driver training test”;

3. Pirelli be reprimanded;

and rejected all other and further conclusions.”

The full judgement goes into more detail.

The Tribunal found:
(1) 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.
(2) Neither Pirelli nor Mercedes acted in bad faith at any material time.
(3) Both Pirelli and Mercedes 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; and Mercedes had no reason to believe that approval had not been given .
(4) 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.

Notwithstanding the above findings:
(i) by running its car(s) in the course of the testing, Mercedes acted in breach of Article 22.4 h)….

(v) 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.

Clearly the Tribunal found that there had been a breach of the rules, but that it was done in good faith, based on a feeling that it had, what the Tribunal describes as “bona fide, but misconceived ‘qualified approval’ ” hence the lenient sanctions.

The verdict, while a triumph for the advocacy of Mercedes boss Ross Brawn, will come as a disappointment to Red Bull, Ferrari and others who felt that there was a clear breach of the Sporting Regulations and that Mercedes had gained an advantage.

However, the FIA International Tribunal is a new body established to distance the disciplinary function of the FIA from the office of the President and as such is considered to be fully independent.

The nub of the problem from Mercedes’ side was the issue of “permission”

They believed that by contacting FIA’s Charlie Whiting and asking if they could use a 2013 car to conduct a test for Pirelli, they had “permission”. As was pointed out in the Tribunal only the Head of FIA’s Sport Department Pierre de Connick and the World Motor Sport Council could consider something which contravened the rules, but Mercedes followed the procedure used at race meetings of approaching Whiting for an opinion.

He gave an opinion that it might be possible subject to certain qualifications, like all the other teams being notified, but Mercedes did not follow that up with a clear written outline of what they planned to do. So they did not have “permission” to do a 1,000km test with Pirelli at Barcelona.

Mercedes felt that they had acted in good faith and that if there was a breach of the regulations it was because of an interpretation of the rules, rather than a desire to gain an unfair advantage over rivals.

Mercedes’ submission to the Tribunal stated that the car ran in the same specification at the test in which it had completed the Grand Prix a few days earlier, with only parts past their life, bing replaced being for similar ones.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was present at the Tribunal yesterday and had his say afterwards, while Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali is to take part in a live Ferrari webchat this evening at 7pm CET, presumably to answer some of the points arising from the Tribunal which concern Ferrari, such as the presence of Felipe Massa at Ferrari’s pre-Barcelona Pirelli test with a 2011 car, which was cleared by the FIA.

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479 Comments
  1. Sebee says:

    That is absolutely unfair. As I’ve said over and over again…power has shifted and FIA is toothless.

    OK big teams…let’s get testing ASAP! And please remember the black helmets.

    1. ian says:

      Yep, if you don’t fancy the young drivers test, you can do one with your current drivers instead.

      1. mjsib says:

        If Red Bull have a bad car at the start of next year, they’ll go and do a test and know they’ll only be banned from a test in the middle of the season by which time they would have fixed the car issues. Dangerous precedence has been set here

      2. Henry O says:

        No precedent has been set because no doubt they will tighten up the regulations and procedures so that the same set of circumstances cannot be repeated again.

        Do you really think C Whiting will give tacit approval for a “tyre test” to any team in the way it was given to Mercedes again?

    2. Dai Dactic says:

      Power has shifted?!

      Bernie’s still in charge, thank heaven.

      1. Sebee says:

        Yes, from FIA, from Bernie over to corporations. More than ever before. After all, who’s going to pump the millions to pay for the on-track action?

        If Bernie and FIA don’t like it, Mercedes probably told them – pay for it yourself.

    3. Wayne says:

      Come on, what did you want to happen to them? This is not even in the same league as crashing your own car or stealing from another team. Mercedes told Charlie what they were doing and asked permission for it. Charlie is an important figure, teams even run their new innovations past him before the season to get a sense of their legality and often go just on his word alone.

      What punishment should they have got for asking Charlie if they could take up the official tyre supplier’s official offer, getting the Nod from Charlie and proceeding? Perhaps Brawn should have been imprisoned?

      Why does everyone always want blood? F1 has seen much more serious examples of ‘cheating’ than this! Previous champions have outright cheated and won wdcs without punishment!

      On a separate note, I think Horner went a bit overboard on this one, did he really need to show up and did he really need to constantly demand serious punishment in the media. RBR have an incredibly dubious track record all of their own. They have won WDC’s by developing parts that they knew would be declared illegal but they still got 5 races benefit from them. I also don’t believe for a single moment that RBR have ever cut costs and stuck to the RRA.

      1. Sebee says:

        I clearly told you what should have happened – 1000km test organized by Pirelli for all others except for Mercedes ASAP on same tires Mercedes got.

        Right nwo FIA just punshed a few young drivers who won’t get the seat time. Not Mercedes.

        There is still question of not only have they fixed their tire issues for 2013, but do they have data for their 2014 effort which other teams don’t have.

        I’m not saying this was Crashgate, but I am saying that this was braking of rules with no real consequence with advantage maintained by Mercedes.

      2. Wayne says:

        That’s not a true reflection of the young drivers test. The young drivers test is a seasonal development test and that’s all it is. The Teams benefit not young drivers. The teams get to run the current car with the current tyres and the test is managed by the team.

        Young drivers get bugger all out of driving a F1 car for 2 or 3 days once a year.

        The rules were broken but the FIA WAS consulted, the FIA could not run a bath. They are a bunch of politically minded, self interested fat cats who hoover up a great deal of money from F1 and spend it on incredibly expensive buildings in Paris and perks for their internally ‘elected’ (elected being a complete joke) members. Oh and they also spend it on road safety programmes that no one in F1 ever asked for and have no relevance to F1 at all. They have increased safety in F1 for drivers, but that would have happened organically anyway with the advance of technology.

        F1 penalties continue to be motivated by politics and commercial interests. You see it in every race. It’s just that in this case, despite what the media would have you believe, the transgression just wasn’t that serious.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        This is absurd!
        Mercedes has suffered high tyre degradation for 3 season. Even the legendary skill of Schumacher couldn’t change that.
        We left Barcelona with a Merc that had rear tyre temps of 20deg over the others, and visited 2 circuits that are known for not stressing the tyres, yet in Canada, Lewis had rear tyre temps 20deg above the other runners.
        Do you honestly think that 3 days of testing compared to the unlimited amount they completed in pre-season would actually make any difference at all?

      4. gudien says:

        I’m beginning to lose interest in F-1.

      5. Theoddkiwi says:

        In the Tribunal, pirelli stated that if they had to do a test that involved every team, they would not be able to do it until September due to the logistics of making the number of tyres required and just getting all the teams organised enough.
        Not to mention these were experimental tyres, why should they have to pay for making hundreds of experimental tyres that they have no intention of putting on next years cars. but mearly want to assess as possible designs.

        This was a scientific test for the tyre manufacturer using a baseline test car. Using 12 different cars would have given them no real benefit.

      6. JoeP says:

        “On a separate note, I think Horner went a bit overboard on this one, did he really need to show up and did he really need to constantly demand serious punishment in the media. RBR have an incredibly dubious track record all of their own.” <—— THIS!

        RBR are the most shameless, politicking team out there, such that they even rope the normally dry and apolitical Webber into criticizing Pirelli in a (thankfully-faileD) effort to get the tires changed.

      7. m.uSMAN GHANI says:

        theres not a single time red bull have been repriandid for illegal act….not a single time redbull has broken any rule….ur IFs and BUTs doesnt matter…its a mere opinion….mercedes have breached the rules while ferrari tests were questioned by FIA….yet on part of ferrari FIA was unable to say anything..while merecedes have been proved guilty..even after tht u say tht redbull is the shamelsss of all cause of dubiouse record then hats off to ur observation
        learn to appreciate the hard work on the limit of rules yet within rules

      8. quattro says:

        While I have to agree with you about the “track record” thing – you have to give him credit for showing up to represent the interests of the other teams. I guess he “somehow” knew FIA are not to be trusted (at least when parties with deep pockets are involved/being investigated).

      9. Andrew M says:

        I don’t think Webber has been roped into anything, I think he (like a lot of drivers) genuinely dislikes what F1 has become over the past few years.

      10. etls says:

        I agree with you and would like to also add that it’s a cheek for Christian Horner to be taking the moral
        high ground and force a case he regards as an infringement of the rules, to the point of getting someone in the FIA
        to then push his complaint so far where a team is then subject to a sanction.
        When over the past 3 years, Red Bull have been the biggest manipulators and rules backers of the FIA regulations.
        Charlie Whiting made a decision to allow Mercedes to use a 2013 car to test Pirelli tyres.
        An agreement in one place said it was OK, and a ruling in another said HE and his advisors got it wrong. (Not Mercedes)
        Charlie Whiting has made those types of decision in the past with Red Bull being the benefactor so much so that they have been allowed

        to keep their winning races.
        No one in the FIA at those times claimed that he was acting outside his remit.
        Have Red Bull become so big that all in FIA have lost the guts to remind them of their blatant breaches and the rule bending
        they have got away with and maybe just tell Horner and co to shut up and live with it…
        Some of the things Red Bull pulled off last year (got caught doing) was not cleverly using the rules to gain an advantage, it was dam

        outright cheating.
        There is a saying “cheats never prosper”, meaning at some point the cheat will eventually get their comeuppance.
        Through Mr Horner, Red Bull may have well bought things to a head where the gloves are off and it will soon be Red Bulls turn to be

        named and shamed.
        End of my rant.

      11. David C says:

        What’s wrong with Horner attending to hear the evidence, Merc were found to have acted wrong and you turn this into an anti RB thread. How suppose your going to produce your proof that webber wasn’t being honest in his criticism of the tyres.

      12. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        RBR are in danger of damaging (if they haven’t already) their carefully crafted PR image. They are becoming the new Ferrari of the 90s/00s that everyone hated.

        If I were Mr Mateshitz, I would start getting worried that his billion dollar investment in the sport is soon to be come a PR liability.

      13. Tim says:

        JoeP
        On a separate note, I think Horner went a bit overboard on this one, did he really need to show up and did he really need to constantly demand serious punishment in the media…..

        One imagines the mood in Milton Keynes, right now, is one of profound disappointment.

      14. David C says:

        Hey Elts have you got a specific example of last years cheating …….. I can’t remember any.

      15. Tim says:

        +1.
        You are right about Horner too – or as another poster called him ‘that ghastly little man’. He has been trying to stir things up with the media throughout this whole episode. I, for one, am very glad he didn’t get what he wanted.
        Ha, hardy ha I say to Mr Smug!

      16. hero_was_senna says:

        I think this may backfire on RBR. Do you honestly think that any “gentlemans agreement” where you can run a car but change it for the next event will be allowed anymore?

      17. Dren says:

        I have to agree with you on that. Well put.

      18. Quade says:

        All other teams that sent reps sent lawyers, Horner is not a lawyer.
        Red Bull is either genuinely scared of Merc or just have a Frankenstein understanding of PR. I think its the latter.

      19. Simon says:

        Agree. I would say that the FIA are as culpable in this and that is the reason they have not handed out a more severe penalty to Mercedes. Any heavy sanction would have led to more revelations from Mercedes on the details of the permissions that they thought they had. I think the FIA is quite happy to sweep this under the carpet to cover their own asses.

      20. JCA says:

        You do realise the term ‘formula one world champion’ belongs to the FIA? That is the reason that every threat of a break away series is just bluster and a form of negotiation, call your series GP1 and see if it does as well, or is worth as much money.

        Their primary source of income comes from formula one, the commercial rights of which dear Max just about gave away to his old friend, Bernie. Funding the road safety programs cost the teams and Bernie virtually nothing, quite literally a small price to pay for making a fortune out of the term (basically a trademark) above.

        The FIA are also responsible for running trackside operations, both medical and sporting (someone has to play policeman, or there would be utter chaos), the cost of which has increased significantly with the expansion of the sport. They bring considerably more financial value to the sport than they take out.

        I’m not saying they’re angels, corruption was clearly evident during Max’s reign, but I think they are a necessary part of the sport.

      21. Glennb says:

        McLaren, Ferrari, Williams & Red Bull all sent a representative or two. Why single out Horner for fronting up? Never mind, stupid question to an anti-RBR fan.

      22. Wayne says:

        Are you being deliberately obtuse? RBR was the only team to send their team principal. All the other teams just sent legal representation. So RBR singled out themselves didn’t they?

      23. Tim says:

        According to the reports I have seen, Horner was the only Team Principal, apart from Ross, who attended. The other teams sent legal beagles to observe – that’s why that ghastly little man has been singled out.

      24. Glennb says:

        Paul Monaghan but dont let the truth grt in the way.
        Horner was there so Merc could face their accuser. Classy is what I call it.
        Why do some people hate this young, successful Englishman?

      25. Nick says:

        @Wayne

        Sorry Wayne, you are wrong.

        Charlie Whiting is NOT a spokesman for the FIA and has no authority.

        Why don’t you ask McLaren and Lewis Hamilton about Charlie Whiting’s authority after giving them the OK for Hamilton’s move on Kimi at Spa in 2008???

      26. Wayne says:

        Sorry, did you just say Whiting is not a FIA spokesman? Really? He is employed by the FIA, he is the FIA race director for goodness sake! And in this case he got a second opinion from a FIA legal rep’ before answering Mercedes!

        So, sorry, but in suggesting that Whiting is not a FIA spokesperson and has no authority, YOU are wrong mate. He word is not law but your claim is without reason!

    4. Wayne says:

      You are right, in that the FIA is toothless though :) Unless of course they are politically motivated to make an example of someone like Max was in the case of Ron Dennis. There was no political motivation for slamming Mercedes, nothing to be gained and perhaps the FIA had much to loose, after all their rep did say go ahead!

      1. Sebee says:

        I really enjoyed comparing FIA to a baby a few weeks back. In case you missed it, I said FIA are like a baby – toothless. They may gum you a bit, but they don’t bite.

        And just to add a bit of comic relief to this unfortunate event, since you bring up Max…well, Max would never charge Mercedes in the first place. You are free to fill in reasons from your exceptional knowledge of F1 and history as to why not. :-)

      2. Wayne says:

        Unless they have an axe to grind in which case the punishments can be beyond all reason – it’s all politics. In this case there was neither the motive nor the inclination to slam Mercedes for something that was not such a big deal in the first place.

      3. Stefanos says:

        Simple: they had one important reason not to take it too far. They could not punish Merc and leave Pirelli unpunished. It was Pirelli’s responsibility to ask all other teams, which they neglected to do because they feel (and have said) they are not under the FIA’s jurisdiction. But by punishing Pirelli they would risk losing the only company (still) willing to supply tyres to F1 under the current rules.

    5. Kingszito says:

      What did you expect? Mercedes to be ejected from the championship? The verdict has been taken so accept it and move on. Forget politics and let’s go racing.

      1. Sebee says:

        So if FIA came down today and said…

        OK, communication errors may have occured. 200K euro fine to help pay for test(CHEAP! Come on, we’ve seen pitlane speeding fines of what 25K euro?) Here is the new clear process for communication changes. Here is the consequences that will be passed automatiaclly by Stewards if this rule is broken again(i.e. 3 GP exclusion).

        Also, in effort to maintain fairness, same test with same variables is to be organized for remaining teams, Mercedes excluded.

        You would have been upset about it? I would think to myself this. FIA is out for fairness, and is punishing reasonably the right party and equalizing advantage gained correctly without taking it out on some young drivers.

      2. KRB says:

        If anyone needs blaming for this mess, it’s the FIA. They blew it, bigtime. Any sane court would have found that Mercedes had no case to answer for, b/c of the assurances given by the FIA, and the fact that it was a test conducted by the tire supplier, and that that supplier had not fulfilled all the requirements of it (i.e. informing all the teams).

        Having said that, count me shocked that the FIA IT actually came through with a sensible judgement. I was fully prepared for some big outlandish penalty to be imposed, such is the past track record of the FIA on these matters. In fact, I think this is the only decision of the FIA and its tribunals, on a big matter, that I pretty much fully agree with. The only other one that could come close would be the Schumacher exclusion in 1997, though there Schumi had already been beaten on track, the penalty didn’t carry over into the next season, and his results remained for statistical purposes.

        McLaren Spygate saw a ridiculously harsh fine, while Crashgate saw a ridiculously lenient penalty (suspended exclusion).

