[Updated] The FIA has decided that Mercedes and Pirelli have a case to answer over the test which took place last month in Barcelona with a 2013 car and the current race drivers and they will be required to appear before an International Tribunal to defend themselves against a charge of breaching the rules.
Ferrari has been exonerated for the test it carried out using a 2011 car.
The FIA statutes suggest that it can take up to 45 days to convene an International Tribunal, but the process can be fast tracked.
Mercedes has acknowledged the summons and said that it has the utmost confidence in the process providing sporting integrity and full transparency on the events that led to the test.
The case will turn on the question of the area between the FIA’s Sporting Regulations which say that testing with a car that is substantially the same as a current model is not permitted and the Pirelli contract with the FIA which allows for 1,000Kms of testing.
Central to the case will be email correspondence between the FIA’s Charlie Whiting and Mercedes’ Ross Brawn about the test and precisely what the FIA was willing to sanction.
If found guilty of a breach of the rules Mercedes could face a range of sanctions from a fine to exclusion. Pirelli will be under pressure to prove that they did not provide any favour to one team, against the spirit of sporting competition. This kind of matter is particularly sensitive since the FIA was recognised by the International Olympic Committee.
The issue arises as Mercedes are beginning to really make their presence felt competitively in F1, with pole position in the last four races and victory in Monaco.
For our expert assessment of the test, listen to the latest JA on F1 podcast HERE
The FIA Statement, issued on Wednesday night, said, “The FIA requested clarifications from Pirelli and Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1… The FIA also asked questions to Scuderia Ferrari Team, which took part in a tyre-testing with Pirelli in Barcelona on 23-24 April 2013.
“The FIA requested all the other F1 teams to provide the FIA with information they may have regarding any tests carried out by Pirelli during the 2013 season.
“In the light of all the replies received and in view of the information gathered the president of the FIA, acting as the FIA prosecuting body, has decided: “To close the case as regard to Scuderia Ferrari team considering that its participation in a tyre testing organised by Pirelli in Barcelona on 23-24 April 2013 using for this purpose a 2011 car is not deemed to contravene the applicable FIA rules.
“To bring the case concerning the tyre-testing session carried out by Pirelli and Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 in Barcelona on 15-17 May 2013 before the FIA international tribunal because it results from the inquiry that the conditions of this testing may constitute a breach of the applicable FIA rules.
“The FIA international tribunal is called upon to make a decision in compliance with the FIA judicial and disciplinary rules.”