        It seems that the FIA International Tribunal is a big improvement on what was there before. It seems to me that the judges on the panel were aware that they had to give a serious judgement that would reflect on the organization as a whole.

        It’s quite evident that the main panel judge wrote a cautious judgement, as any trial judge would. No trial judge likes to see their judgements overturned on appeal … it’s a real mark against them. It’s clear that the judge had this in mind, and for me that’s the sign of a mature court process.

      3. Theoddkiwi says:

        Who pays for these extra tests? the Barcelona test was paid for by Pirelli.

      4. Joe_in_Miami says:

        Yeah, forget the rules and let’s go racing. Might as well put an illegal wing and let’s forget the rules and go racing, yeahhhhhh

      5. Quade says:

        We now have it in black and white that the FIA okayed the test. Let it go.
        Merc and Pirelli were only punished for their ignorance. Here are the tribunals findings:

        “Having taken all such matters into account, the
        Tribunal makes the following findings:
        (1) 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.
        (2) Neither Pirelli nor Mercedes acted in bad faith at any material time.
        (3) Both Pirelli and Mercedes 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; and Mercedes had no reason to believe that approval
        had not been given .
        (4) 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.”

        http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/news/files/(IT-2013-01)-Decision%20(EN).pdf

      6. Wayne says:

        This makes no sense what so ever. Just saying…..

    6. AuraF1 says:

      It’s absolutely fair I’d argue. The FIA broke its own impartiality by ignoring Ferrari and playing politics with Bernie over Pirellis position.

      This was nothing more than a power struggle between the FIA and Bernie which can occur only now there is no Concorde agreement fully in place.

      Everyone needs to look behind the scenes and the motivations for this whole affair.

      1. Quade says:

        Simples. For instance, it is known that Charlie Whiting is Bernies man. It looks strange the way the FIA seemed to be publicly cutting down his authority in a court of law; that is until you factor in the Bernie/FIA battle for supremacy.

        That battle is one Bernie is losing, here are some milestones (or should I say, millstones :)):

        1. Pirelli gets tyre contract, FIA preferred Michellin.
        Verdict – black eye for the FIA.

        2. Last season, Merc threatened to evict Bernie from F1 over his opposition to the engine change for 2014 (even after the manufacturers had spent millions and diverted research resources for a number of years).
        Bernie suddenly quietened his opposition.
        Verdict – black eye for Bernie.

        3. Merc also promised to dump Bernie in the deep end concerning the bribery case in Germany. Bernie never replied.
        Verdict – black eye for Bernie.

        4. Last season, Ferrari tested in secret with Massa, going well above the 1000km imposed by the rules. After that test, Ferrari’s tyre experts exchanged several damaging emails with Pirelli.
        The FIA overlooked the sordid affair.
        Verdict – pun move by the FIA.

        5. The change to the 2014 engines passed despite Bernies strong disaproval.
        Verdict – black eye for Bernie.

        6. Bernie rightly felt that Pirelli’s wretched tyres had become painful for F1 and so, got Pirelli to make changes. The FIA vetoed those changes at the very last minute.
        Verdict – black eye for Bernie.

        7. Wise owl, Ross Brawn read the cracks between Bernie and the FIA. He drove a train right through. Bernie was shrill about how wrong Merc was; Merc only got a slap on the wrist (if it can even be called that).
        Verdict – black eye for Bernie.

        8. After the tribunal, Pirelli now seems to have moved out of Bernies orbit into the FIA’s (expect their 2014 contract to be signed soon).
        Verdict – black eye for Bernie.

        If this were to be a real boxing match, the ref would have ended it long since.
        As we look forward to the intrigues of the German bribery scandal, we can see where things are headed – a F1 without Bernie. Sadly, Red Bull is likely to be trampled in the process the way they are currently careering down a one way street.

      2. Sebee says:

        Quade,

        What you say is black eye for Bernie, is nothing but little jabs by Mini-Me FIA.

        FIA has long been on life support since Bernie got the rights for 100 years. They may be bitter about it, but beside a little occasional spasm induced twitch they are flatlined. Bernie could pull the plug any day. You think it’s beyond FOM to actually spin off the sport away from FIA? Why exactly are the FIA needed? You don’t see NASCAR, NFL, FIFA, controlled by some third party rule maker, do you? Does FIA hold hearings about NASCAR rules or infractions? Or does NASCAR handle it just fine themselves?

      3. James Allen says:

        There is the small matter that FIA owns F1 Wirld Championship

        The 100 years agreement is a licence to exploit the commercial rights

      4. Sebee says:

        Red Bull don’t need F1. They just make sugar drinks. They won’t be here forever.

        It would be very foolish of them however to not allign themselves with Bernie. It may very well be his final act to spin the sport free from FIA.

        Oh man…how fun is F1 behind the scenes. Seriously.

      5. David C says:

        @sebee, redbull arnt just a company who make drinks, they also own a F1 team, a F1 team that won the last 3 WCC and WDC championships. Where have you been for the last few years man? I don’t see any reason why they can’t maintain an F1 team for a long time, look at the other teams with no affiliation to a car manufacturer such as Williams and Mclaren (I know Mclaren started to create road cars recently). Who knows maybe one day Redbull could start a road car division. Either way your assumption that they are not in F1 for the long term is just wishful thinking.

      6. Sebee says:

        So, FIA play plitics on Pirelli by dragging a premium brand like Mercedes who spends tens or hundreds of million of Euros on F1 each year through the mud in the press?

      7. AuraF1 says:

        The FIA wanted to test its court and its power. Yes Mercedes were a soft target. If you think the political mud slinging behind the scenes of F1 isn’t this petty you need to read more. It’s a sad state of affairs back there in France.

      8. David C says:

        How much do you have to spend to be above the law, do Ferrari spend enough? What about Renault and their defacto works team Redbull, dose the RBR/ Renault combo spend enough to break the rules? If force India want to cheat who should they make their check out to? Metrc were found guilty of breaking the rules and punished because they were found to have broken the rules, then they were punished as the tribunal who found them guilty saw fit after taking all the evidence into account. Merc were guilty punished and now it’s over so let’s get racing, plenty of the season left and lets hope we see some good racing.

    7. Fan says:

      Agree. Wholly inadequate punishment. If I were one of the other teams I’d immeditely go out and do tests of my own. Who cares about the young driver tests? How is that a punishment?

      1. Sebee says:

        It is…for future generations of drivers. Think about who really got punished here.

      2. Wayne says:

        Mercedes got punished. The young driver tests are anything but. They are team development tests, controlled by the teams, with current tyres.

      3. Sebee says:

        Wayne, come on man! Mercedes got punished? Are you such a huge Hamilton fan that you don’t see past the obvious?

        1. Mercedes got to run the test solo, months before YDT goes ahead.
        2. Mercedes got to run their top drives, although in less flashy helmets.
        3. Mercedes got taste of 2014 rubber.

        And all they gave up for it is a test month later with sub-par tallent? This is a fair deal?

      4. Sebee says:

        Oh and Wayne…WDCs and GP winners don’t tend to crash expensive F1 cars during test like certain Young Drivers do in their Test. More $$$avings for Mercedes.

      5. Wayne says:

        Yes Mercedes got punished, very lightly I’ll grant you. Young drivers did not suffer, the YDT is a complete joke from their point of view anyway.

      6. Quade says:

        Lol! Most teams don’t even care about the young drivers test. I’m not sure if Merc even took part last year, check it out:
        http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/286802/abu-dhabi-young-driver-test-the-line-up/

        Haha!! The rabbits out of the F1 hat! :)

      7. Sebee says:

        @Wayne
        It is time we start making better word choices.

        Mercede got rewarded for their craftiness. (Not Punished)

        So is the conclusion here FIA is siding with Mercedes against RBR and Bernie who in the past has marginalized Mercedes?

        Is Mercedes trying to get so big in F1 that it’s too big to fail and thus beyond FOM control? And is FOM trying to control it’s size and influence on the sport? You must admit, suddenly Mercedes does control quite a few assets, and quite a few teams will run their engines. If Mercedes is an FIA ally then FIA have bigger influence on FOM and F1.

        What is going on here really?

      8. Quade says:

        @Sebee
        I agree that Merc seem to have been rewarded, especially as the teams really don’t value the young drivers test that much.

        However, the FIA is not siding with Merc. Rather, it is Merc taking advantage of the sordid state of F1 rules and winning. Its left to see if they gain performance this season, thats if its not too late (with engine homologation and maps being locked). The joker they must be holding now is for 2014.

      9. aveli says:

        if any of the teams repeat what mercedes did, the fia would simply dish out a much harsher punishment.
        there is no power struggle in f1, only one man is in charge of the sport and he appoints everyone else and tells them what he expects of them. fail to deliver and you’d shut the door behind you.

    8. D@X says:

      You are so right, only the top teams can pull such feats! I think the media made a big meal out of it. As usual nothing much to it..lets go racing.

    9. Scuderia McLaren says:

      The only way they can do it, and get away with it is if they have plausible deniability in the form of an email from Charlie Whiting some how accidentally giving ambiguous permission.

      Without that face saving email, the teams would be seen to be flagrant in their disregard and the punishment would be severe.

      Charlie won’t make this mistake again. Brawn licked into the situation and realized it was a one off Gem and ran with it. He knew he had it stitched up all along.

      1. Sebee says:

        Yup…and FIA punishes a bunch of young drivers to make up for it.

        Karma…I summon you. Channel thyself in form of RBR or Ferrari championships in 2014. :-)

      2. Kingszito says:

        Really! I bet you would be sounding differently if either RBR or Ferrari (your team) was in this position. Mercedes walked a fine line, just like Ferrari, RBR or other teams would do and you are summoning Karma. Where was Karma when Ferrari did tyre testing in 2012 which was only revealed in the Tribunal? Oh sorry I remember, Karma was at present because Alonso lost the championship despite Vetel spinning at the first lap. FIA has taken their decision as deemed fit considering all facts on the table, if you like it or not, you must live with it.

      3. Sebee says:

        Kingszito,

        NO WAY! If RBR did it, I would be for same punishment 100%.

        In fact, I have been against RBR calls for change to 2013 tire 100% and on record since day one of the issue.

        This is not about team or driver loyalty. This is about fair play, and this was not played fair. Check my logic above with 3 reasons why I think it wasn’t fair play or fair punishment at all. I think I have been quite consistent on this point.

      4. Quade says:

        @Sebee
        Nobody was punished. Just check Mercs young driver test history (thats if it exists in any real form).

      5. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Sebee, I understand where your pain comes from but Karma doesn’t need to be invoked here. 2014 was always going to be a Ferrari or Red Bull championship. Mercedes have improved, but not enough to realistically think about a sustain title effort.

        As for the YDT, it’s only S.Bird that’ll miss out and I’m sure F-India will be happy to throw him a day or two with some clams from Mr.Brawn. There really is no materially sugnificant advantage that has turned the 2014 on its head.

        This does not rank even close with Singapore 08 Renault crashgate (still disgusted) or the McLaren/Ferrari 07 espionage debacle.

      6. Andrew M says:

        A 2014 RBR championship wouldn’t be karma, it would just be “business as usual”.

      7. BW says:

        /Without that face saving email, the teams would be seen to be flagrant in their disregard and the punishment would be severe/

        I think you didn’t notice the ‘testing would, however, not have been carried out by either Mercedes or Pirelli if that qualified approval had not been expressed by the representatives of the FIA’ part of the judgement.

      8. Scuderia McLaren says:

        That’s my point exactly!

        Not sure what you are getting at?

      9. BW says:

        Thread became so long that I might have overlooked you were referring to future tests by other teams rather than earlier test by Mercedes and Pirelli ;)

    10. AlexD says:

      So….what happens if now McLaren will do the same test with Pirelli and current drivers? They will also skip the young drivers test? It is a very good option, no?

      1. Grabyrdy says:

        Depends if they’ve phoned up Charlie and he’s said “I reckon it’s OK, I’ll get back to you”.

        Can’t see it meself.

      2. grat says:

        I believe that the FIA would find that McLaren would have acted in bad faith, and slam them the way many of you seem to want Mercedes punished.

        Likewise, I doubt Pirelli will do any more testing, and may or may not actually sign the contract for 2014.

        I’d love to see Paul Hembry stand up and say that now that testing with modern hardware has been banned, Pirelli has no interest in developing tires in the dark, and is no longer interested in F1.

      3. Andrew M says:

        I’d love to see Pirelli pull out of F1 as well, although I suspect for different reasons.

    11. David says:

      It’s only cheating if you get caught, and if you’re not cheating you’re not trying. The mantra in modern sports.

    12. Tim says:

      Unfortunately, I think Charlie has run out of the ‘get out of jail cards’ that Mercedes used. They were a one time only offer :-)

    13. Marybeth says:

      Bring back Max.

      1. Marybeth says:

        Who punishes this tribunal for this crime that they have committed with this letting Merc off totally…?

    14. bearforce1 says:

      Mercedes was one of the top most trusted brands in the world. Mercedes values its reputation highly and knows its value to their business.

      This must have some very serious ramifications for the Mercedes brand.

      I myself support most F1 teams and drivers. I do think that Mercedes knowingly cheated and am disappointed and think a lot less of Mercedes. I thought that Mercedes would always do the right thing because their reputation was so strong because of the perceived Mercedes integrity and ethics. Now I know Mercedes would cheat, sweep things under the carpet etc etc.

    15. John Myburgh says:

      Red Bull and Ferrari are obviously not going to be happy (probably more so Red Bull as it was Horner that pressed the button on this).

      The irony is that, as explained http://wp.me/p2HWOP-hAD, Red Bull have closed down any route for “clarification” of the rules by Charlie. From now on, if their cars are deemed to be illegal (flexi wings, holes in floor, suspension adjustments) teams will protest.

      1. Me says:

        “From now on, if their cars are deemed to be illegal (flexi wings, holes in floor, suspension adjustments) teams will protest.”

        I think you’re a bit late on that… that’s been happening for years…

      2. John Myburgh says:

        Let me rephrase then… More teams will be trotting over to Paris to have a chat with the Judges about their innovative designs… the end result, much less pushing the boundaries and less innovation.

        I can see Red Bull in front of the IT in the very near future…

      3. David C says:

        Yeah because normally the teams don’t protest …… Oh no wait they do and these clarifications are little more than in season changes of rules designed to hurt RBR by changing the rules mid-season. If a rule is written correctly there is no need to reclarify the rule to punish someone. You will notice that no rules were rewritten to punish Merc, they were punished with the existing txt. That’s why RBR don’t get hauled in front of a tribunal, don’t get found guilty but do get punished where as Merc are hauled in front of a tribunal, found guilty then not punished. If RBR are in front of an IT this year I’ll eat my hat ………. And I’m not even wearing a hat!

  2. Steve Temple says:

    A rap over the knuckles with a feather duster!
    I can`t see how the outcome could have been any different with Pirelli the only possible tyre supplier for next season.Anything more and you could see them walking away from F1.And it wouldn`t surprise me if they still do.

  3. Andy says:

    What a farce that was. The FIA QC ripped into the Mercedes at the start, also saying they were in breach of 151. The Mercedes Lawyer kindly suggested their own punishment. Ross Brawn on leaving the hearing, spoke to the press and said how pleased he was with the fair hearing and how they had listened etc, almost as if he KNEW they were getting off lightly.
    Then what a surprise, Mercedes get the exact penalties suggested by their lawyer.
    If you are going to do deals behind closed doors then at least make it look plausible.
    How can you breach a regulation ‘in good faith’ when you twice question the legality with the FIA of what you want to do.

    1. aveli says:

      mercedes said they didn’t intend to and didn’t gain an advantage, and if the it thought otherwise then they’d give up that advantage and miss the upcoming young drivers testing session. they probably wouldn’t been punished if they didn’t offer to give that up. a clear demonstration of their disinterest in gaining an unfair advantage.

      1. Andy says:

        Of course they gained an advantage. I think any team would give up a young drivers test to be able to run 1000km with their race drivers.
        I think Mercedes have said to the FIA ‘give us a slap on the wrist or we’ll walk away’.

    2. Tim says:

      How can you breach a regulation ‘in good faith’ when you twice question the legality with the FIA of what you want to do…
      Surely that’s the point, isn’t it? If you got an answer you didn’t expect, ie yes you are ok to use the 2013 car. Then you re-check to make sure that you weren’t dreaming and still get the same answer. Are you not then proceeding in good faith, you have checked and been given the thumbs up.

      1. Andy says:

        They were told the conditions under which it was believed to be okay, but they didn’t comply ie the test has to be offered to all teams.

      2. Tim says:

        This is an excerpt from the Tribunal findings above:
        ‘and Mercedes had no reason to believe that approval had not been given’ .
        I don’t know what more you want by way of good faith.
        For what it’s worth I have no doubt that Ross knew exactly what they were doing. But, as I have mentioned in my other posts/comments on the matter, he saw the opportunity and grasped it with both hands.
        Ain’t no flies on Ross, any that are pay him rent :-)

      3. Andy says:

        Don’t get wrong, I have always admired Ross Brawn, a very clever man, excellent with the media and genuinely honest. I believe both he and Pirelli knew they were in the wrong, but they both took a gamble in that they thought they had gained permission of sorts, knowing that Charlie Whiting didn’t have the authority to give it.

        Both Pirelli and Mercedes have clearly gone to the FIA and said ‘this is what we will accept, or we will walk away from the sport’.
        How can anyone explain the Mercedes Lawyer saying that if they are found guilty, they should receive a reprimand and a ban from the young driver test? And guess what happens!
        The majority of the teams push the regulations to the limit and beyond, and that is part of the interest in the sport.
        Where it falls down is the behind closed doors deals that wouldn’t fool a 5 year old.

      4. Tim says:

        Whilst I wouldn’t have an argument with the first part of your conclusions, I am less convinced by your suggestion that the punishment was agreed in advance.
        Although I understand why you, and others, may well conclude that it was a fix, remember the IT was independent from the FIA and it was the IT decision what punishment was appropriate. If a deal was done, as you suggest, then it would have involved the collusion of the members of the IT. A quick Google of the IT panel reveals they are very serious legal figures indeed – not the sort of people who would be anxious to have their reputation besmirched by doing some sort of grubby ‘behind the scenes’ deal. I also find it hard to imagine the Mercedes QC blurting out the ‘deal’ in public, by mistake.
        Either way, the punishment has been given and accepted. Although, if rumours of legal action by Pirelli against the FIA are true, this saga may have a way to run before it finally concludes.
        Happy days :-)

      5. H.Guderian says:

        Asking a judge twice if you can kill someone does not allow you to do that, right? It is crystal clear in the rules (signed by ALL team) that they can’t do that.

  4. Anil says:

    Surprisingly light punishment but I guess it shows how complex the case was.

    James, what tyres will Pirelli take to the Young Drivers Test?

    1. James Allen says:

      Good question

      I will ask Hembery

      1. DanT says:

        Also James, which young drivers will now lose out?

      2. Phil Glass says:

        James, nobody needs to lose out. Bird can go testing in secret after everyone’s packed up and gone. Easy. Wear a black helmet.

      3. Peter C says:

        Won’t Sam Bird have a test with Force India, arranged by Mercedes GP ?

      4. James Allen says:

        Not sure, but I bet James Calado does

      5. J Hancock says:

        None at all, all the teams will have booked testing elsewhere in exchange.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Black ones, but only to avoid any possible security threats.

    3. Sebee says:

      Anil,

      Your question should be…

      “James, who are the drivers that now won’t get to have a chance at this driver development opportunity?”

      1. James Allen says:

        Sam Bird mainly..

      2. Sebee says:

        A British boy gets robbed then. I guess Mercedes are indifferent toward him – 2 years younger than Lewis – past his prime. Perfect sacrifice.

    4. Quade says:

      Merc didn’t attend the young drivers test last year. They last did in 2011, I believe.

      1. James Allen says:

        Yes they did!

        There were three different ones remember?

  5. PB says:

    Pretty much as expected. Ross Brawn is a genius at pulling these tricks, and this is evident from his Ferrari days. Ferrari and Red Bull will not be too happy about this.

    On another note, it is increasingly apparent how McLaren were targeted by Mr. Max Mosley on a personal level in 2007. People get away with fixing races and conducting testing in today’s times where quite clearly testing is not allowed, but they had to pay the highest fine in history! Ron Dennis must not be a happy chap looking at all this…

    1. MrNed says:

      Sky have a fascinating interview with Max Moseley (“Architects of F1″ I think is the series title). In it Max goes into a lot of detail about “spygate” and “crashgate”, and why the punishments for the former were so severe. It massively changed my opinion on the spygate thing (not to mention other controversial happenings), and I have to say I came away from the program with more respect for Moseley than I had previously.

      In a nutshell, the spygate punishment was very harsh because of the dishonesty that McLaren exhibited during the initial investigations. The crashgate judgement was lenient to Renault because despite knowing something had gone-on the FIA were unable to act (due to confidences and politics), until Renault themselves investigated the rumours, found them to be true, and put itself in front of the FIA (along with the evidence it had gathered against Flavio and Pat Symonds). Very different situations, and very different to the Merc / Pirelli situation.

      I heartily recommend you try to catch the program – it’s completely enthralling.

      1. ACx says:

        I have to +1 this. Any one who thinks they are a “student” of F1 history cannot miss that interview.

      2. Dave C says:

        OK then let Ferrari be honest, they should make a press conference stating that they will be testing at fiorano everyday from now on in preparation for next season…

      3. Tim says:

        I agree, I also found the programme/interview very interesting. I think we should remember, however, that Max is a Barrister and was making the case for his defence through out the programme. He was hardly going to come out and say what a useless mess he made of things. Perhaps a pinch or two of salt might be useful.

      4. MrNed says:

        I take your point about Moseley, but he admitted to certain mistakes and errors during the interview so it wasn’t all “case for the defence”.

        Also, I recommend you read Adam Parr’s “Art of War” (if you haven’t already), and then ask yourself who is creating the mess in F1.

      5. Tim says:

        I have read the Art of War – my only complaint was, it’s too short. I read it straight through in one go and found it compelling reading! That said, I have to add the same caveat as I did for the Max Moseley interview. Adam Parr is also a barrister and he wrote this book after being maneuvered out of his Williams job by Bernie (allegedly).

      6. aveli says:

        i think if you look at the facts surounding the spygate, mclaren also investigated itself and gave their findins to the fia. the fia investigated mclaren and concluded they found no evidence of mclaren using the data until alonso blackmailed mclaren. at that point ron dennis phoned max mosley to rell him that alonso may have emails regarding the use of ferrari info. mclaren therefore gave the fia all they found out just as renault did. i think
        spygate was a personal fight between the big boys of f1.
        that video would only be fair if both sides were interviewed ie ron dennis or his lawyers and max mosely.

      7. Cliff says:

        Never been a fan of Max, but I must admit he comes across well in interviews (probably something to do with his legal background), and it’s hard not to understand the logic behind his arguments and decisions.

        The problem for me was both he and Ron would give no ground and their arguments became public, the result being that a lot of the valid arguments and reasoning were lost in the smoke and the mirrors (not forgetting the bitterness).

    2. clyde says:

      Benetton days :-)

    3. Steve says:

      What “genius”? What “trick”? Mercedes threatened to leave the sport if punished, and the Tribunal were scared to call their bluff.

      If Brawn were the head of Force India or Sauber and pulled this same stunt, the result would be an automatic disqualification from the championship. Mercedes did not get away with it because of Brawns cunning, they got away with it because they are Mercedes.

      Once again in F1, there is one law for the rich and powerful and another law for the rest.

      1. Twirl Pi says:

        “Once again in F1, there is one law for the rich and powerful and another law for the rest.”

        If that is the case then Red Bull – as F1′s biggest spenders – are protected more than most. Right?

      2. Steve says:

        We won’t know until Red Bull get charged with something. So far they never have been, in spite of the belief of many rival fans that they are the biggest cheats around.

      3. Steve says:

        BTW, what is the basis for your claim that RB are F1′s biggest spenders?

      4. Twirl Pi says:

        “Steve”

        The crucial bit is your own standard of: “the rich and powerful” in F1 are treated by “different laws.”

        Perhaps you’re not aware but the holes in the floor of RB’s 2012 cars were deemed illegal by the FIA.

        F1′s biggest spenders, Red Bull, were merely told to “change” said illegal holes in their cars’ floor yet received no punishment for this “transgression.” So I’d say your verdict re. “rich and powerful” might well be correct.

        “BTW, what is the basis for your claim that RB are F1′s biggest spenders?”

        Widely reported fact!? You can easily find such information for yourself.

    4. Steve says:

      “Ferrari and Red Bull will not be too happy about this.”

      Why would ANYONE be happy about this?

      1. Tim says:

        Well, in addition to myself and many other F1 fans. I expect Mercedes AMG are fairly happy with the result :-)

    5. Phil says:

      Think about Niki Lauda. I’ll bet he doesn’t know whether to laugh than Merc have gotten away with it, or cry that he can’t get rid of Ross Braun.

      He must be spitting feathers ;-)

  6. NF1 says:

    Certainly the right decision. FIA always leave doors open when making the rules it makes life more interesting in seeing who can interpret them with the most cunning.

  7. Jon says:

    I guess this is the best outcome we could expect, and the most sensible. They won’t gain any information from the young drivers test, which will mean if they didn’t gain anything from the tyre test they’ll be on the back foot. Good verdict in my opinion.

    1. Rick says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Merc would have been crazy to get involved with this test unless they were pretty sure it was ok for the FIA. A good verdict.

    2. Dave P says:

      I would like to re phrase that… not a good veridict…but the only one that all parties couldlive with…

      I think they should have got worse with a more condemming rebuke…. but I also recognise that, nobody wants Mercedes or pirelli to pull out of the sport.

      Still it does irk me that politics from all directions plays its part

      1. Grabyrdy says:

        What choice did the FIA have ? If they’d thrown the book at Mercedes,they’d have to have thrown it at Charlie as well. And they need him, every few minutes, every F1 weekend.

        The fascinating thing for me is : why did Charlie think that a test with this year’s car would probably be OK, when everybody – EVERYBODY – was sure this was the great NONO ? Was he ultra-aware of Pirelli’s problems (teams unhappy, bad PR, a few breakages, unco-operation of the teams) and tried to “push the envelope” ?

        The FIA has supported him with this judgment. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next.

      2. Quade says:

        It isn’t just Charlie that thought the test was ok. The entire FIA did, because their lawyers said so. In fact the FIA has repeatedly said that their only grouse was that other teams were not given the same chance (a stance that changed at the tribunal).

        Its the FIA thats guilty of double speak and the real wrong doer in this saga. Word is that Ross Brawn went to the tribunal armed with sheafs of backing legal documents sent to Merc by the FIA’s very own lawyers; I don’t know how much of that is true, but it is believable and has been carried in the German press (Mercs home country).

  8. Sossoliso says:

    Does that mean Ferrari will now start threatening to leave F1? haha

    What happens on some given race weekend when/if some team thinks a competitor has an illegal device on their car. Do they go to Charlie Whiting or send fighter pilots/emails/telephone calls (take your pick)to the FIA’s Sport Department or Monsieur Pierre de Connick for advice or could CW still have some sway?

    1. CarlH says:

      No need for them to quit, they might as well go testing for the rest of the season.

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        ..but then they’d forfeit their young drivers test….

      2. Theoddkiwi says:

        What tyres will they be using during this testing you speak of?

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      As Ross pointed out, on technical matters Charlie’s word is taken as law. It’s on sporting matters that his word is worthless.

  9. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Good ruling, we can move on.

    1. Sebee says:

      If this is a good ruling then explain to me how such a long advantage on holding data on possible 2014 tires is overcome? Expecially during a critical design period we’re currently in?

      Also, explain to me how data gained with a newbee is as good as data gained with top experienced drivers?

      Don’t forget, that also punishes potential future drivers who have 2 seats less for the test. Should FIA not be interested in helping develop future drivers?

      The only ones who really got punished here are those young drivers who won’t get the milage.

      Pathetic ruling from every angle you look at it.

      1. Alexander Supertramp says:

        Holding data for 2014 tires? Not trying to be an ostrish sticking its head in the sand, but that’s the first I hear about it..

        As to your second question: I will quote Christian Horner: “you gather information everytime a F1 car runs”. Surely, the data acquired is of way greater value when it’s gathered during an official test, with teams able to run their own program- e.g. knowing the tires they are running etc. I don’t believe Mercedes “test” gave them the knowledge the likes of RB or Ferrari will get during the YDT.

        I am on the same page as you regarding the Mercedes test drivers. Then again, I think there are talks about extra young driver tests in the future- I might be wrong.

      2. Sebee says:

        Let me paint the picture for you Alexander…

        You make cars. Cars need tires. Many tires for you to choose from to put on your many cars that you sell as OEM. Every tire maker would love the nice clean single customer service with the volume. You see how the likes of any car manufacturer on the grid will get special treatment? It’s just nice clean business, nothing else. And nothing wrong with business deals either. But please, let’s remember fans are watching, and consider this still somewhat of a sport. Which means fairness need be applied across the board or sport this is not.

        We don’t know what was on the test, but it was noted by Pirelli that the tires offered were considered changes for 2013 spec and some tests/eval for 2014. You should read up on it. You know, power plants are chaning for 2014, and Mercedes has ambitions here. Knowing what rubber will deliver the power certainly is a nice thing. If they don’t know the exact rubber, at least they know that it will be 1 of 3 types, or 1 of 5…which is way more than any other team knows.

      3. Gazza says:

        Apparently no data from the test can be used by Mercedes. The telemetry data was recorded for safety purposes but kept on secure equipment.

        I think the Tribunal would have already checked on this?

        The only possible gain would be the drivers feel for the new tyres, could be the reason Merc used Nico and Lewis. However using a current driver to test is not against any regulation, Ferrari did it with Massa.

    2. Tealeaf says:

      Yeah lets move on good thing we still got Vettel and Alonso still fighting it out for the title as usual, that won’t change.

  10. Elie says:

    Well nearly everyone expected this. It’s not acceptable to the many sporting fans out there. Does this now mean that it is up to the FIA to decide on the reprimand to Pirelli ?- as they have the contract with them.

    How does anyone take this sport seriously if the powers that be don’t even take it seriously.!

    Will this now mean Red Bull and Ferrari appeal the decision ?.

    Will it mean that every team now will consider breaking the rules when they need to only to take a small penalty when they don’t ?

    Just raises more questions than it answers

    1. Quade says:

      Next team that breaks the rules will get the full ‘ammer blow. It seems to me that the real targets of this saga are Charlie Whiting and Red Bull.

      1. Sebee says:

        Interesting.

        Please explain your thoughts on targetting of Charlie and RBR further.

      2. Quade says:

        Its almost an open secret that Bernie and the FIA are in conflict. Charlie Whiting who was thrown under the bus by his own FIA lawyers is Bernie’s ally.
        Red Bull has been annoying everyone in the paddock with their spoilt brat outbursts (some targetted at the FIA). They are rumoured to be breaking the rules again with a host of things, including illegal use of traction control, here’s a video and a pic:
        http://www.worldcarfans.com/113061958990/photo-evidence-shows-apparent-red-bull-illegal-traction

      3. Sebee says:

        Thoughts about this everyone?

        How can you have TC if ECU is standard?

    2. Phil Glass says:

      “Will it mean that every team now will consider breaking the rules when they need to only to take a small penalty when they don’t ?”

      Well, it seems to be a matter of weighing up which is the worse option:
      1 -cheat, improve your race pace, but as a result get yourself a slight reprimand
      2- or, instead, continue to struggle on sundays with a bad design solution
      There’s a lesson there for all.

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        Indeed. What are the other teams going to try and get up to now…knowing that there will be no punishment (with the exception of McLaren, who’ll probably get banned for 3 seasons!)

    3. MrNed says:

      I’m a sporting fan, and this outcome is about the most I would have accepted given the situation. You don’t speak for me, @Elie.

      Ferrari would be foolish to appeal – they only escaped being called to tribunal themselves because the FIA’s idea of what the rules mean is different to what is written down. Red Bull? They’ll be sour, but then they always are (except just after taking a 1-2… but even then…!)

      Will all teams break the rules? I’d suggest that all teams are bending them in one way or another, and close scrutiny of all of those bends could reveal quite a few breaks too.

      Personally I think the judgement is clear, balanced and right.

      1. Elie says:

        i have no problem in teams living on the edge of the interpretation of the rules and seeking clarification- that is ultra competitive and pushing the boundaries. It’s a different ball game when you know exactly whats required & break the rules and try to conceal it.
        You think it’s ok for all the teams to bend- no really !-break them..& Your a “sporting fan” not very sporting I would say- & yep I really don’t speak for you.

      2. MrNed says:

        I didn’t say it was OK for rules to bent / broken, I merely questioned your implication that such things don’t occur as a matter of course. Flexi wings? Sprung floors? Mass dampers? A hole is a slot not a hole, but is a hole really?

        I don’t think this reflects whether-or-not the teams are being sporting because this IS the sport. This is F1. It’s chess, not checkers.

        Read the rules, read the evidence, read the judgement. Based on these factual elements I honestly don’t understand why the outcome is so objectionable to some people.

      3. Me says:

        @MrNed

        There’s no problem with bendy wings if they pass the FIA load test, it’s the test itself that’s the problem.

    4. Adam says:

      Red Bull and Ferrari cant appeal anything they were not before the tribunal. That would be like you appealing a verdict on some case involving someone else. You have no standing.

  11. Tsss says:

    Disgusted.

    [mod]. The only reason they are not punished heavily is because of the Ferrari thing they sabotaged the hearings with.

    Everyone knows they cheated, although their fans (read Hamilton fans) are trying to use lawyer talk to deny it.

    I hope RBR starts testing every week now so teach everyone a lesson. Disgusted with F1, yet again.

    1. Nikos says:

      And what does RBR or Ferrari stands for?

      1. quattro says:

        Simple. Teams that does NOT circumvent the rules, testing with a current car with the current drivers. Teams that does not feel they need to cheat in order to win.

      2. MrNed says:

        I’m sorry – are you seriously suggesting that neither Red Bull nor Ferrari look for loopholes in the rules and then take advantage of those loopholes? Are you suggesting neither bends the rules to (and often beyond) breaking point? Flexi wings? Spring-mounted floors? Illegal team orders? None of this ringing any bells.

        And “cheat in order to win”? Monaco aside, I’m struggling to think of the other victories Mercedes has had this year.

        Clearly you are upset that Merc didn’t get a bigger punishment, but I suggest you read the rules, read the evidence, read the judgement and perhaps you’ll understand.

      3. Steve says:

        “are you seriously suggesting that neither Red Bull nor Ferrari look for loopholes in the rules and then take advantage of those loopholes?”

        Look, there was no “loophole” here. Mercedes broke the rules, full stop. That’s not just my opinion, it is the opinion of the Tribunal. So please stop going on about this non-existent “loophole” you think they exploited.

        “Flexi wings?”

        “Flexi wings” were not and are not illegal. It would be nice if more F1 fans knew the rudiments of the rules of the sport.

      4. quattro says:

        @ MrNed

        Totally agree with you that ALL teams will try finding loopholes in the rules. My post obviously suggests that I feel what Merc did was beyond bending the rules or finding loopholes. And they were found guilty… still GOT AWAY WITH IT. That is either great risk-reward calculation of whoever runs Merc, and/or huge failure for F1 and sport.

      5. Hal says:

        In your eyes maybe.

    2. MrNed says:

      I’m rooting for Alonso this year, and have no allegiance to Merc. I don’t think anyone cheated, and I think the decision is fair and balanced given the ambiguity of the rules, the approval given by the FIA’s technical and legal delegates, and the level of advantage that could conceivably have been gained. If you have some other criteria on which you are judging Merc to be cheating then please share, but at the moment the only people who are dissatisfied are the RB and VET fans….

      … which begs the question why, despite leading both champs and looking pretty peerless, are RB and RB’s fan base so scared of Mercedes? ;-)

      1. Kingszito says:

        Good question mate? Maybe they (RBR) are from the future! Maybe they know what we don’t know! I can’t understand it. I haven’t seen Mercedes as a threat to RBR, Ferrari or to even Lotus, but Horner’s actions during this testgate has made me think twice.

      2. Quade says:

        Christian Horner himself said Merc are no threats this year, so the RBR (and RBR fanbase) attitude is a deep puzzle indeed.

      3. Steve says:

        “at the moment the only people who are dissatisfied are the RB and VET fans….”

        At the moment it seems the only people who are satisfied are the people who automatically oppose anything which RB and Vettel say. Vettel could say “I oppose hunger” and a lot of people would feel obligated to leap to hungers defense.

        There’s a poll up at F1 Fanatic, and it seems that there are an awful lot of VET fans around if they’re the only ones who think this was a very soft ruling.

    3. Joel says:

      Why, do you think only Lewis has fans and neither Merc or Rosberg or Brawn, etc don’t have any fans? Oh, I get it, you may be one of those who can’t stand Lewis Hamilton.

      To get back to the point, I fully accept that Merc broke the rules and gained an unfair advantage. But, they are NOT the first and are NOT going to be the last who broke the rules and got away with it. I’ve felt disgusted when Ferrari used to break them and get AWAY scot-free with it. But, now for once, it feels good to know once of the team that you support could get away with it too…so, unfortunately, you got to deal with it this time :)

    4. Robert says:

      Hamilton really does inspire hatred amongst some doesn’t he. Anyone who disagrees with them is obviously blinded by their love of Hamilton. What nonsense

      1. Kingszito says:

        That’s your sole opinion and I am not buying it. As for me and other millions of fans, he inspires love and kindness.

      2. Skan says:

        No more than Alonso, Vettel, Webber, Schumacher, etc

    5. SRK says:

      “I hope RBR starts testing every week now so teach everyone a lesson.”

      And what tyres would they use if I may ask?

    6. ACx says:

      What is lawyer talk? Language precision? Facts? Laws? That sort of inconvenient stuff?

      1. Offcourse says:

        +1

        Very good. About time someone pulled people up on such a Cliche comment.

  12. Rich B says:

    ridiculous, Mercedes very very lucky.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      No. Brawn is an opportunist, always switched on to gaps, and is very very intelligent.

      Luck has NOTHING to do with that outcome.

      1. JoeP says:

        “No. Brawn is an opportunist, always switched on to gaps, and is very very intelligent.”

        It’s nice to see someone who ostensibly isn’t a Brawn supporter (“Scuderia McLaren”?) but is able to recognize the man’s cunning genius.

      2. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Respect where it’s due I say. Mercedes would be wise to make Ross happy and keep him going for as long as possible. Wolff can handle the non critical aspects if the F1 team and learn from the best. Wolff is wise enough to recognize genius and competence and its not Lauda. Lauda seems so unnessecary and self serving.

  13. jon says:

    good on ross to push the rules and get some testing bk for nx year,,,,,

  14. PopLoserTwit (@PopsTwitTar) says:

    Crazy to me that business people running multi million dollar businesses feel it acceptable to have a system where rules can be interpreted informally – and not in writing – by one guy. If I Mercedes really wanted to be cleared and have this test approved… which clearly contravenes the no testing rules…you can be damn sure I’m getting that in writing and I’m making sure it’s from the person who has the authority to do so. That said the argument of good faith seems reasonable here since it appears this informal Charlie Is God process is the
    “system” in f1.

  15. Nikos says:

    I suppose the penalty fits the crime. Case closed, now please let’s go back to racing!

    1. No says:

      Case closed? Lol no. Watch the next steps of RBR and Ferrari. Mercedes opened Pandora’s box and they will regret it because they don’t have the finances to keep up. Or rather, their investors don;t want to spend more.

      Mercedes also lost in credibility, they are now considered to be cheaters, as the verdict also said, they broke the rules and benefited from it.

      The only reason they did not get a heavier punishment is because they could not prove they broke the rules intentionally (which is laughable, of course they knew it or they were dumb, but in court you have to prove it, which is impossible.).

      1. DonSimon says:

        That’s a good point. Mercedes make cheap cars for developing markets. They could NEVER keep up with the front runners haha

      2. H says:

        You missed the articles of the last 2 years how the investors of Merc want out of F1 because it costs too much, I presume?

      3. aezy_doc says:

        Mercedes also lost in credibility, they are now considered to be cheaters – just like every other front running team then!

    2. quattro says:

      In your dreams mate, in your dreams. Every team that beats Merc this season, will have managed to do that in spite of Merc having bought themselves (very cheaply) 1000 KMs of extra testing in a current car with the current drivers.

      1. Niko says:

        So not agree. They gain no advance considering tyres, which is most important part nowdays, as they knew no details. The anavoidable “advance” just came for parts which they allready had and just put more miles on it. When RBR found to have cheated with the extras holes on the floor (after they won 2 races) last year, they were not draged down the International Tribunal cause nobody launched a protest against them (you see, nobody knew, just the FIA). But they were told to remove the holes, thus guilty. Poor RBR and Ferrari, will get at least the same or more knowledge with the YDT. So as I said, cased closed, lets move on!

  16. **Paul** says:

    I believe Mercedes have very smartly seen the opportunity for this test and taken it. The IT seems to have found that Mercedes intentionally didn’t really inform the FIA of it’s plans. On those grounds it’s hard to see why an FIA opinion based on half truths should count?

    Add into the mix that their QC suggested the punishment and it’s becoming dreadfully fishy. Every team in F1 would happily swap that Young Driver Test for 3 days at Barcelona with their race drivers in the car. The punishment is incredibly light. In fact what is to stop them now they know the punishment?

    In my opinion any wins by Mercedes in the remainder of this season will be on the back of the benefits of their ilegal in-season testing.

    I’d have banned them from FP1&2 for 3 or 4 races to relevel the playing field. A Young driver test does not resolve this.

    Disappointing first outing for the new IT.

    1. ashboy says:

      I think what stops the other teams trying this is the wording. The fact the hearing didn’t think Merc where after an unfair advantage, but if another team tryed it that would asume they are after an advantage.

      Plus i dont think Pirelli would suply the tyres.

      The fact the FIA have had to pay 1/3 of the cost shows this was an honest f*%$ up on all three parties sides. If Charlie had said no to Merc because article 22.4 at the first call this would not of happend

    2. Moog says:

      “Every team in F1 would happily swap that Young Driver Test for 3 days at Barcelona with their race drivers in the car”

      I don’t agree, during the YD test, teams will have new parts galore and will be gaining data on the rubber usage.

    3. Ben says:

      I have to disagree on your point that any team would swap their young drivers test. In the young drivers test they would change set up, try new parts etc where as Pirelli needed the car to be a consistent stable platform ie they cannot try anything new out. If you think about it logically without emotion it is quite a fair punishment

    4. Bradley says:

      Last year Mercedes ran nearly 1400 km at the Young Drivers test, with full knowledge of what tyres they were using and able to choose and alter the specs of their car to test parts, setup, etc.

      I can’t see how they could possibly get more out of the Pirelli test than the YDT, nor why any other team would “happily swap” for this.

    5. Nigel says:

      ” Every team in F1 would happily swap that Young Driver Test for 3 days at Barcelona with their race drivers in the car. ”

      Would they really ?
      With unknown tyres, and the inability to make any setup changes during the test ?

      I seriously doubt it.
      (Which is not to argue that Mercedes didn’t get off quite lightly.)

      1. Joe_in_Miami says:

        Rosberg DOES contradict you.

  17. MISTER says:

    what a joke!

    1. MC says:

      Welcome to F1 in the modern age… more concerned with marketing, politics and lawyers than racing.

    2. Oz Geezza says:

      You are spot on,the bigest joke one can
      point the finger at.
      It show that Mercedes and Charlie Whiting
      can not be deal with to harshly, simply put
      F1 can’t do without them.
      RBR and Ferrari should now go and do the
      unlimited testing,the ruling has been
      established by the IT,that is suspension of
      young drivers test.

    3. Sebee says:

      Who’s laughing MISTER?

      1. MISTER says:

        I’m not!

    4. Sebee says:

      I got the joke MISTER! Mercedes releases statement. …they won’t appeal ruling. Now that is funny.

      1. [MISTER] says:

        Seen that. That statement is more like a “haha!” meant to the rest of the teams..

      2. Sebee says:

        Glad to know at least someone is laughing MISTER.

        I wonder if Lewis will tweet more Miami posts tonight, or if he will be honest and tweet a few celebration party photos from HQ?

      3. Kingszito says:

        @sebee Lewis! Lewis!! What did Lewis do to you? Rosberg, Brawn and so on are in that team too, why singling out Lewis? Why do you hate him so badly? Don’t tell its because of his behaviour because there is nothing he’s doing that other drivers are not doing. We’re in the 21st century and we should learn how to judge people by who they are not by where they come from or what colour they are.

      4. Sebee says:

        Kingszito,

        Lewis is the one making a fool of himself on twitter by his own actions. His Miami tweets became one of the fun joys of the test story. Just like his telemetry and Button twitter battle did before. If he wishes us to not talk about it, he should stop giving us material.

        He’s doing plenty that other drivers aren’t. Paddock and F1 legends talk about it. As for your latter points..I certainly won’t tolerate what you are implying. How did that get past MOD? We’re done talking, that’s how far off mark you are with your suggestion.

      5. OscarF1 says:

        @Kingszito
        Sincerely I’m a bit tired of this paranoia.
        When a driver does something wrong, we criticise more or less thoroughly and with more or less humour.
        When LH does, Should we shut up or be regarded as racists? Sorry, not buying.
        Especially when he has been eager to make a case of his race on a number of occasions… and has been proved in the wrong.

      6. Kingszito says:

        OscarF1

        Criticizing Lewis when he does wrong is understandable, but then I don’t see what he got to do with the FIA’s verdict. The tyre test was about Mercedes and Pirelli, so making it all about Lewis is what I do not understand.

      7. Sebee says:

        Kingszito,

        All about Lewis?! Or all about Lewis’s tweets? Try to follow along and don’t be so blinded by your Lewis fan glasses to start calling “racism”.

        I don’t get blinded by Vettel, unless he pokes me in the eye by accident while waving his #1 finger after yet another win.

      8. Kingszito says:

        Sebee

        Which Lewis’ tweet are you associating with this testgate or FIA’s verdict, if you are genuinely blaming him for any of this? Because I don’t see how this article (Mercedes Escape Punishment From FIA International Tribunal)has anything to do with Lewis or his twits.

      9. OscarF1 says:

        @ Kingszito

        Even if it’s a little late already and despite that “Don’t feed the Trolls” sign over there:

        “One aspect of the Mercedes testing saga which drew some brief interest this week was Lewis Hamilton tweeting about Miami when he was actually at the controversial Pirelli test in Barcelona.”

  18. Peter Freeman says:

    So its down to confusion due to the lack of clarity, procedural process and leadership from the FIA.

    I am trying hard to think of something the FIA does really well, can anyone help me?

    1. DonSimon says:

      Structured a sport you love for decades?

  19. Matt Larkin says:

    Seems a perfectly sensible outcome to me. A proportionate penalty for a transgression based on poor communication. From reading the FIA official docs, it seems to me that Paul Hembery is the fall guy here – he said to Ross that he would ask the other teams, but then failed to do that.

    Of course, Mercedes really should have had something in writing from the FIA, and its not beyond possibility that Ross should have phoned Horner, Domenicali, Whitmarsh etc out of courtesy just to check it out.

    But any more severe punishment would have been disproportionate.

    Interesting that, despite the fact that Pirelli and Mercedes have been found at fault, the FIA is being told to pay 1/3 of the legal costs – an implication that they (Charlie Whiting in effect) were equally lax about this?

  20. BadName says:

    What a joke. This new F1 is quite pathetic.

  21. Mike says:

    So it was a misunderstanding.

    For all the technology present in F1 it appears the FIA/teams do not have suitable processes and procedures in place.

    All a little bizarre because large engineering companies are full of processes and procedures in order to be auditable to ISO standards, such as ISO 9000 and ISO 9001.

    Nonetheless, Mercedes and Pirelli have been lucky.

  22. Gary says:

    This light punishment(?) paves the way for Ferrari & Red Bull to use their own circuits for testing again, I shouldn’t think they will mind if they can’t attend Young Driver Tests, but they need to make sure that Charlie knows first then all will be well.

  23. Mal_in_Aus says:

    Right, the umpire has heard the evidence and made the call. The background to the events and the decision is now public. There is no point or benefit in uninformed chatter outside the court. Let all obey the direction handed down and get on with the racing!

  24. David Cooper says:

    All a bit of a storm in a teacup. The issue was stirred up by too many parties with axes to grind. The bottom line is that the test wasn’t booked by Mercedes, so they had to escape serious punishment, and Pirelli is not directly subject to FIA rules/sanctions. So, really there was very little action that the Tribunal could take, other than a rap over the knuckles.

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      Well they did get 1000km of free testing. I reckon I’d have an axe to grind if I was the manager of another team

  25. Quade says:

    It was the FIA’s duty to inform the teams, not Pirelli or Mercs. F1 just looks like a rudderless ship these days.

    Anyways, I predicted that nothing would happen, and so it it has turned out. The shambles rolls on.

  26. Docjkm says:

    White-Wash

  27. David Smith says:

    Here’s the ruling: http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/news/files/(IT-2013-01)-Decision%20(EN).pdf

    Read page 17 and 18. Here’s where the tribunal sets out their thinking. Note: the ‘ban’ on the young driver test is essentially to put all the teams on a level footing in terms of tests run through the year, rather than a punishment per se.

    The reprimand is a technical one – you were in breach even though you tried not to be.

    Their thinking on whether Pirelli is subject to the regulations is also interesting. They’ve done some good work here.

    They don’t actually address whether the article is well written or not, but in lawyer speak (imho) there are some rather pointed words about the FIA’s channels of communication – it wouldn’t have happened if somebody had been clearer about what was OK or not… FIA!

    But isn’t it all embarrassing? This quasi legal stuff is such an obvious hangover from the previous president. Needs to be cleared out in my opinion.

    1. JoeP says:

      “This quasi legal stuff is such an obvious hangover from the previous president.” <— uhhh, it was, after all, a pseudo-legal hearing (in sporting context)! If not quasi-legal, what should it be? pseudo-legal like I said?

  28. Calmo says:

    haha, balls of steel FIA!
    Too scared to lose your precious merc?
    done with F1 for good this time.

    1. Kingszito says:

      I’m glad you did. I bet nobody will notice.

  29. AlexD says:

    Good, so now all teams will know what to do. You run a test with the current car and racing driver to get the benefit…and skip young drivers test. Seems like a super good deal.

  30. MikeS says:

    Knowing the F1 fraternity on blaming someone, I hope Charley Whiting doesn’t become the fall guy, or Ross Brawn.

  31. OscarF1 says:

    Definitely light punishment or rather, no punishment at all.

    + Dad, may I go to the concert?
    - You can go, but only if you first finish your homework and do your chores.

    Coming back from the concert
    - Why didn’t you do your homework and chores??
    + You said I could go to the concert…
    - Ok, but don’t do it again.

    1. JimmiC says:

      Perfect!

    2. Sebee says:

      Nope, this is not at all how it went. It went like this.

      + Dad, may I go to the concert with my new hot girl friend?
      - You can go, but only if you first finish your homework and do your chores.

      Coming back from the concert
      - Why didn’t you do your homework and chores??
      + You said I could go to the concert…
      - Ok, but next time you want to go to the convert with a not so hot girl friend – you can’t because you went with the hot girlfriend.

      *I’m trying to account here for young guys driving vs. WDC/GP winners driving the test with my symbolism for level of skill being “hotness” in your example.

  32. Dan says:

    Why did they need to go to paris for that? Grosean has received worse penalties. What a joke lol.
    Green light for breaking the rules boys!

  33. Anton says:

    Looks like Ross Brawn just secured his place as Team boss next year.

    1. Sebee says:

      Nope. Future FIA President!

      ROSS! ROSS! ROSS!

    2. Bring Back Murray says:

      +1 – he sure does counter Lauda doesn’t he. Its like Ying and Yang

  34. Anne says:

    Ok then, everybody involved violated the law… But it was all in good faith.

    1. Sebee says:

      Coz you gotta have faith-a faith-a faith-a.

      Of course it was done in good faith. Faith in solving Mercedes’ tire problems. I do believe we can quote George W. here when we say “Mission Accomplished”!!

      Hey, Anne, can you place a 5GBP bet for me somewhere that Mercedes won’t have any tire issues in 2014?

      1. Anne says:

        Don´t worry.Remember that next year tests will be allowed. So the other big teams won´t fall behind. The problem is smaller teams because tests are expensive. I would place your bet but I must tell you that it could be Ferrari and not Mercedes that one with no issues of any kind. Ferrari is amazing when it comes to make the most of a test. They are better than anyone else for some reason.

  35. Richard says:

    The surprising thing for me is that the tribunal accepted what Mercedes said rather than simply say this is how it is. I suppose the affair can be looked at two ways. Either it is a very clever bit work by Brawn to get at the nub of their tyre issues with a reprimand being small payment for the knowledge or one accepts what Mercedes and Pirelli have said at face value. Frankly I couldn’t care less so time to move on.

  36. Jota180 says:

    Any result that sees Merc still racing works for me.
    I really couldn’t care less if it’s not fair on other teams (they obviously do, but that’s not my concern), I’m not a fan-boy of any particular driver or team so it just adds to it IMO.
    If Merc have benefited by being more competitive now, that surely just makes it a better show for those of us without a financial interest in F1?
    Right, what’s the next loophole or ambiguous rule that can be exploited? :)

    1. James Allen says:

      That is what F1 is about, looking for loopholes in the rules

      1. Nigel says:

        And it’s not as though other teams (cough, Red Bull…) haven’t used the Charlie Whiting end run around the technical regulations before.

      2. Uh says:

        Give 1 example where RBR did that and were ordered to appear before a tribunal and the verdict was “you cheated but you did it unintentionally”.

      3. Nigel says:

        You miss the point of my comment.
        By protesting this matter, Red Bull have possibly closed the route for informal clarification of the rules by Charlie Whiting on race weekends. All teams have found this useful, but Red Bull have arguably benefitted more than most.
        From now on, if cars are suspected to be illegal (flexi wings, holes in floor etc) teams will likely feel that they have to protest, rather than have a quiet word with Charlie.

      4. James Allen says:

        No, it goes on a the time and it’s how F1 has been run for 20 years

        Especially on the technical side

        This mechanism allows for protest to stewards at a race meeting and leads us to IT if the stewards refer it

      5. David C says:

        We’re all still waiting on that example you don’t have

      6. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

        James – I don’t know if you feel you can answer this this, but do you believe Mercedes / Ross would do it again if they could turn back time?

      7. James Allen says:

        Based on this outcome? Probably

        The drivers wouldn’t wear black helmets though…

      8. greg says:

        I think all laws should be written by a 9 year old, they would only write the rule and not a load of words trying to make themselves look clever.
        How difficult can it be?
        No testing in season with a current or last year car without written permission from the FIA.
        There is no loop hole.

        Simple.

      9. Steve says:

        “That is what F1 is about, looking for loopholes in the rules.”

        Except there was no loophole in this case. They broke the rules, as the Tribunal admitted, and got away with it. A loophole is when you have not actually done anything wrong.

  37. ShaBooPi says:

    This is such a pathetic ruling. How does this break down fairly? Didn’t Mercedes get completely private testing for 3 days with their main drivers while everyone else gets future testing with young drivers? I hope other teams are able to cheat also now. Pathetic.

  38. Andrew Halliday says:

    Briliant. Another Ross Brawn masterstroke!

    1. JoeP says:

      Booyah!

    2. Schnell! schnell! says:

      Indeed, RB has managed to get both permission AND forgiveness!

      I wish I could do half as well!

  39. anarack says:

    Well – looking at it objectively, because there is so much politics and lack of perceived procedures..I think that the FIA yet again show a certain amount of incompetence, while a certain amount of testing will return next year ( which most teams wanted ), Mercedes played their cards well.
    Although, if it was purely down to arguments over legal terminology, then things may have been different and Pirelli are probably the biggest losers in this. I did hear that the FIA tried to cut a deal with Mercedes before the Trial, which to me sounds underhanded. But that’s the way the big money is I’m afraid. Now lets seem some racing..

  40. Steve says:

    Just when you think F1 can’t become any more of a joke, it goes and proves you wrong.

  41. Gareth says:

    That was NOT a punishment. Therefore in the interest of fairness will all teams please now test until your blue in the face, lets do traction control again, maybe even the infamous Brabham fan. Ross Brawn once again has pulled a fast one.

    1. JoeP says:

      Hyperbole much?

  42. Richard says:

    What interests me is the apparent lack of punishment for Mercedes failing to inform the other teams about the test. That to me was the bigger offence as without that, according to the guidance from Charlie, they weren’t allowed to use the 2013 car. Therefore they knew they were testing illegally and not in ‘good faith’ as the FIA put it. James, am I missing something?

  43. kakkio says:

    They traded 3 days of tests with rookies for a test with world class drivers.
    that is great deal.
    Needless to say Brawn edged his bet very carefully and won.

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      He’s basically laughing at everybody right about now!

  44. Raikko says:

    Interestingly, the tribunal skims over the core ambiguity in regulation 22 of who actually ‘undertook’ the test.

    “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]”

    This was central to Mercedes’ argument. By not clearly defining what is meant by ‘undertaking a test’ the IT’s conclusions are weakened. The fundings of the tribunal flow directly from 40. i) stating that
    “by running its car(s) in the course of the testing, Mercedes acted in
    breach of Article 22.4 h) SR”
    They do not qualify this statement.

  45. S2K says:

    This is a joke indeed. Not that I wanted Mercedes punished in any way but there was too much noise for nothing!

    But then the FIA was very kind with McLaren a few years ago in the Spygate, so in a way I am not surprised.

    1. S2K says:

      James, here is an idea for an article… How the FIA International Tribunal judged various cases during the (recent) F1 history. I can only remember Benetton 1994, Schumacher 1997 and McLaren on Spygate few years ago but I am sure there were many others. Perhaps, even contrast these with the heavy suspension (i.e. exclusion) of Toyota from WRC back in 1995.

      1. James Allen says:

        This is the first time it has sat. It’s a new body

  46. Lee says:

    It’s been a very testing time for Merc and Pirelli, 3 days to be precise. You’re welcome :-)

  47. madmax says:

    So Mercedes break the rules then suggest the punishment and the suggested punishment is given them.

    Yep the new tribunal process has really been an amazing success.

    1. Elie says:

      Exactly what I thought

  48. Joel says:

    I doubt Paddy will be able to pull off such a stunt like what Ross did. He will be missed when he leaves…

  49. Graham says:

    Seems a bit harsh to me, the tyres weren’t this years. MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS are not going to win this years title or even come close and they have the car that punishes the tyres the most.perfect to test the problematic rubber of pirelli . This year the FIA has crossed the line between making exciting racing and helping some teams more than others.

  50. David Ryan says:

    The verdict seems best summed up as Mercedes and Pirelli being found guilty of a technical breach of the regulations but not much else. In the circumstances I’d say they’ve gotten off pretty lightly, but having read the IT’s judgment I can see why they’ve reached the conclusions they did and I certainly respect the decision they made. I would perhaps have been inclined to include a fine as well as a reprimand, but given the costs of the legal representation and investigation I suspect that’s probably enough financial penalty in itself…

    One thing that does confuse me is why, having said that it was unable to express an opinion on the Ferrari test, the IT then expresses the opinion that “it would appear to be equally unsatisfactory that this consent was also given by Charlie Whiting”. I appreciate that they mention the test in their conclusions as it was raised in submissions by Mercedes. However, as it’s not actually relevant to whether Mercedes and Pirelli were in breach themselves, I would have thought they could have simply said “The Tribunal is unable to express any opinion…as no evidence has been submitted which points to any breach of the regulations” or such like.

    1. Quade says:

      I’m not a lawyer, but it seems precedence was set by Ferrari when they broke the tyre testing rules by going well beyond the legal distance limit. It would seem that the tribunal was hinting at a pattern of sham behaviour from Charlie Whiting.

      1. Anne says:

        I don´t know if you mean the De La Rosa test or the Massa test. But I do know this, neither RB nor other teams complaint about it. I guess those teams don´t have reasons to believe Ferrari did something wrong.

      2. Quade says:

        I’m talking about the secret test Massa did that was mentioned at the tribunal to show the FIA’s double standards. The political dynamic in the paddock is; Ferrari = FIA, Bernie = Red Bull (or anyone not Ferrari).

        While the rules stipulate that a tyre test should go a maximum of 1000km; Ferrari ran not just “significantly” more than 1000km, but their tyre department exchanged several damaging emails with Pirelli after it.

        For some reason, Red Bull is wary of Merc, I don’t know why (maybe its their pole positions). Its that fear that made them report the matter and Horner appear in person (when other teams sent lawyers); perhaps he thinks three is a crowd.

        There is a seven day period whithin which Ferrari and Red Bull can appeal. I do not expect them to do so, because they have more to hide.

        Have you seen this? Its the latest scandal that brewing up:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxig8iM7jDU&feature=youtu.be

      3. David Ryan says:

        There’s certainly been an allegation that they broke the 1000km limit, no question – but unless there was something provided in the testimony which demonstrated that they had in fact done so, it’s an allegation only. The tribunal isn’t there to speculate on allegations – its role, like any other tribunal, is to decide on the evidence presented to it. That no further opinion on the matter was expressed suggests they did not have such evidence, which is why I find it strange that they then chose to make a comment on one aspect of it. Either they had sufficient evidence to make a ruling on the whole test, or they didn’t. This is what, as a student lawyer, I don’t really understand about the judgment. It’s an odd moment of innuendo in an otherwise straightforward list of conclusions.

  51. C Lin says:

    FIA is a joke!

    The sly old fox got away with it lol!

  52. Irish con says:

    Should have known better to think I doubted Ross would of got away with it was stupid. Ross is one crafty man. Bends the rules for a big gain for a small punishment. That’s why Ross has won so much I guess.

  53. Random 79 says:

    Looks like I was wrong about the penalty, seems they got the exact slap on the wrist they were looking for all along.

    So, to sum up:

    They asked for (and got) permission.
    They had good intentions.
    They were just looking to help out.

    The outcome?

    Mercedes get a free test, and Brawn retains his rep as an extremely clever operator.

    Ross will sleep well tonight :)

    Maybe the IT should hire some kangaroos?

    1. Sebee says:

      brawn – noun

      1.Physical strength in contrast to intelligence.
      2.Meat from a pig’s or calf’s head that is cooked and pressed in a pot with jelly.

      Did Ross just claim ignorance and use muscle (Mercedes will pull-out) on the FIA? Did he also feed us some head cheese? It would appear the definition is spot on.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Interesting, but I don’t think too many people would say that Ross is in contrast to intelligence – just the opposite :)

  54. Veteran says:

    Punishing young drivers… Way to go FIA. Way to go. What a shame. I would love to filter between the hamilton fanboys, who are happy and get the real opinions of people.
    Another sad day of F1.

    1. Quade says:

      So Merc equates to Hamilton? Lol!

    2. Kingszito says:

      I can’t really understand why some people are blaming Hamilton and his fans for this testgate and FIA verdict. I am not a fan of many drivers, but I honestly do not hate any of them. Some comments on here against Hamilton is unfair. You could count many comments made by Rosberg regarding to this testgate, but Hamilton made little or no comment about this yet it’s all about him

  55. Mikeboy0001 says:

    Well, I’m glad that this was solved in a “follow the book” manner by the tribunal, rather than the personal view point like in the Max Mosley’s years. The penalty is coherent, just and makes what everyone was making out as a scandal, into a simple thing
    You see, throughout all F1 history, an F1 car design always tried to find loopholes in the rules to get something the others didn’t, and this was done by interpreting the written rules. Considering this, why should any other rules involving the sport, be any different?
    If this wasn’t carried out by an independent tribunal, I’m sure Mercedes would have got a penalty similar to Mclaren, a few years go, as it would be based more on personal views and pressure from teams, than from facts itself
    People talk about spirit of the rules only when it suits them. F1 teams are all Prima Donna’s, and I hope this gives them an wake up call, that there’s a higher power surveilling them, one that won’t follow prejudice or agendas, but the rules in a clear manner
    Well done tribunal

  56. Phil says:

    As said on the BBC article, I think the fact that this is a bit of a non-punishment plus the fact that they have agreed to split the legal costs 3 ways (between Merc, Pirelli and FIA) suggests that they were all in the wrong to an extent.

    1. Phil says:

      Clearly the rules state that testing with a current car is not allowed. Both Merc and Pirelli knew this so why even ask the question of the FIA?

      Equally, having been asked, why did Whiting give an answer that even suggested it might be permissible?

      Rules are rules. You can’t break them just because ‘Charlie said it might be OK’.

  57. Charalampos says:

    Ross and his lawyers were smarter and better prepared than everyone there. It is that simple and this is why they got away. Moreover I have to admit that the final tribunal ruling will piss Ferrari and RBR in a very funny way so I have no time to waste on thinking how Mercedes gained an advantage. I will focus my energy on what will be a positive laugh from all the pissed faces at Ferrari and RBR.

  58. Stephen Taylor says:

    Can the the FIA appeal?

    1. Sebee says:

      Can RBR appeal? :-)

  59. shri says:

    Let us go back racing Circus..Court Circus is over. No loss for Mercedes at all.

  60. Adam (Mr F1) Coe says:

    Im not a Mercedes fan, but this ruling is fair. We couldn’t have expected a harsher punishment this far into the season. Instead of being negative towards it, let’s look at the positives that came from it.
    Testing is back next year
    Mercedes can’t participate in the young drivers test and the belt around testing had been tightened. Job done. Bring on Silverstone

  61. Quade says:

    I find it intriguing that Lewis made a ststement to the tribunal, but Nico didn’t. I wonder if it was because of the interesting interview Nico had or just other team dynamics?

    Here’s the relevant quote from the tribunals judgement:

    “The submissions made by Mercedes in its Response and amplified on its behalf
    by: (i) oral arguments in the course of the hearing and; (ii) the statements of
    Andrew Sholvin, Ron Meadows, Jason Button, Lewis Hamilton and by the
    written statement and oral evidence of Ross Brawn, can be summarised, in
    essence, as follows:”

    http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/news/files/(IT-2013-01)-Decision%20(EN).pdf

    1. Dren says:

      It was to relieve himself of the guilt from not giving a statement to his dear old pal driving the Force India car.

  62. Gabe says:

    Sanity prevailed, thank goodness.

  63. Dutch Johnny says:

    Disgusted with this outcome… and even worse they punish the driver(Sam Bird no test for him) ho hasen’t done anything wrong…

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      he’s taken one for the team

  64. Twiinzspeed says:

    If I were Ferrari or Red Bull, I would be scheduling a 3 day private test ASAP. Trading off the YDT with a bunch of cars on track is a good trade.Especially if you can use your race drivers who know the car much better.

    1. JoeP says:

      “If I were Ferrari or Red Bull, I would be scheduling a 3 day private test ASAP.” <—- b/c apparently you actually support and encourage cheating, unlike Mercedes and Pirelli.

      And who would supply the tires to the illegal tests you're so hot to hold?

      Pffft.

      1. Twiinzspeed says:

        By not putting any real sanctions on Mercedes the FIA has merely established the cost of a 3 day test is not attending the YDT at seasons end. If the FIA actually had some stones, they would have made it clear that breaking the rules will not be tolerated. Therefore: my comment is meant to show that the teams can get away with testing with little consequence.
        I personally think the FIA has proven their rules have no teeth. Not quite sure why my opinion tweeked ya.

      2. Me says:

        Makes absolutely perfect sense…

  65. Paul Mc says:

    I would be very suprised if Pirelli remain in the sport much longer. Really interested to hear their reaction.

  66. David Curtis says:

    I think Merc got off very lightly but its done now so time to move on, the only thig I would suggest is that that at the upcoming Young driver test the other teams be allowed to run their race drivers. It would make the punishment a little harder on Merc who have been found Guilty and make sure any advantage Merc gained is wiped out.

    1. Twiinzspeed says:

      That would make the “penalty” a little more real. As it stands, the slap on the wrist Mercedes received is a bit of a joke.

  67. Zombie says:

    FIA could have added 10 place grid penalty for both cars for the next 10 races. I think Ferrari and RBR should test in earnest since the punishment for tests is being let go with a warning.

    1. Tim says:

      There is a slight snag with you plan .
      What tyres would they use?
      Can’t see Pirelli getting involved in anything even slightly dodgy in the foreseeable :-)

  68. AuraF1 says:

    This is eminently sensible. If the tribunal had come down hard on Mercedes there would have been an uproar about Ferrari’s tests held at their expense, breaking the 1000km limit, using racing drivers and having test sheets to use set up changes and new parts on the car.

    They broke the rules. The plan for tests with RBR and McLaren in future were already being discussed, Horner hasn’t denied it and McLaren have kept very quiet on the matter in public.

    All this twaddle about helmets is a bit like the Snowden NSA leaks story being about his girlfriend pole dancing. It’s just tabloid junk to avoid the real story.

    The real story being the FIA testing out it’s new independent court system, hiding the favourable treatment of Ferrari (still), taking potshots at Bernie’s tyre supplier since they got tweaked at their choice of Michelin and because the FIA has more decision making powers given the lack of a finalised Concorde agreement.

    Untwist Knickers everyone and get back to racing cars. Red Bull are still going to win the championships and Horner can stop his teary eyed (and very authentic) portrayal of the wounded man now.

    1. JoeP says:

      “All this twaddle about helmets is a bit like the Snowden NSA leaks story being about his girlfriend pole dancing. It’s just tabloid junk to avoid the real story.” <—– I like your commenting style, and will keep an eye on you, boy.

      Recommend that you comment more prolifically!

    2. Sebee says:

      What twaddle about helmets do you speak of?

      The twaddle where Lewis and Nico wore black helmets to ensure their safety so they don’t get mugged by ribid fans due to lack of security? The same lack of security that ensured no one was allowed near the gates or to even to loiter by the circuit streets? The same lack of security that meant pics could only be taken by military drones and from mountain spy outposts? Twaddle indeed.

      Do they call it twaddle in Miami, where Lewis was during the test thanks to the Mercedes AMG F1 Teleporter? Mr. Brawn, energize. :-)

      1. Random 79 says:

        If I had had my way Sebee, you would have been part of the IT.

        I would have loved to have seen Ross’ answer to that :)

      2. Me says:

        Agree…

      3. Tim says:

        He did answer that question during the Team Principal press conference at Montreal. The picture was taken the week before, or whenever, and then posted on Twitter during the Barcelona test. No mention of dates etc were made on Lewis Twitter post. Predictably, however, everyone jumped to the conclusion that he was there at the time the post was done. Now the real question is, who’s idea was that? No disrespect, but Lewis ain’t that smart. So either someone asked him to do it or it was the most extraordinary coincidence…..

      4. Sebee says:

        I would have gotten Tazzered and dragged out of there old-school style!

      5. Random 79 says:

        @Sebee

        The entertainment never ends :)

    3. Bring Back Murray says:

      That’s an interesting point. If the penalty had been harsher, Merc would have really gone for Ferrari.

  69. Glennb says:

    Now we can all get some sleep. Bring on Silverstone!

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      Sweeping fast flowing corners… does that mean the tyres are going to mush again?

  70. Nick says:

    What makes me laugh about all these FIA proceedings is the quasi-judicial spin they put on it. Because they use judges and lawyers there’s an implication it’s some sort of legitimate legal process, but of course it’s not. The teams are just being judged against the rules of a sporting organisation, not any real laws. Any other sporting organisation would just have a meeting at its HQ but the FIA dresses it up like some sort of real court case at a fancy building. What a joke.

    1. JoeP says:

      Obviously you know nothing about elite sport then, because nearly every league and international federation (for an Olympic movement sport, not just motoracing) uses a quasi-judicial process to resolve disputes and sanction or exonerate. And anti-doping tribunals are even more like a “real court case” even though they’re qualified arbitration.

  71. jpinx says:

    The result was a predictable fudge, but the best entertainment is the virtiolic reaction. Mercedes don’t give tuppence for their fans beyond the ones who buy the roadcars. Ross Brawn has again seen an opening and gone for it. It’ll be interesting to see how the other “leaders” in Mercedes try to position themselves. I can see something about “I always knew it was ok” coming from Lauda and the other guy whose name escapes me because he is so insignificnt. ;)

    1. Tim says:

      The result was a predictable fudge, but the best entertainment is the vitriolic reaction…

      +1
      Some posters are so bitter they are taking 4 sugars in their tea :-)

  72. EmPi says:

    Shame, shame, shame, on FIA.

    1. Uh says:

      They did not cheat, Mercedes did. So shame on Mercedes.

      1. EmPi says:

        Shame on FIA. Who else should punish cheating? FIA asked to ordinary judges non to judge, beacuse the main guilty, is just FIA.

  73. Zombie says:

    Elsewhere in the “sane” motoring world, Motogp teams are setting the Aragon racing track ablaze testing both the 2013 and 2014 machines.And they’ll continue to have “morning after the race” tests at 3 venues next season, with additional tests in the middle of the season controlled by FIM, and more tests in November, Feb and March.

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      No person in his right mind understands why this is not the way it works in F1. They are talking about it though, so there is hope.

  74. Paul says:

    And I wonder how many races it will be before Merc are winning races with low tyre deg

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      It’s not as if Merc will work the tyres better than Ferrari or Lotus. If they win again- and that’s a very big if- than it will be due to the car’s speed and not it’s ‘superior’ tyre management.

    2. Tim says:

      For goodness sake, how many thousands and thousands of kilometres have Mercedes run their cars, over the course of several seasons, without sorting their tyre problems?
      Yet 3 days testing and, miraculously, they will have sorted everything!
      If only it were that easy.

  75. Hudson says:

    I read the full judgement posted on F1.com website and I must say I wasn’t impressed by some basic errors in it. For example on par. 36 they refer to i) the statements of Andrew Sholvin, Ron Meadows, Jason Button, and Lewis Hamilton. I am sure they wanted to type Jenson, but actually meant Nico Rosberg. Unless there is a Jason Button in Mercedes team!

    1. Random 79 says:

      Button’s a fairly common surname – are you that certain there wasn’t a Jason Button involved somewhere in the proceedings?

      Regardless, that’s one – what would be some of the other errors you might have discovered?

  76. Tom in adelaide says:

    Pirelli have been burnt so very badly by Formula 1. They must regret the day they signed up….

  77. Paul C says:

    About the right decision I think. Though gotta say if the team in the dock had been McLaren and Mosley still FIA president. McLaren would have been thrown out the sport probably. I do have more confidence in the system now Mosley’s not involved!
    Your thoughts James?

    1. James Allen says:

      The Tribunal process seems to have a general thumbs up. It’s important that it’s seen to be independent

    2. Spyros says:

      While I whole-heartedly agree, somehow I think that the whole ‘tyres-that-can’t-be-tested’ saga would simply NOT have been allowed to exist, under the iron fist of Mr Mosley…

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Mosley invented that scenario! Do you forget so soon??

      2. Spyros says:

        At the time the unused Toyota was available, so having a suitable car to test tyres with, didn’t seem like a potential problem.

        Oh my God, am I defending Mosley? What’s wrong with me??

      3. AuraF1 says:

        Ha ha – I have found myself defending Mosley once or twice and then having to look myself in the mirror!

        The problem with the Toyota as a solution was it would not withstand the rules changes the sport was anticipating. But then short term thinking has been an F1 mantra for decades now…

  78. Peter Bakalor says:

    Think of the consequences if the verdict had been any different – how would Mercedes Corporate, or Pirelli have reacted to some significant penalty? Not in a way that would be good for Formula 1.

    In essence, they will now tighten the rules and this “trick” if that’s what it was, won’t be able to be pulled again.

    Lets move on.

  79. CarlH says:

    That’s it!?

    Ferrari, Red Bull….. start your engines.

    1. Twiinzspeed says:

      I said the same earlier in the post. The FIA has done 2 things with this verdict. Established that the cost of testing is to miss the YDT and that their rules have no teeth. The only positive from all this is that just maybe we will get some real testing back It is insane that the most advanced race cars on the planet can not test them.

  80. Andy Davies says:

    If you want to look at the real verdict look at how the costs were shared – equally between Mercedes, Pirelli and the FIA.

    This suggest that the panel see the FIA as part of the problem too.

  81. Agent Orange says:

    FIA appear to be stating with the ruling their procedures for teams seeking approval are not clearly defined.

    Personally it seems a light punishment as whilst Mercedes had acted in good faith and had not intended to break the rules the fact remains they did.

    A suspended sentence of a one race ban for the team would appear a more suitable.

  82. Mohammed Al-Momen says:

    Glad this is over. Lets move on people, got sick of reading about this everywhere. This is not what F1 is about.

  83. gregmon says:

    Very happy for the verdict! Ross Brawn is a genius! Now we’d like to focus on F1 and enjoy the spectacle! Go Lewis and Nico, and the Mercedes W04 car ;-)
    Fan wit a huge relief!

    1. Uh says:

      They said your team cheated and benefited from cheating and you are happy with that?

      Lol.

      1. Joel says:

        “They said your team cheated and benefited from cheating and you are happy with that?”

        This statement can be applied to all of the top teams atleast. For once, we are happy that it’s not Ferrari or Newey’s deception that always bends the rules and get away.

      2. H says:

        When were RBR asked to appear before the tribunal and were found guilty of breaching the rules?

        Right, never. They did not cheat or they would have been in the seat Mercedes was yesterday.

        Fact is Mercedes cheated, they got caught, they used laywer talk to hide th fact they cheated, they were found guilty of cheating, they got a light punishment because of politics.

        If it had been proper punishments, meaning WCC points taken away and a huge fine for Mercedes and Pirelli for breaching the sporting rules, they would have left. Meanign gone are the Merc engines, gone are the tyres, gone are Hamilton and Rosberg.

        It was sabotage and blackmail tactics.

      3. gregmon says:

        @Joel. If Mercedes fan, glad to meet and cheer with you mate ;-)
        Finally we can think about Silverstone!

      4. Joel says:

        @H, if you think RBR never cheated, you are too Naive. Let me tell you how Newey works. He interprets the rules and bends it in his own benefit and never ask Charlie whether it is legal or not. When other teams find out and complain, then Charlie would deem it illegal and RBR will duly remove it for the next race, having gained from it while they had it. However, by then it is time for Newey’s next magic and the cycle continues.

      5. gregmon says:

        @Uh: Yes I am glad it’s over as said in my first post. I don’t encourage ‘cheating’ but we have to take what we have sometimes!
        I bet Ferrari (fans)are still happy after the 2000-2004 titles won when Ross Brawn was there…
        This man knows his job very well apparently, so I hope Mercedes AMG will win fair and square in the next future.
        Double Lol.

      6. AuraF1 says:

        As Brawn said to Ferraris lawyer during the double diffuser scandal in that tribunal – ‘remember, I know exactly how Ferrari pushed the rules we can bring that up if you want?’

        Brawn knows Ferrari have been treated leniently in the past (from first hand experience!)

        Christian Horner has said many times that the RBR passes the tests on the day and the rules are meant to be pushed. We all know that the red bull has broken the ‘spirit’ of the rules many times with its flexi wings but the FIA load tests were inadequate to prevent it. It’s fair enough. Mercedes broke the rules but in the same manner the test of it was not up to catching them out. The FIA system was inadequate to the task.

        Time to move on.

  84. Brendan says:

    Once again, Charlie Whiting’s inability to actually make a correct and binding decision comes back to haunt F1. Same as double-deck diffuser, same as mass-damper, same as f-ducts.

    Time after time after time.

    Either Charlie’s decision is the final decision*, or the teams don’t bother asking him for the FIA’s position.

    * At which point on sporting matters all other teams are informed. While on technical matters, it can stay private unless it is a safety issue or the team asks Charlie to inform the others.

    1. Phil Glass says:

      In fairness, Charlie W can’t be solely held responsible for F1 governance and its malaise.

  85. Good Faith says:

    “(v) 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.”

    They can’t be serious? A team with world class engineers around the car gets only a “potential advantage”, offence worth…suspended young driver test. Tough indeed.

    But the most interesting is indeed the issue of “permission”. Curious to hear, what was actually said by mr Whiting. To be honest, I don’t understand, how powerful this man really is and what is his job. Can he really give thumbs up or down to things clearly written in the rules?

  86. Richardd says:

    It seems emotions are running quite high here so far, we had red bull officials and other competitors also suggesting the type of punishment for Mercedes, so why can’t their own lawyer suggest it? What gives anybody else the right when they are not judges but really trying to ‘influence’. I believe ALL parties are guilty and so does the international tribunal

  87. KARTRACE says:

    FIA and its different bodies are turning into a flying circus

  88. Nando says:

    The verdict hints that parts of the FIA to blame, it should bring about a change in procedures.
    Mercedes shouldn’t be held responsible for procedural failings that were the prerogative
    of Pirelli.

    In retrospect they did something wrong but ultimately the loss of a 3-day test run by the team more than mitigates any potential sporting advantage that they could of gained from a test run by Pirelli.

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      You sir, have common sense

    2. Random 79 says:

      Agree with the first part, but

      ‘The loss of a 3-day test run by the team more than mitigates any potential sporting advantage that they could of gained from a test run by Pirelli’

      A test run at the end of the of the year with a 2013 car and a young driver is peanuts compared to a three day test with your two main drivers at this time of year.

      Considering the fundamental changes for 2014 and the timing of the YDT, they’ll be little to no benefit for next year, whereas it’s been acknowledged that they will have benefited to a degree from the Pirelli test – a benefit that is relevant this year.

      The loss of the YDT is a slap on the wrist, nothing more.

      1. Nando says:

        The Silverstone YDT they’re excluded from is being run next month.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Fair point

  89. Jon Read says:

    Im going to throw my hat for Todt’s job when he leaves the FIA, im sure i could not do a worse job than him, come to think about it, im sure my 12 year old son would be better.
    Im not interested in Mercedes getting punished severly, but a race ban would have been a better punishment, even just for for 1 race. It just makes you laugh that Mercedes said a fair punishment would be a ban on the ydt and that’s exactly what they got.

    So now we have a scenario where a team breaks the rules, say they have’nt, oh, perhaps we have, ok, we have, and this is the punishment we will take for breaking the rules.

    What was the pont of the tribunal!!!, more importantly, what is the point of the FIA!!

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      The whole point of the tribunal is to have an independent body rule over this type of cases. You should be glad Todt- and apparently all the political heavyweights- seem to not have control over this tribunal.

  90. Scuderia McLaren says:

    Well Ross Brawn was right to tell Lauda not to take a deal and to take chances in court. He knew it. He just knew it. He found an accidental gem and ran with it after lucking into the right answer from poor ol Charlie. Plausible deniability. It was written all over his face in Canada. He had em stitched up. Rightly or wrongly, my already high respect for Brawn at winning such wrangles has increased. Wolf sided with Brawn very wisely. Lauda looks like a fool again having been distancing himself from the eventual winners. They simply swapped a 3-Day YDT for a proper 3-Day test with good drivers at a more opportune time in the season. Truly LMFAO.

    1. JoeP says:

      “Lauda looks like a fool again having been distancing himself from the eventual winners.” <—– THIS!

      (though I disagree that a 3-day Pirelli tyre test is more valuable than a 3-day YDT w/ unrestricted mods to the car and full data collection and analysis. data is data, regardless of whether it's Hamilton, Bird or even me behind the wheel (assuming I can do consistent lap times).)

    2. Dan says:

      So true. Im still LMFAO.

    3. Random 79 says:

      I have to admit, I doubted that Ross was going to squeeze his way out of this one.

      If I ever have to go to court for anything, Ross is the man I want representing me…if only I could afford his services ;)

    4. gregmon says:

      @Scuderia McLaren +10 Woah! I like your comment. I feel like today Brawn showed them once agin why he’s won so much 14WCC ?! Horner with his 3 WCC got spanked today, like ‘you ain’t see nothing kid’

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Lol. So true re: Horner comment. He isn’t talking much now is he.

  91. Andrew Carter says:

    Seems fair to me, they had a private 3 day test, now they wont be allowed to join everybody else at their 3 day test. Balance restored.

    More importantly this does show just how badly set out the rules and their enforcement are. For at least 10 years now testing has effectively been policed by the teams, it’s a surprise something like this hasn’t come up before.

  92. Michael says:

    A sensible, common sense decision
    with a degree of misunderstanding…lessons to be learnt…

  93. Mike says:

    There you go James…exactly what I said would happen.

    A slap on the wrists for all concerned and hence everyone wins. Pirelli & Mercedes remain in the sport and all teams have in-season testing next year and Bernie and F1 got loads of media attention and column inches in what would have been a slow month.

    This was perfectly staged and planned to achieve exactly that. Job done! Can we all get on with our lives now?

    1. James Allen says:

      What’s the plan for August?

      1. JoeP says:

        lol.

        James, your below-the-line commentary is always hilarious. Well done.

  94. paul rodriguez says:

    It had to end like this. F1 cannot afford to lose Mercedes with the new regulations for 2014. Blackmail, pure and simple.

    1. JoeP says:

      hyperbole/overdramatize much?

  95. luqa says:

    The precedent has been set: Any other team should now have the same opportunity to conduct a 3 day tire test with the knowledge their punishment will only result in being banned from the Young Drivers Test. Any other sanction would clearly show to the world the FIA IT to play favouritism.
    But that’s exactly what it is, an old boys club playing favourites- in this case to MB.
    If Caterham or RBR had pulled a similar stunt they would have had the book thrown at them and rightly so.
    With such obvious favouritism by the so called impartial why would anyone STILL want to spend hundreds of millions of Euros/Dollars/Pounds to field a team when whenever they become too successful drastic legal or illegal measures are taken to ensure the old boys club remains on top and in control. Good thing I don’t own a F1 team!
    AS the Commercial rights Rep Bernie can’t be too happy with this verdict either, because it shows the the FIA IT tribunal up for what it actually is: Mickey Mouse Kangaroo- Court. And in this day and age- give me a break!!

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      Well, the ruling is pretty clear. Mercedes acted on ‘good faith’. Good luck proving good faith after conducting a test on your own..

      Also, the ‘Charlie said we could do it-door’ has been closed by the tribunal, no team will be able to claim good faith anymore while in the same situation as Mercedes.

      1. KRB says:

        But what are the steps that teams need to take, in order to conduct a test? The FIA needs to hammer that out.

      2. Alexander Supertramp says:

        Basically, the Ferrari test is the precedent. You can still only “test” for Pirelli, with a car old enough in order not to breach this year’s regulations. AND you can use actual grid drivers.
        But the big question is now: if Pirelli ask for help and numerous teams want to help, which team do you pick? Were other teams asked for help when Pirelli used Ferrari? They did this twice, I’m still not convinced Ferrari is not dirty as well in this story. You should note that ‘giving all teams a chance to help’ was a big criterion to be allowed to test is the first place. Did that happen with the Ferrari tests??

      3. KRB says:

        That as a precedent is not good enough. The test should be booked by Pirelli, not the team (if it’s a test initiated by Pirelli that is). But any test should be known by the FIA long before it happens, and the test should be communicated to the public thru the FIA website, BEFORE it happens.

        That’s what should happen, and that’s what should’ve been the case all along.

  96. MR says:

    Well at least now the other teams know that if they flagrantly breach the rules and try an cover it up nothing will happen. F1 needs to get its act together otherwise it will lose TV viewers…………

    1. Tim says:

      Surely they can only flagrantly breach the rules if Charlie Whiting says it’s ok. I can’t imagine he will be getting caught like that again anytime soon :-)

  97. Peter says:

    Testing with the race drivers instead of young guys was still an advantage to Mercedes I believe. So, not a firm punishment. It was politically influenced by the fact that Mercedes would potentially quit F1.

    1. Tim says:

      It was politically influenced by the fact that Mercedes would potentially quit F1..

      Do you not think the IT decision might have been influenced, just a bit, by the fact that Mercedes checked with Charlie Whiting (twice)if it was ok to use a 2013 car and were given the green light?
      I think they call it mitigating circumstances :-)

  98. Paul D says:

    The only winner from all this is the lawyers!
    $$$$

    1. Random 79 says:

      Whenever things go pear shaped, the lawyers always win.

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        They are the only ones able to afford a Silverstone ticket!

  99. simon says:

    Seems to be appropriate to me, you cant get away from the fact that there are mitigating circumstances with the case, Charlie Whiting and the FIA legal guy giving supposedly an ok in principle as long as the other teams are given the same offer, the limited data that Mercedes could actually use fom the test,and other revalations that came out in the hearing.A previous comment suggested that Mercedes would benefit more from this tyre test where the car would have to remain in the same set up for any comparisons to be made on the tyres, than the young driver test where the team runs the test and can test new parts and set ups is a little bit wide of the mark. Lets not forget the young drivers are young but experienced racers, and the teams will gain a lot of useful data from the tests which will make Mercedes suffer when they miss it.
    On the whole i think it’s the best outcome for everybody involved, Mercedes have been punished, it may not be to everybody’s wishes and i’m sure more than a few people will complain that its not enough, but hopefully we can now move on and get back to racing.

  100. Michael S says:

    This was highly political as usual and Ross Brawn is the brightest political mind in F1. Bargeboard at Ferrari, but Bernie was dying for them to win again so the FIA let it slide and Ross knew they would. Double diffuser at Bran when Max and Bernie wanted to split FOTA so Ross knew other teams would/could not complain. Now this test at a time when Ross knew F1 did not want to lose Mercedes.

  101. quattro says:

    I was expecting this as I stated in a post weeks ago, but was still hoping to be wrong. I was not – it is after all F1.

    FIA basically declares the sporting rules as a joke, and itself the biggest joke of them all. This is not a sport anymore – it is pure business ruled by business politics.

    The only reason I am still watching this so called sport every other week is ALO. The day he quits, I will flush F1 where it belongs – into the toilette.

    As for Merc – I will be doing my part in punishing them the next time I am buying a new car. Lets see how Mr Brown and his top lawyers will stop that.

    1. Quade says:

      I take it you drive a Merc. :)

    2. Tim says:

      Lets see how Mr Brown and his top lawyers will stop that…

      Who is Mr Brown?

  102. rob says:

    JA, Do you take Merc’s position seriously? Why would they do it if it was not to their advantage? That aside, seems from your words that they got a firm “maybe,” and carried on like they got a firm “yes.”

    1. James Allen says:

      Well that’s their position and they got away with a light sanction. So you have to take that seriously

  103. jay dee says:

    If teams want to test let them test. Sic of all the belly aching over tyers. It spoiling the season.

  104. Oz Geezza says:

    Here is my two bob worth.
    Today decission by IT in regard to breaking of
    sporting rules by Mercedes and to some extend
    by Perelli has set in stone the( Precedent)
    whereby in season testing by a current spect
    car with its drivers, the maximun penalty that
    shall apply is suspenssion of young drivers
    test debut,thus may we say the end of in
    season testing restrictions.
    Ferrari should invite their ex-employee namly
    Ross Brown to a big launch for initiate such
    event,as them, The Ferrari unquestionably is
    the beneficiary of today decision.One feels
    the testing will began shortly on their two
    fully own traks Fiorano and one of the finest
    Mudgelo,should the FIA impose stricter penalty
    it can’t be greater than the penalty given by
    IT to Mercedes, or alternatively the Ferrari
    may say to FIA who you want in F1?,Mercedes
    and Charlie Whiting or Ferrari.

  105. Joshua says:

    James,

    Thanks for the article and the facts. Can I ask, what is your opinion of the Tribunal and the ruling?

    If you had been judge, jury and executioner, what would you have done?

    1. Joshua says:

      Also, please can you get some guests and discuss this in the next podcast…Can’t wait

    2. James Allen says:

      I always saw this as a really tough one and it came down to a question of good faith or not. That’s what it turned on in the end. The IT accepted that Mercedes sought approval in the time honoured way – via Charlie – and felt they had it. Although it’s stretching it a bit given what then transpired. They pushed their luck but Brawn had his bases covered and they got away with it because the IT couldn’t really do anything else.

      But there’s no doubt that you cannot test an F1 car during the season.

      It’s interesting that RBR went to great lengths to get Mercedes a big penalty and it’s interesting that Ferrari protested given that they had conducted tests without transparency, one of them the week before Spanish GP, at Barcelona with Massa!!

      1. Irish con says:

        Did massa not test in 2012 for Ferrari and not this year and pedro de la rosa this year?

      2. Joel says:

        Heard Massa was present during testing, not sure whether he drove or not. May be Alonso din’t show up for the test as he may have been busy on the simulator Ferrari had installed in his house.

      3. JoeP says:

        ” It’s interesting that RBR went to great lengths to get Mercedes a big penalty and it’s interesting that Ferrari protested given that they had conducted tests without transparency, one of them the week before Spanish GP, at Barcelona with Massa!!” <—– THIS!!!

      4. F12012 says:

        The Ferrari did look like it was on another planet in terms of race pace at the Spanish GP

        I was surprised that Horner went to the tribunal given that Red bull has always pushed to the limit of the rules, plus its not as if Mercedes are going to a win the championship this year anyway

        The fact of the matter is all the big teams play the game and Mercedes has now joined the party

        Ross Brawn really is one cool customer, he never seems to get excited about anything

      5. Joel says:

        You are absolutely right. I think Ferrari got more benefit from its test than Mercedes as evidenced from the huge upgrade brought in by PDR and also by the fact that Ferrari won the very next GP that followed their test by a very wide margin when no one expected them to be so competitive.

      6. Hansb says:

        Maybe they did benefit from that test big time…. but that is not what this is all about.
        The question is: Was that test legal or not. All other fuzz is not of interest in this matter.

      7. Anne says:

        James, your friend the horse whisperer seems to have an answer for everything. He is also talking about bad calls in football. Hint: It´s not exactly about Italy. LOL!!!

        http://formula1.ferrari.com/news/horse-whisperer-crime-punishment-but-light-one

      8. H.Guderian says:

        Good faith with BLACK HELMETS???? Huummm…

  106. darren w says:

    This should go some way to building confidence in the FIA’s International Tribunal.

    The outcome, given the details presented by the parties, seems balanced and fair. It has been depressing, if unsurprising, how so much of the coverage and commentary on this issue failed to be either.

    As far as Pirelli goes, this whole episode highlights the need for contracts with the sports suppliers which don’t give teams the power to block provisions in the suppliers contract; in this case the ability to test with a representative car as required.

  107. Cedgy says:

    So much for so little outcome, what a waste of time and energy!
    Now can we please get back to racing?!?

  108. Alistair Blevins says:

    I trust this will this go down in history as a (another) Brawn masterstroke? It deserves to.

  109. Skan says:

    Would Merc unleash some performance on the cars they gained during the testing now that the tribunal has cleared them. I get a feeling they were holding back in Montreal to underplay the situation.

  110. Hiten says:

    So does this mean that for Mercs fault young drivers will have to suffer along with them? If true then this verdict is definitely not fair.

  111. Sid says:

    James, read a few places that Merc are fined as well… can’t really find any amount so got to believe those reports are incorrect…

    1. James Allen says:

      No they, Pireklli and FIA are all responsible for 1/3 of costs of case

  112. Elie says:

    i have no problem in teams living on the edge of the interpretation of the rules and seeking clarification- that is ultra competitive and pushing the boundaries. It’s a different ball game when you know exactly whats required & break the rules and try to conceal it.
    You think it’s ok for all the teams to bend- no really !-break them..& Your a “sporting fan” not very sporting I would say- & yep I really don’t speak for you.

  113. Seifenkistler says:

    I think the whole testing has to be reworked.

    What if a new team wants to start and has no 2 year old car. Which sort of car are they supposed to use?

    Or in case of a driver not able to race for a longer period. Say both drivers of a team ate the same bad pizza. How can the replacement drivers test?

    1. Random 79 says:

      They’re already on it.

      By the sounds of it teams will have the opportunity to stay behind and test at the end of some race weekends, which should be a good thing.

  114. Dan says:

    Also if people don’t think Mercedes gained valuable info on their cars they are delusional. All the cars have data logging capabilities. They may not have gained on tyres but aero and brakes and endurance and many other areas that go into making these cars what they are would have had ground made. One button on a wheel can activate a log to record all 1000km of testing for later analysis. So nieve.

  115. Matt says:

    Lewis Hamilton finished in 12th place and a lap down at the 2013 F1 Spanish Grand Prix.

    After the Pirelli/Mercedes tyre test:

    Lewis Hamilton finished in 3rd place at the 2013 F1 Canadian Grand Prix.

    But remember, Mercedes learned NOTHING from 3 days of testing.

    Why are the innocents being punished?
    I’m talking about the young drivers who had nothing to do with “test-gate” and who desperately need seat time in an F1 car.

    Wow! All bark and no bite. Mercedes got away with murder.

    1. grat says:

      Really? Who did Mercedes kill?

      For that matter, Hamilton finished in 5th place in Bahrain– so who sabotaged his car between Bahrain and Barcelona? Couldn’t possibly be the fact that the two tracks are different, and the temperatures were wildly different… likewise, the Montreal track is nothing like the Barcelona track.

    2. KRB says:

      Got away with murder?!? Really, does no one care these days about the meaning, the actual meaning, of the words they so liberally throw around?!

      The Monaco and Montreal tracks were low-deg tracks that without doubt hid the weaknesses of the W04. Lewis is known as the King of Montreal, yet Vettel pulled away easily in the RB9, and Lewis was powerless to keep Alonso behind in his F138. If Mercedes had solved their tire issues, then Lewis would’ve battled Vettel for the win, and Alonso never would’ve been an issue for them.

  116. Die Scuderia says:

    This verdict isn’t a surprise afterall. You have to look at serious cases in which a certain team had interesting innovation which most felt was not in line with the rules. So this isn’t new. Looking forward to Le Mans 24 Hrs

    DS

  117. Marty says:

    Sounds like to me like this was a calculated and and carefully orchestrated exercise by Mercedes and Pirelli. What was likely an informal discussion with Charlie Whiting allowed them to try and slip through the cracks of an complicated beauracracy.
    Kudos to Red Bull raising the alarm bell and and initiating the protest. I’m dissapointed with a desperate Mercedes team who took advantage of a well intentioned official.

  118. Paul says:

    cant help but feel they got off lightly. F1 is a bit of a joke sometimes. It makes me want to switch off.

    Now we have Pirelli developing more durable tyres as they dont suit some teams. Its an absolute joke. This is not a sport.

  119. João Ornelas says:

    Thank God Damon’s not racing anymore: his black helmet would get him into trouble…

    1. Tim says:

      Polite correction, it was blue, with white vertical markings. Same as his Dad’s – in honour of the London Rowing Club.

  120. CB says:

    James I do believe that common sense has prevailed here but it does leave many questions unanswered such as, how could Merc do such a test WITHOUT it impacting on engines and gearboxes for this years allotment?
    In my view the FIA is asleep at the wheel there are just too many inconsistences in the current era esp. with the tyres in that they should have had the tyre supplier at least some testing and not during the winter as the teams are evaluating their new cars , as for reducing costs this Tribunal hearing has wasted money yes it needed to happen but it shouldn’t have come to this I think the FIA need to look at themselves first.

    1. KRB says:

      Simple … the engines and gearboxes used would not be those used this season so far, and will not be used in this season.

  121. Grant says:

    The FIA made a mistake allowing this testing…

    Glad this saga is behind us, hopefully together with the whole tyre’s saga.

    Come to think of it, one was as a result of the other, anyway.

    1. KRB says:

      Totally at the FIA’s door, this. They need to get on top of in-season testing. Everyone in F1 should have known about the Ferrari test last year, and their test this year. And those of any other team, which I’m sure have been conducted both this season and last.

      Teams should know what is required of them to be granted permission from the FIA to conduct an official test. The FIA should have scrutineers at every such test, paid for by the teams conducting the test.

      Moreover, the FIA and the teams need to figure out a regime that will allow the tire supplier to test their tires to get relevant data.

      All of this should’ve been done ages ago. But no use bickering about that now; it’s done. Just need to get the appropriate structures in place asap.

  122. Ken R says:

    I am a Mercedes fan but this is a joke. MB was caught cheating….plain and simple. There is no reason that any large team does not go out and cheat. Worst case you are caught and get a wrist slap. Chaos

  123. Bring Back Murray says:

    Should have been more heavily punished. At least points deducted from the Monaco weekend.

    But as others acknowledged – F1 needs Mercedes so that’s that, end of story.

  124. Parazar says:

    All the drivers should go to the YDT in black helmets. :)

  125. Ian Sellman says:

    Mercedes “got away” with this because of the misleading feedback they got from the FIA. No other team will get the same misleading feedback and therefore won’t have the same defence if they do the same thing.

    Its a victory for common sense :)

    1. Grant says:

      +1

      What’s strange though is, why do so few here realize it?

    2. cc says:

      the FIA awakes from its slumber (what do these folks do all day anyway), oh, spots a Grave Matter on the horizon… We shall grill the perpetrators and justice shall be done!!

      oops, hmmm, well, cough cough, guess someone in our house was amiss it whispers. Hey, let’s just move on from here shall we….

  126. Thompson says:

    I don’t know always felt max was upset with Ron for bringing Hamilton into the sport……. Never understood why though

  127. Jim H. says:

    Mercedes is innocent. A penalty gets handed to the new up and coming young drivers who had nothing to do with anything. Todt should resign and the Tribunal should fine itself a hundred grand for being ridiculous, with the proceeds going to the young drivers.

  128. IP says:

    James,

    Is this a case of Roos Brawn doing to the FIA, Charlie Whiting and Bernie Eccelstone, what Charlie and Bernie were doing back in their Brabham days?

    I say well played Ross Brawn. Not sure any of the other team principals would be able to pull that off. Unlike the double diffuser episode though, I think he didn’t hint to anyone else about this one though.

    Can’t wait to see what the other teams try to get away with!

  129. Luke Clements says:

    What a farce!

    I do hope the Red bull boys with their sense of humor (gotta give SV credit for that) both wear black helmets for the British GP as a piss take of this whole ridiculous drama!

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      That would be funny actually. Would add a nice air of humour and closure to a relatively minor sporting breach that caused epic (and unnessecary) initial waves. The paddock is metaphorically wet now and many look rather silly. Horner and Marko in particular.

      1. Tim says:

        The paddock is metaphorically wet now and many look rather silly. Horner and Marko in particular….
        At least the news is not all bad, eh?
        Every cloud, as they say ;-)

  130. Fireman says:

    Nico should drive with a black helmet for the rest of the season to differentiate himself from Hamilton :D

    The verdict is pure F1 though. I just don’t understand why Pirelli has tried to keep all of the tests secret. They gained nothing by doing that. Only bad publicity.

    1. Tim says:

      Pirelli cannot win, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Can you imagine what would have happened at the Barcelona test if word had got out during the actual test itself? The media would have descended on the circuit, and it would have turned into a paparazzi feeding frenzy.
      Hopefully, now that in season tyre testing has been agreed, things should settle down a bit for them.

      1. Fireman says:

        Sure. But their approach to this was all wrong. There was no secrecy needed.

      2. Tim says:

        I respectfully disagree. Pirelli had tried talking about testing and the teams could not agree which team would provide a car. They are all paranoid about another team gaining any sort of advantage. Remember they had already vetoed the continued use of a Lotus – presumably, as Lotus are kinder to the tyres, they feel an advantage has been gained (can’t really blame them)
        Pirelli needed to test, the teams would not agree amongst themselves, so how else could they do it apart from keeping it quiet(ish). If word had got out prior to the test then it would not have happened.
        In order to understand this, you have to completely disregard any sort of common sense approach – remember this is F1 :-)

      3. Fireman says:

        @Tim

        I guess that’s how it went, but the risk of bad publicity was there. So they’re partly responsible, hence the reprimand, although I don’t know what reprimanding a sole tyre supplier actually means.

        Pirelli should’ve just said “Hey, let’s all test with current cars after the GPs or else we won’t supply tires for next season.”

        But yes, this is F1 :D

  131. Jake says:

    James,
    What is up with CH and Merc?
    I do not believe he thinks they are a threat to RB and the WCC for 2013 so why the rant? In fact a quick look at the driver standings and it is clear Merc are taking more points from Ferrari than Red Bull and are therefore helping them win the championship.
    Strange behaviour from CH, the formal protest was sufficient but he went overboard with blood lust. Any thoughts?

    1. James Allen says:

      They are the next big threat – 2014 onwards
      It’s obvious

      Look how they’ve been arming up

      1. Andrew says:

        James

        Is there still a threat the top bosses in Mercedes might still want to pullout of F1 over all this?

        I mean I don’t see Merc in F1 in the long term

      2. James Allen says:

        Earlier this year the board committed until 2020 minimum

  132. ShaBooPi says:

    James somebody posted this earlier…I wonder what your opinion on this is?

    http://www.worldcarfans.com/113061958990/photo-evidence-shows-apparent-red-bull-illegal-traction

    Is there any credibility to it?

    1. James Allen says:

      Mark Gillan answered it on another thread

      It’s more likely to be due to degraded tyres

  133. Nick Lynn says:

    I don’t think the FIA had much option to reach this verdict as they had the weakest argument of the three. The fact is, they didn’t police their own rules rigorously enough or define them clearly enough. As Red Bull are so fond of telling us, there is no ‘spirit’ of the rules – it’s what is written down as you can or can’t do. The FIA left room for interpretation.

    Also, and perhaps you can comment on this James, now that Charlie Whiting seems to have been undermined as the ‘go to reference’ for teams with queries, have the FIA opened the door to regular visits to the Tribunal as competitors challenge Whiting’s ‘advice’?

    1. James Allen says:

      Will be interesting to see how that changes, if it changes.

      It would be a very laborious process that would work as an alternative. But time will tell.

  134. Elie says:

    James do you think the flotation of f1 next year was a considered decision by the FIA in sending the case to the IT ( to be seen as impartial and fair) and also no major ” rocking of the boat ” by the sanctions?.

    Can you suggest the other 20 drivers all wear black helmets at Silverstone- that would be fantastic! : ).

    1. James Allen says:

      No. The FIA isn’t directly involved in the floatation, that’s Bernie and CVC’s thing.

      The IT is independent. Edwin Glasgow QC is a serious hitter.

  135. jonnyd says:

    all this proves is how much influence money has in F1, and how its for the most part ignored by press.
    Mercedes is essentially too big to fail.
    F1 is a business, and it needs to keep its customers (the corporations who run the teams) happy. It is obviously not going to penalise the hand that feeds it.

    And what can the other teams do? it is not like they are going to raise a huge protest, or stop racing until Merc get a more appropriate sentence. It will all be forgotten about in a month.
    They cannot contest it because they are all in the same club, the agreements that govern and run F1 are set by the teams themselves….

    it is completely analogous to how economic systems are run.

  136. tim says:

    A huge travesty of justice….

  137. jpinx says:

    AuraF1 Reply:
    June 22nd, 2013 at 10:50 am

    As Brawn said to Ferraris lawyer during the double diffuser scandal in that tribunal – ‘remember, I know exactly how Ferrari pushed the rules we can bring that up if you want?’…

    As was mooted in the Ferrari tyre-test earlier. That test went way over the mileage iirc…

    … We all know that the red bull has broken the ‘spirit’ of the rules many times with its flexi wings but the FIA load tests were inadequate to prevent it. It’s fair enough. Mercedes broke the rules but in the same manner the test of it was not up to catching them out. The FIA system was inadequate to the task.

    Was, and obviously still is totally inadequate or scrutineering would catch RBR out everytime
    The FIA is woefully bad at enforcing it’s own rules, but one cannot help wondering how much of that is a deliberate fudge….

  138. Jake says:

    James,
    Since the IT have effectively set the precedence that neither CW nor the FIA legal department can interpret the rules and comment on behalf of the FIA, (still can’t believe that was their argument and it stood up), what does that mean for the day to day operations at a GP race? Does every little thing have to go all the way to the top to be decided? Surely this is unworkable. The FIA have dug themselves a rather deep hole and are standing at the bottom scratching their heads wondering how to get out.
    On another related issue, do you think the Pirelli position has been strengthened as not only have the FIA left it a bit late to change supplier but they now have the very real threat of civil action against them by Pirelli over the testing verdict.
    Do you think the outcome was just?
    I actually think it is back to front. I believe Merc did try to gain an advantage however the FIA did not prove conclusively that they broke the rules, given that the FIA legal department basically said rule 22 does not apply.

  139. Tim says:

    I have only just had a chance to watch Fridays F1 show on Sky. According to Ted, one of the key pieces of evidence that swung the case for Mercedes was a letter from the GPDA worried about the safety of the tyres – one of the co- signatures to this letter was young Vettel.
    So, on one hand, you have Horner going to the tribunal to make sure the knife was stuck in deeply enough and on the other, one of his drivers unwittingly helping to get them off the hook! Isn’t that just the most delicious piece of irony :-)

  140. Poyta says:

    To all those people and teams thinking that Mercedes got away with this scott free should now ask themselves what would a major team now do if an offer was made to them next week to skip the Young Driver Test and instead participate in a similar 3 day Tyre Test for Pirelli?

    Consider that at the Pirelli tyre test you aren’t actually allowed to run the test, not allowed to have access to any data from the test, you will be testing blind tyres and you’re not allowed to test new parts or play with any settings .

    However at the Young Driver day although you’re not able to use your current drivers you are more than welcome to run the show, test as many new parts as possible, play with whatever setup up you want, have full access to all data and you can choose whatever tyre you want.

    How many teams do you think would prefer to do the Pirelli Test?

  141. fausta says:

    With all the politics I can’t see any other outcome but I would have liked to see Merc lose some constructor points.

  142. well chaps, the latest news seems as though red bull, and possibly ferrari, will proceed in maybe doing a three day test and look for a ‘reprimand’.

    i certainly hope that this goes ahead and that we see others doing the same. the fact that mercedes got away with a ludicrous penalty shows just how ‘hollow’ the whole thing is. brawn had the audacity to say that they got nothing out of it all!! evidence was led that they received highly confidential engineering data from pirelli after the tests but that didn’t seem to be taken into account by the IT?

    what a sham this all is.

  143. VJ says:

    Perhaps it is my lack of English knowledge, but what does the “reprimand” mean in this case?

    Is it just a “ooh, naughty guys, don’t do it again?” or rather a “next offence will result in …” ? And if it is the latter, do we know the details? Pirelli has also been reprimanded, but how can be they be punished “not allowed to mention their name for a few races?”.

  144. Gazz says:

    Most are clinging to the fact that it was a Pirelli test not a Mercedes test which makes the team innocent…….. not in my book. They ran a current car, which in any test is against the rules. They admitted to gaining an advantage, no matter how small or be it a negative advantage. They claimed security for both their race drivers as the reason for running them in unmarked helmets. Jeezz there are many way to spell the word Cheating!!!

  145. Thompson says:

    Wow, 2 days it took me to read through all this……

    Something needs to be done with the forums format.

    Anyhooo, I had to laugh when the virdict came through I use to always add “a man of dubious character” when ever I wrote the name of Ross Brawn in brackets but stopped since my fav driver now drives for him…… lol

    As far as I can tell, the FIA were aware of the test and really have no leg to stand on regards punishment simply because they expose their own incompetence or lack of organisation.

    Well I hope now Merc can take all they learn’t and start using it to get Rosberg and Hamilton at the very sharp end to spice things up a bit…

    I get it now, all those Schumi fans through the dark years, I get it now……very smart man that Ross Brawn ( a man of dubious character)……..lol.

  146. Sergio says:

    There are many interests that did not allow an unfavorable judgment for Mercedes and Pirelli. Mercedes threatened to leave F1 and Pirelli has done the same. Such Bernie Ecclestone must have his (fundamental) opinion. On the other hand in the German team runs a certain Lewis Hamilton, a reason to deactivate English lobby media attacking. Mercedes, Ecclestone, Hamilton, Pirelli and the great catalyst of politics in F1: Ross Brawn. Who can appeal to logic in a trial that is crystal clear?

  147. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Very good verdict.
    Pirelli had delamination problems, so the F1 had a SAFETY problem.
    Now I guess that that problem is now over and we have that SAFETY that some were looking for.
    Then they will have a young driver test without Mercedes, I think it is not a huge spectacle for fans, so it’s OK.
    FIA, Charlie W., Pirelli and teams were discussing and some teams were looking for gaining advantage in this field, and they gained something because Mercedes will skip that future test.
    Parties have learnt about this subjets and new tests are already scheduled for all Teams.
    So great so far.

    JAMES, is Pirelli the 2014 supplier, or when is the deadline to know it?

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Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer