F1 Winter Break
Mercedes and Pirelli face FIA International Tribunal over secret test
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Jun 2013   |  5:01 am GMT  |  322 comments

[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.”

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Just a thought.

Ferrari got the best result in the Spanish GP, right after the test.

Mercedes also got the best result in Monaco GP, right after the test. 😀

I think this is quite a tricky and sensitive situation so I won't try to predict any outcome.


Oh boy..


He's going to take it on his shoulders, perhaps leave the team a Team's Hero and keep Mercedes in F1 to boot.


Then please provide a reason for Ferrari going backwards in Monaco.....


Massa stuffed his car into the barriers when the suspension failed and Alonso fell asleep. Whilst he was snoozing, he was mugged several times 🙂


That neatly sums it up.

Jonathan Lodge

Looking at the hairpin explains a lot. The teams usually have a special steering rack just for this one hairpin - it is the tightest corner on the calendar. It looks like ferrari made a gamble and lost - did they forget their special steering? or did they simply not make the turning circle small enough? Both Massa and Alonso were overtaken at the Monaco hairpin as they appeared simply unable to turn in to prevent being overtaken - indeed it looked like the only way they could get around the hairpin was to stick to the outside of the corner the whole way through. I am surprised this hasn't been picked up elsewhere.


Yes but keep in mind that Ferrari also won in China. I´m sure they played that card too just show their test was not very significant.


What about what Mercedes know now for 2014?


They would know what they know for 2014 even if they had used a car from 1945.

Perhaps, all teams (aside Merc) can test or worse, that Pirelli should develop their own up to date, several hundred million pound F1 car. Lol!


I don't agree with what Merc have allegedly done but I fail to see the comparison between 2013 cars and 2014 cars. 2013 data would be useless to the 2014 car in my opinion.


Well, I agree that any data is good data and can appreciate your point. It's still extrapolation but I guess that could be potentially gold in the right hands. Fair point Sebee.

I still dont see it doing much good against the might of RBR though ;)This year at least.


You know your 2013 car.

You know what your 2013 car does to 2013 tires.

And now you know what your 2013 car does to 2014 tires.

You see how that can be helpful toward your design of 2014 car? Especially when no one else has that data?


But wouldn't they now know that which ever car they used? They can extrapolate.


Would you rather extrapolate or have exact precise data?


James, was it Charlie Whiting that supposedly gave Merc the OK to test?


It's a fascinating one and this is one of the key questions. On the one hand, some people are saying Charlie sanctioned the test, and Paul Hembery is saying Pirelli have been up front about asking for a 2013 car; that it was 2014 tyres etc. On the other, the test was completed in secrecy; Hamilton and Rosberg were chosen to drive and apparently did so under plain helmets. On the surface, I'm tempted to see it as a storm in a teacup. Dig a little deeper, and I'm tempted to conclude there's something fishy going on. But it's difficult, at this moment, to know exactly where (and with whom) the transgression lies.

The other thing about this, which perhaps gives an indication of its complexity and severity, is how rare this has become in recent years. In the closing years of Max Mosley's reign as FIA President we were pretty much guaranteed a tribunal case once a year were we not? Yet at recollection this is the first time we've had one since Jean Todt succeeded him.


Its both fishy and a storm in a teacup.


If it was Charlie Whiting that gave Merc the thumbs up for the test then he should be sacked and also face a court hearing.


Rosberg has gone on the record saying that he knew what tyres Pirelli were giving him to test "for sure".


Link please?


"...he should be sacked and also face a court hearing."



Charlie and the FIA lawyers said it was ok.

The rule states that competitors cant do any in season testing, Pirelli arn't a competitor. So what they are saying is Pirelli was doing the testing not Merc, They had no idea what tyres were being used and weren't allowed to change setup other than if asked to do so. and saw no data. The only downfall to there argument is if the driver is also classed as a competitor or just the team...


"The rule states that competitors cant do any in season testing, Pirelli arn’t a competitor"

Hamilton and Rosberg are competitors.


"Hamilton and Rosberg are competitors."

Merc, Ferrari, Lotus, Red Bull and all others who have tested in the past and present ARE COMPETITORS in the same sense that "Hamilton and Rosberg are competitors."

One thing I've learnt with F1 is that rules don't matter a jot. For every rule, there is a counter rule to enable the FIA pull rabbits out of the hat.

Following F1 rules is a sure route to high blood pressure.


Well thats what the court has to decide


I heard merc say that in a tv interview.


Toto Wolff also said FIA representatives were present and FIA lawyers cleared the 2013 car to do the test.


Starting to sound like this will get smoothed out and justified.

Whatever ruling comes from this, it better include same test for other 10 teams. Otherwise, I am already thinking about 2014 being unfair.


James, If pirelli were allowed 1000kms of tyre test time and that 1000 was done by mercedes, what distance did ferrari do? Does anyone know?


10 place grid penalty for the next 5 races and no participation in Friday testing for the next 7 races please! Sorry Brawn but you need to come clean rather than get away ala the Benetton years..


that seems like a sensible kind of approach to a penalty, should they be found guilty. i like it.


Sorry, the idea of letting other teams have a 1000k test doesn't make things equal. Basically Mercedes got the full undivided attention of Pirelli, the full use of a track, and complete privacy. To equal that we'd need seperate sessions per team, and that doesn't cover the fact that Mercedes got this earlier than everyone else thereby reaping the benefits. It doesn't matter to me whether Mercedes say Pirelli didn't let them do this or that, the point is they clearly broke the rules, and they would have taken every single advantage they could from Pirelli also throughout had Pirelli allowed.

This is why I made the suggestion. The missing of several Friday practice sessions would let other teams gain track data through the few races to catch them. Mercedes could still practice during FP3. This would handicap there preparation for these races, and to deter any other cheaters of such manner, grid penalties for several races. This would mean they can't simply use their advantage to lead from the front, they'd have to fight each race.

This is just a fan's viewpoint though. I am not foolish enough to think that the final decision would ever resemble mine, though I hope it does because Ross Brawn and Mercedes clearly broke the rules here. It is tiresome when a former cheater who should know better decides to try again. As team principal it is your job to run the team so sadly he will always be at fault. What a pity. I can't stand that they won't just admit to it either. They are still dancing around acting like everyone else is lost. Knock Ron Dennis all you want, but he held his hands up immediately during the spy scandal. Ross Brawn you have a lot to learn...


It's how GP's are won and form is found these days -> through finding loopholes.

The rules were broken because the rules were?...Vague and unclear and full of loopholes.

Thats the FIA's fault. Not Merc not Pirelli.

SOLUTION: Give all other teams 1000km testing under THE SAME conditions as Merc had. No setup change, no info, no advantage. Simple as that. Nobody looses, Pirelli wins lots of data. And can get the balance between REAL racing and exciting racing spot on.


McRay, Also an interesting solution, however, the logistics for testing 10 other teams seem implausible, and how does anyone "really" know just what parameters Merc did or did not have control over?

Pirelli and Merc certainly possess no veracity regarding this question, comments from both camps seem terribly ill rehearsed at best.

Too many variables to bring into agreement before the advantage of the cheat is nullified.

My submission:

Five consecutive grands prix: No testing / practice prior to Saturday, in addition, a 10 place grid for each driver who took part in the test.

1000 hrs community service for Merc team principle.

Done and Done.


The test took place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Why did Pirelli and Mercedes wait until Wednesday to start the test? Why didn't they start on Monday morning or Tuesday?

Having said that, if you were a team principal, would you take Mercedes's word that there were no setup changes and no info?

Whoever says Mercedes had nothing to gain from this must be a fool. Why do it then? Having just started 1st and 2nd and finish in 6th and 12th, you think Mercedes have nothing better to do than give Pirelli 2 cars, 2 drivers and a garage full of mechanics and engineers just to help them out? Please! I think you better wake up and face the reality.


That actually makes some sense, 5-7 races should nullify the 1000K of illegal testing, and the 10 place should hurt enough to dissuade further transgressions. A fine here is useless punishment.

I can only imagine if RB had done this, (not that Horner would have been foolish enough to not consider it a Ferrari ploy, via Pirelli, to get the team banned from the season) people on this post would be calling for Horner's head on a stake and RB banned for ten years.

Some bloke on here actually compared this to the hole in the RB8, subsequently deemed illegal. Sour grapes anyone?


That "bloke" was me, the hole subsequently deemed illegal, why did RBR not have the two race results taken away from them when retrospectively the FIA clarified the rules and deemed the car not conforming to the rules, what about all of the other RBR incidents, there are too many to list. Most teams tow the line when it comes to the rules, some blatantly break them or try to, however it seems to me that RBR have for the last three years an attitude of deliberately interpreting the rules in such a way that allows them to exploit loopholes until they are closed knowing that they will not be punished for it, now you can call that sour grapes or whatever, but I've read many a post on here with people saying the same thing.

Stuart Harrison

That sounds fair and proportional


That's quite fair I believe.


"Merc-y, you got some 'splainin' to do"



Who's name was the circuit booked in...Pirelli or Mercedes?


According to Paul Hembery the circuit was booked in Pirelli's name. That is what he said in the statement made earlier this week.


Yeah...like how is it Pirelli's fault that 2013 car was used?

Salvo Sparacio

So maybe a team should just sell there 2013 car and now Pirelli owns and test everyday??? No testing 2013 cars no matter who has the car.


listen to JAs latest podcast and it would seem P. Hembrey requested the 2013 car.


I'm starting to see how this will all get justified and why Mercedes won't have any consequences.

Could this case be used as leverage in any negotiation with the two?


Pirelli knew that using a current car for a test was not allowed. They didn´t check with FIA to make sure that there was no problem. Besides they didn´t tell other teams about it right after the test to offer then equal opportunity.

Scuderia McLaren

FIA - Ferrari International Assistance.

Of course Todt let Ferrari off. Testing secretly for the reds obviously doesn't matter.

Yet another tick on Alonso's dubious record. Various Renault 06 moments, Mclaren year 2007, Singapore 08, Germany 10, Austin 12, now Testing 13. It's just getting ridiculous now that this guy is so deceptive yet never gets pinged.

Justin Bieber

Lets not forget that Alonso is also responsible for world hunger.. #justsayin



Instead of speeding at 90MPH in a family neighbourhood where kids play and pretending it's not you, slow the heck down, email Alonso, both of you pull your resources together and contribute to ending hunger for at least a few thousand people and make us Beliebers.

And for sake of our sanity, please stop making music too.

Scuderia McLaren

People people people. I was having a lend. Being deliberately ridiculous. That's why I posted a follow up.

Sorry, sarcastic humour is a cultural thing where I am from.

If you read my follow up post to the original, it says that despite the facts I am a rabid (idiot) fan. I was pre-empting the crap I read before those who REALLY think like this get a chance. Trying to make those arguments sound ridiculous because they are.

Lordy Lordy Lordy.


Well we are writing here. It´s not so easy sometimes to read between the lines. And to separate sacasm from a real opinion.


Lucky I knows you scud!!! Lordy Lordy indeed!!


Could Ferrari have sent the 2011 car, but evaluated 2013/14 wings (or other parts) on the car during that test?

There is no way Pirelli would know what year the parts are from, right?

Seán Craddock

What happened in Austin 2012? I don't recall


I guess it was the gearbox change on Massa´s car. But that was very open to the public and media


What did Alonso do in 06?


Becoming boring really....


Definiteley a case of FIA – Ferrari International Assistance.

Why did Ferrari coduct a secret test????


Pirelli should informed other teams that a test has been conducting


Glad to hear that you are an Alonso and a Ferrari fan!!


Various 06 moments?


Red Bull and Vettel won 3 championships in a row.


haha! all I would say is "QQ more"

Scuderia McLaren

And please, to any logical respondents, don't dare counter with facts like Alonso didn't actually test it was De La Rosa, Ferrari were well within the rules, that only their 2011 car was used and that the test was not secret get in the way of a good story.

You see, despite Ferrari case being completely different, I am a rabid F1 fan and decide to use F1 facts like I do my maths, which is to say that in my view 1+1=11.

Just wanted to pre-empt the usual stuff first.


In F1, 1+1=11? Damn! 🙂

Thats just about right, though. Lol!


say what you want but you can't deny the man is a great F1 driver.


Quite funny actually. It's called sarcasm.


Austin 12 was just very smart of Ferrari and no rules where broken, just like their 'Corse Clienti' test using a 2011 car.

Those are the FACTS just as you like it so do your math.

PS. Funny how you single out Alonso when you should know that F1 is a teamsport.


Shame there is no ignore button on this website....

Same old, same old. Tedious.



Anyway, the only surprise in this story is that it's taken so long to come to this conclusion.


If you made sense, it might be worth a counter.


Appears Ross Brawn is finally bringing his Ferrari 'expertise' to Mercedes.


It's Toto's responsibility, he is in the team for very reason to think clearly and objectively unlike some petrol heads. I'm not saying it's his fault (yet to be proven), but it is his decision to have the test.


Heads should roll at Mercedes, Pirelli and possibly the FIA. Whoever sanctioned this test at Mercedes has brought the name of the team and its sponsors into disrepute by acting irrationally, stupid and in an un-sportsman like manner.

An obviously clandestine operation in Barcelona has been found out. Even THE most casual F1 fan knows what Mercedes did was cheating. Do they really think they are above the sport because they supply engines to several teams as well as run their own that they think they can get away with this. If so they are delusional and deserve any sanction the FIA hands out.


Well then, it appears like Mercedes learnt something from the Pirelli test for the FIA go through so much trouble.

And I suspect the punishment will have to take into consideration the performance of the team in the next couple of races. If the team show a good improvement then bigger the punishment possibly the team won't be allowed to keep their WCC points from Canada onwards >>> more so since Jenson said the team would get a slap on the wrist >>> Yes JB tends to be wrong about most things.

But hey, as they say in life, ''No guts, no glory'' so Mercedes team may take a little bit of pain after this tribunal but in the long run, they will be smiling all the way to 2014 as the team recently found out, Pirelli were infact testing the 2014 tyres.


It's not really unreasonable. Mercedes had the tire problems for a long time. Even Redbull seems to have a hard time finding a solution. So they thought the gamble like you said be worth it.

Val from montreal

If Mercedes are only going to be fined , it will be a joke ...

They deserve to be banned a couple of races atleast and fined in the millions ..

This may be the straw that breaks the camel's back , Mercedes Board in Stuttgart (?) may say the hell with this failed project and decide to quit for good ...

Ross Brawn would not make his 2 drivers do this "unimportant" test for nothing .. He's not stupid nor is he naive ...

When Schumacher retired the first time , there was the SpyGate scandal and the Crashgate scandal .. Now that he's retired a second time , his ex-team Mercedes are involved in their own scandal .... Too funny ! LOL


Conspiracy theory hat on.

Maybe Mercedes, Lauda and Wolff have asked RB to run this test with 2013 cars and drivers. Then Mercedes can pull out and leave team to the shareholders..


Win-win = give every other team the opportunity to test with the same Pirelli tyres for 1000kms - partly paid my Mercedes.

Fines, tribunals and disqualifications are are just too messy.


then there will be more serious breaches in the future. Can't let the teams think that they casually get away with breaking the rules.


I fear that will be the case. Maybe not even. It will get explained away. Meanwhile, what did Mercedes learn that other teams couldn't even observe? Why so strict about no photos? Why the differet livery helmets, deception, etc?

I also made the observation that there was scandal to take fans minds off Schumi being gone.

We're quite on the same page.


based purely and simply on what has been put out into the public arena about this issue i would expect that mercedes,prima facie, should get seriously sanctioned and that pirelli are given their marching orders as they were complicit in this frolic.

despite all the pros and cons surrounding the tests a slap on the wrist will do nothing at all. reports that hamilton tweeted in such a fashion as to give the impression that he was in florida and the degrees of secrecy and subterfuge undertaken at the circuit such as different helmet designs for hamilton and the screening off of all vantage points only adds to the level of attempted secrecy. of itself it smacks of knowledge that the tests were being held under max security. why?

the veracity of those latter points may be a bit dodgy but then again if true only bears witness to collusion between pirelli and mercedes banz.


You know some people actually post tweets the day after! Hamilton was in Miami on the wednesday and posted a photo up the next day, doesn't mean its proof that he was trying to fool everyone that he was in Miami on thursday - not like its says "hey guys look at what I'm up to today! " does it?


Secret Tests - 3 days of testing is not secret or quiet and I believe Pirelli booked the circuit in their name.

Pirelli Marching orders: - be serious! Teams have to be supplied tyre data for next season in 12 weeks time. Pirelli cannot be replaced because no one has time to construct the tyres and/or supply the teams with the information they require. This is the hole reason Pirelli was testing in this manner in the first place because the FIA/Teams are a Joke. No one agrees to testing of any sort, no one allows a representative car to be used and then they all moan that the tyres are working...its no surprise.

As for the legality of the test and gaining an unfair advantage - Very hot water by the looks of it and it's cheating no matter which way you slice it.....But if the FIA did agree, then I take my hat off to the team for exploiting a loophole that no one else was looking for.


"Pirelli Marching orders: – be serious! Teams have to be supplied tyre data for next season..." <-------- EXACTLY! Finally someone posts something sane. It's crazy the radical vigilante mob-mentality that is embraced by so many commentators here, who seem to think that in order to save Formula 1 they must destroy Formula 1.



Im with you guys. This whole thing is ridiculous.

Pirelli HAVE to test tyres. They have to test with a representative car.

It just seems like a big fuss over nothing.

I think Red Bull are pissed becasue they declined the invite or something....

Get over it.

If anything give the lower 3-4 teams a chance to test in the same manner to help everyone get closer together.....


Wow! First I've heard of the Florida, helmet & screens - we're did you hear this from?


a bloke down the pub said it. So it must be true.


Interweb is alight about it. Apparently, some details will be incorporated in the next Bond film.

...wait a minute, a man disfigured in mad persuit of his passion is in charge of Mercedes AMG - an organization accused of being "E.V.I.L." If Niki has an underwater house...well, he could be in a James Bond film. No? Or at least in next Austin. 🙂



Michelin seems to be the only option mentioned. No one else wants part in this. Bernie needs Pirelli or the French are going to put you know what in a vice grip in their negotiations, as they are quite genious and good about doing. I remind you, McLaren got some physical sketches instead of ones in someone's head when theu hire, and were fined 100m. Renault fixed a GP and risked lives and got a slap on the wrist. French...quite the savvy negotiators.


>>>>>>>reports that hamilton tweeted in such a fashion as to give the impression that he was in florida and the degrees of secrecy and subterfuge undertaken at the circuit such as different helmet designs for hamilton and the screening off of all vantage points only adds to the level of attempted secrecy. of itself it smacks of knowledge that the tests were being held under max security<<<<<<<

Where did this information come from please?


I love that Mercedes are giving the front runners a challenge but it does seem that they have breeched the rules by using the current car, and I wouldn't be too upset if they get some sort of penalty.

Bring Back Murray

If Merc had shipped out the 2011 car then there would be no issue as Ferrari had also used the 2011 car for their earlier test. Even if Pirelli requested the 2013 car Braun should have known better.


James, why didn't Pirelli test using a good 2012 spec car like Williams?

Williams 2012 car was very good if not the best and in 2013 they are no way fighting for the championship so the other teams would not have minded that a lot.


Probably because Williams weren't interested. From what I read Pirelli did ask everyone to participate in testing and there was quite a lack of interest from most teams.


I'm sure Force India, Sauber, Torro Rosso et al would have protested if Williams suddenly started improving.


The other teams would not have minded...maybe the top 3 or 4 teams (although doubtful cos then they'd want the same possibilities) but I think you'll find the issue is still the same - then Williams are benefiting over their direct rivals in the mid-field; I think you're wrong, I think the other teams would mind a lot

Bring Back Murray

At the very least they should have been consistent and used a 2011 car like Ferrari did earlier in the season.


During winter tests Williams was told by FIA to change tHeir exhausts because they were illegal. And they did it before Australia. That´s why they are not as competitive as they wanted to be.


The rules don't have a provision for common sense.


Any rule or law lack the same thing 🙂 That's why we have honourable judges, but there is hardly anything honourable in it any more 🙂


Well poor old Merc , they are gonna get a huge penalty for this. How stupid were they choosing a 2013 car for testing and get away with it.?

Whoever cocked this idea inside Merc up .... Bet their packing up their desk ... Or the whole team is ready to pack up .


I think this might be just a fine. It is the first of its kind and I am sure after this the rules will be adjusted and clarified, same as the team order debacle with Ferrari a few years back


I'm not so certain it will be a fine. The rules are specific, no use of current equipment or last years. That does not need any form of clarification!

After all, Ferrari used a 2 year old car and have nothing to answer for, as well as using their Corsa Clienti squad. These guys are all ex F1 personnel, but they haven't worked for the current squad for a few years.


Then explain why its been reported that someone in the FIA allowed it then?


There is so much misinformation about the whole saga.

Pirelli, Ferrari and Mercedes both had to explain their actions to the FIA, yet Mercedes and Pirelli are the only ones still under investigation. We don't know the whole story, we don't even know if the FIA did allow it, seems strange someone in authority giving the ho ahead and then the FIA taking this public.

In 2007, Ron Dennis stated that Mclaren were not in possession of any Ferrari documents and no one within the company would do that. The head man got it wrong. Maybe, whoever sanctioned the test didn't have the authority?


The Ferrari situation last time was different as it was a team issue. What Mercedes has done has potentially given them an unfair advantage over the other teams. The only fair thing would be for all the other teams to have a free test


"What Mercedes has done has potentially given them an unfair advantage..." <------- THIS kind of mentality and lack of logic/reasoning is not only embarrassing, it's annoying. Until there's evidence that Mercedes team gained an unfair advantage, you can't possibly claim they should be punished or even that the other teams suffered a disadvantage. All pure speculation, polemics, and Marko-style drama right now. Pffft...


Embarrassing and annoying? Anyone who knows just a little about F1 knows that with the geniuses involved with the F1 teams, by running a car for 1km they will learn something whether it is about the tyres, aerodynamics or the car in general. To say they gained nothing from runing 1000km with a current car makes me ask, if they gained nothing why was the test done and if you honestly believe Mercedes learned nothing then they should replace gullible in the English dictionary!


You're probably right, because hammer is not the solution here.

Still...doesn't sit right. Other teams need to immediately get the same test in name of fairness or to maintain at least some perception of fairness.


They really need to give then a meaningful punishment, not a slap on the wrist or just a useless fine, I would suggest a 3 GP ban based on BAR's fine for the fuel balast issue.

Any less andit will look like Mercedes International Assistance. Pirelli also needs a sanction, but how I don't know as it looks like they will be the only supplier next year...


Pirelli should receive a 10 place grid penalty for the rest of the season


Whoahh hold it right there Judge Dredd! No one has been proven guilty of anything just yet - how about we wait for the results of the tribunal before sending them to the firing line?


I think it all depends on whether Mercedes have any kind of "all clear" from the Charlie Whiting. If they do then surely the FIA can't do very much?


If charlie had given a green light it would not be mercedes in court it would be charlie and the FIA!


I get that Mercedes has broken the rules, I also understand why it has to go to a tribunal, however what grinds me is the double standards of Red Bull, this time last year it was known that RBR were using an illegal version of chassis that used an outlawed "hole" in the rear floor area in front of the rear wheel, indeed Mark Webber won the Monaco grand prix with it, how did they get away with a don't do it again slap on the wrist, yet here they are asking for Mercedes to be dragged over the coals. That smug smile on Horners face must be beaming right now.


...it was not illegal... until the regulations were changed...



At the time red bull ran that hole it was legal (Would not have passed scrutineering if it wasn't).

Running a hole ahead of the rear wheel was only made illegal after the FIA clarified the regulations to specifically ban it.


Right on. Many people seem to forget that at this time, Red Bull won two races with a car that was deemed to have illegal specs on it and they got away with no real punishment. Sure they had to change the car, but they kept their good results. RBR abused the loopholes and now they're whining about a rival team going through loopholes. Red Bull Racing are becoming a whiny, political team; Even moreso than Ferrari. I guess that's what happens when success gets to you. Red Bull Racing is still leading the pack, but unless they're completely dominating, they're not happy.


*At this time last year,


I find it difficult not to interpret this decision as being about complex political machinations in the absence of a proper governance structure in F1 to which all stakeholders are effectively (legally) bound.


James - I have a quick question for you.

Rumours @ Monaco are that the teams have agreed to in-season testing for 2014. Something like 4 two day tests on European circuits? Any truth to this?

Keep up the good work.



what penalty do you belive will be imposed James?


Can't believe this whole thing. Maybe Pirelli had allowance but how could Mercedes think they were allowed to run their main drivers in the current car; that is testing no matter kind of tires are on it. They could have tried out new parts, gotten more data on current parts, used additional engines more than their allocation for the season, etc. Plus it was more practice for the drivers, they could have been getting used to the special steering rack they would use in Monaco, practicing drafting each other for Quali in Monza, or any number of other things.


Only one car was used, so no drafting.

Steering rack in Monaco wouldn't hold up to representative testing on a different circuit.

I understand the possibility of testing new parts ....however the whole point of this test is to use a car with the same spec so they can evaluate the tyres performance where the tyres and fuel loads and stress are the only variables. If they kept changing the car set up the data for Pirelli would be usesless...im surprised they used two drivers.


"...the whole point of this test is to use a car with the same spec ..." <--------- it seems like you're one of the few people who understands this. the rest are already whipped up into a vigilante mob-mentality frenzy, braying for blood. sheeple.


i wonder how the top brass at mercedes gmbh will

react if merc/petronas are found to have cheated.

not well i would suggest.


WOW WOW WOW....could we possible have something as spectacular as the Mclaren Spygate Saga...I hope the investigation is fast tracked in search for truth to be out as soon as possible.


Recently I have been reading a lot about this and to me a fair sentence would be the following: A race-ban for 2-3 weekends + a hefty fine. This would put the test milage equal again between the teams and does not exclude Mercede from the championship (although they do deserve it in my opinion).


Now this is a really well thought out punishment, i like the thinking behind the ban length.


How is it fair? Are you saying that 1000kms of testing using unknown tyres ( not even current 2012 tyres ) , no access to data from the test and no ability to alter setup or test new equipment is the equivalent of 2-3 weekends worth of practice ( which works out to be 4-6 days of practice really ) where teams have full knowledge of the tyres they are testing, using current tyres, have full access to data, can alter setups and test new equipment?

That is what I can unfair.


So sad really! How many days or months will pass before the international Tribunal look into it after the hearings?


Only a sporting sanction (points/disqualification) will satisfy the F1 community because a $100M fine is peanuts to Mercedes.!!


Fines are worthless as it just means that you put a price on testing - something that most teams would be happy to pay for.

Race bans and exclusions are silly as it gives other teams a huge advantage in the championship and pretty much rules out Mercedes with a chance.

From what I can see ( and I'm sure there's a lot that we haven't seen or known ) the only possible advantage Mercedes gained ( and this is all dependent on whether they had access to meaningful data ) is they have some insight into the 2014 tyres. Probably not a very good insight but still something - so really the only way I can see the F1 community being satisfied is if every other team are allowed a similarly controlled 1000km test on the prototype 2014 tyres - this could still be possible considering that Pirelli are allowed to have 1000kms with every team - there's no reason why this could not happen before the year is out, giving every team the same opportunity to sample the tyres before the new season.


The $100 million may be peanuts t the Daimler group, but that was one of the reasons they bought the Brawn team. They didn't want the association with Mclaren because of the "cheating" tag. A fine of $100,000,000 would also be negative worldwide publicity.

Difficult to call really, Toyota WRC were disqualified in 1995 for a season, for illegal parts in their engine, designed to pass scrutineering.

Mclaren were removed from the WCC in 2007 and fined, but Renault also were in court for similar espionage but because they admitted to it, had a far lesser penalty.

Let's wait and see


And it wasn't any lesser act then McLaren. I say it was the most despicable act we have seen. Fixing a race result....slap on the wrist. Amazing!

I quote Jack Nicklson in Few Good Men..."Lives were in danger!"


Yes...because they admitted to it. Like there was any doubts or like they had a choice.

Come in hero, wake up and smell the coffee! 🙂

That my friend, what Renault did is what they call using leverage aka flexing muscle. And what the FIA did...that's called saving face.


Hey, who gets to keep the 100 mil? Seriuously where does penalty/fine money go?

Bueller Bueller Bueller, Anybody anybody anybody?


The FIA used the money for road safety campaigns I believe.


My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who says that FIA recently increased licence fees and championship per points fees to generate revenue. Everyone needs money.

Thanks for bringing Ferris and F1 together. Don't even get me started on the 250 GT California. It's so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.


Lulz. You have made my day.

Alexander Supertramp

Well this is no surprise. Hope politics don't stand in the way of a fair ruling.


Well, this was inevitable.
Some of Pirelli's statements don't add up in terms of what they tested.

This could turn up ugly, but they need to get it sorted quick and leave no room for doubt of a fair judgement. They need to avaid leaving a precedent the teams could exploit in the future.


It is hard to believe that a company of Mercedes stature would not take the necessary steps to obtain full permission and also full written PROOF of permission.

For all we know the "permission" was a telephone call from Mercedes/Pirelli to FIA who said "yeah, that is no problem, go ahead" and that FIA person turns out to be no more than the cleaning lady.


Seriously doubt Mercedes would be that stupid to risk a test based on a telephone conversation with a potential cleaning lady. I have a feeling the FIA seriously stuffed up and someone there is in a lot of trouble.


Don´t have a feeling. It is better to read FIA´s statements on the matter. FIA never officially and clearly allowed that test. All that took place was some conversations on the matter by email or phone calls.


Toto Wolf management skills at it's best.


So who will use this to serve their own hidden agenda ??. New tyre supplier ? Clip Mercs wings before they get to good ? or is there something to do with commercial agreements going on we don't know about / new concorde ??

If Pirelli was my company. I would pull the plug and leave big heads to sort their own mess out.

I bet if you got all team owners etc together for a nice big restaurant meal, they could not agree together what to order, even if it was free.


This is so ludicrous, without a current car they may as well have used a bicycle for the tyre tests. An old car is no use.


But Pirelli has been saying for some time, that the change with the 2014 cars is so big that they need more testing next year.

Testing 2014 tyres on this years car is pointless, surely?


Pointless yes but its the closest you'll get to a 2014 spec car isn't it? certainly a lot better than using a 2 year old car. And if its so pointless then people shouldn't be complaining about mercedes getting an advantage for this years season.


Thats fine... we can all agree on that BUT you must get approval before doing it, not just break the rules..


Then what use is there in using a 2013 car to test tyres for 2014 when an old car is no use?


True. But rules says that a current car can´t be used. So first change the rules if they are ludicrous. And don´t go your own way around them


And someone was thinking Tribunal won't take place...

What entertains me the most that everyone in F1 tries to bend the rules their way. Clearly Mercedes found a loophole and they used it.

I realy can't see heavy reprimands\fines for them, but @no actions@ is also not an option.

I hope FIA closes the issue soon, F1 doesn't need another long-lasting "gate".


Red Bull exploited all sorts of technical loopholes with their car and won two races because of it. It was deemed illegal, yet they faced no real sanctions. I think this just further damages Red Bull Racing's image. I feel like they're becoming even more political and manipulating than Ferrari in the mid-2000's.


Nothing Red Bull did has ever been "deemed illegal". It's a mystery to me why so many people on F1 sites keep repeating this completely fallacious claim.

"Exploiting technical loopholes" is just another way way of saying "stayed within the rules".

Did Mercedes "exploit a loophole"? No. They would not be going to court if such a loophole existed. Teams do not get referred to the Tribunal for exploiting loopholes.


"Red Bull exploited all sorts of technical loopholes with their car and won two races because of it. It was deemed illegal, yet they faced no real sanctions"

Redbull was not deemed illegal there was a clarification in the rules and you couldnt do it after that.

To compare what Mercedes has done to Redbull is not understanding the two situations.


So the rules were clarified out after they did it. Same can be said for the Mercedes test - they tested, its now been clarified that its not allowed and don't do it again. so we can move on?


Ferrari and RBR worked within the rules, although I agree with you that perhaps not within the spirit in some cases. But is inventing new technology like blowing or flexiwings that pass tests against the spirit of F1? We could discuss at length. F1 is all about innovation, and then FIA decides which innovation has gone too far, like blowing, flexi, movable aero, fancars, etc. etc.

It's the essence of F1 to push things to the edge technologically. This move unfortunately is over the edge because of the fact that it is not about developing technology but gaining advantage on others. Clear implications of preferential treatment, violation of car use, data gained and likely advantage for this year and next. And in F1 - it's all about data as you know Gerald.

I really think the answer is simple. Fine both a few million for the rule break and to cover costs of test for other 10. Force release of data to the teams. Allow a 1000km 3 day test at Silverstone after GP with same tires Mercedes got for all teams except Mercedes. And we can all move on from this in peace.



I just said use the fine to pay for the test. Everyone csn hang out at Silverstone a few extra days.


"let all the teams test" err.. the teams cant afford it


The problem with the flexi wings is very similar to the skirts F1 used to run during the 1981 season.

It was blatantly obvious that Brabham, and then the others, passed scrutineering in the pits when they had to comply with the 6cm rule that the skirts had to be above the ground, but when running on track, they flicked a switch and it kissed the track.

The front wing rules specified a minimum distance between bodywork and track, yet because of clever carbon-fibre assembly, they flexed down towards the track.

As in 1981, find me a scrutineer that can run at 200mph, and we'll disqualify the car.

Lachlan Mackinnon

I consider Paul Hembery, Charlie Whiting and Ross Brawn to be intelligent individuals who have excelled in their chosen professions.

So I ask myself how Mercedes, FIA and Pirelli find themselves in the situation their in? I can't believe Ross Brawn could honestly think he could run a 2013 current car and not think he's not breaking 2013 regs. He must believe/think his correspondence with Charlie sufficient to waive the current testing restrictions - or some sort of get out of gaol.

Then there is Pirelli - I fully sympathies with their position but to think you can bolt tyres to this years car for testing purposes without creating a storm - well you're dreaming.

With regard to the FIA - did Charlie clearly articulate what Mercedes can and can't do? Obviously not well enough - there must be gaps in the correspondence as Ross surely wouldn't go ahead with this sort of test without thinking he has an out.

The point I'm making here - I strongly believe everyone knows the rules and the intent of those rules. Someone is playing funny buggers here and I hope that the coming hearing will get to the bottom of things.

And don't forget everyone - we have a race in Canada this weekend!!!! 🙂


I agree, I have made a similar point on the various threads discussing this matter. I just don't get it, I can't see Ross Brawn sanctioning a completely unauthorised test and imagining it wouldn't get noticed. He must believe there was sufficient wriggle room, in the correspondence with the FIA, to allow the use of a 2013 car etc.

One other point. To all the posters who have already found them guilty and are discussing the appropriate punishment - I believe it is usually customary to wait for the evidence to be presented before reaching a verdict.


Well said Tim. Nice to see that there at some intelligent F1 supporters here.


The evidence is there, Tim. Mercedes has tested 1000 km with a 2013 car on the circuit of Barcelona with their racing drivers. This is against the rules. There's not much more to say about it as FIA already confirmed that the "permission" was conditional on all teams being offered to test, which didn't happen.


What if the unthinkable comes true? The day of the hearing comes and... BOOM!!! Pirelli and Mercedes disclose the telemetry and tyres and then Ross Brawn says: "We ran the W02 with a small modification requested by Pirelli. Then Hembery confirms this with sound evidence and also discloses the contracts with Nico and Lewis acting as "Pirelli testers"...

Oh boy!!! I hope it all comes to that!!! Horner's head would explote!!!


Thank you for your reply Kenney. Even though you are disagreeing with me, you have perfectly demonstrated my point - it's quite ironic really. You've made the case for the prosecution and reached a verdict - all without allowing the defence an opportunity to speak, or present their evidence.


Brawn and Mercedes were under pressure to be competitive. After the disaster of Lewis droping from 2nd on the grid to 12th in Spain, they took the risk.

My guess is that they had no idea what causes their problems and how to fix it and 1000km would bring them closer to finding out.

Like Gary Anderson said, why wait until Wednesday to test. Why wait 2 days (Monday and Tuesday) if the cars and the team is there? Obviously they needed everybody to leave and do their thing. Someone also mentioned the drivers had different helmet designs, but I couldn't find that anywhere.

In regards to Pirelli, well, they are in a bit of strong position because of a lack of other tyre suppliers for next year. Their image was being trashed with those delaminations and the very high wear on some cars, all the media articles and 80+ pit stops in a race. So, the same as Mercedes, they took a risk of doing this, even if they didn't had full aproval from the FIA and the rest of the teams. They couldn't care less it was a 2013 car.

And about FIA, I'm not sure they knew the intention was to test in Spain. FIA knows how hard is to get all teams to agree on something.

The FIA were asked by Pirelli to do a tyre test using a 2013 car at the begining of May.

FIA seems to have agreed on the test, as long as all other teams were being offered the same and since this usually takes ages to agree and then organize, I wouldn't think it would've been possible to test in Spain. Having not heard anything from Pirelli or any "noise" in the media about a possible test in Spain, I strongly believe FIA had no idea the test was going ahead in Spain.


The 'intent' of the rules doesn't enter into it. It comes down to your interpretation versus mine.

I agree with your comments that Brawn is smart enough to cover his back-side.


Hi James,

am just curious.. Does anyone know who leaked the story of the Mercedes Test. I have only read everywhere that it came out in the Drivers meet. But which driver leaked it.. was it one of the Mercedes Drivers. If so why would they let it leak out? I'm still puzzled..


I got an update from Sky. They now confirmed it was Nico who told Seb


"Anne Reply:

June 7th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

It´s Pirelli´s job to inform others about a test."

I'm not sure about that. Pirelli should've offered the other teams the option to test with a 2013 car (as requested by the FIA as a condition for the Mercedes test to take place), but I'm not sure they need to inform the other teams when a test within the rules takes place.

Pirelli sent an email in 2012 asking teams if they want to do a tyre test (I assume this involved a 2010 or earlier car). Nobody came forward until April 2013. Ferrari brought a 2011 car and did the test. I don't know if the rules say that Ferrari/Pirelli need to inform the FIA and the other teams that this test is taking place. Maybe they do in order for someone to police the car used is at least 2 years old and it's Pirelli who run the test and not the team.

I'm sure the teams know the procedures involving such tests.


How can teams avoid secrecy or a misunderstanding? Someone must imform them about a team testing. Who is asking to test? Pirelli. It is their test, their tyres and their engineers who are developing the tyres. They have to make sure that there is no room for possible problems.


So one of their own drivers boasting about it doesn't hold up well to the argument that they were trying to be secretive about it then.


Indeed not. All the more so if it was Nico - as others have pointed out ,Lewis has not always been the most discreet of drivers.


True. But we don´t know the entire dialogue between them. Vettel didn´t interrogate Rosberg about the test. They were talking. Somehow the issue came up. I guess Vettel should clarify that.


Yes, I too was wondering about the mention of who let the cat out of the bag. There were some stories that it slipped out at the drivers' briefing, but all all the media sources seem to be very quiet about who was the blabbermouth.

Nico Rosberg seemed to be on fine form all weekend, very positive and chipper, whilst Hamilton seemed rather below par all weekend. Perhaps a little withdrawn? Maybe it wasn't just Roscoe in the dog house that weekend.

Surely it couldn't be him? It's not like he has ever said anything daft before. Oh, hang on...

The strange thing is that I assume everyone in the media circus must know who said what in the drivers' briefing, but nobody seems to be spilling the beans.

Will we have to wait for the result of the tribunal for the FIA to wash all of the dirty linen in public?

Also, hypothetically, if Mercedes win in Canada, could any of the other teams protest the result based on them having gained an unfair testing advantage?

I had also heard that Jean Todt was reported to be 'furious' in Monaco when the story broke. Presumably because he was aware that the fall out of this story, and implications and ramifications for the rest of the season could be huge.

Plus it will cause considerable 'noise' in what has been quite a 'quiet' presidency so far.

Seeing as everyone is speculating about the outcome of a tribunal which hasn't happened yet, my tuppence ha'penny is that the Tribunal will gather all of the evidence and then deduce there has been a breach of the sporting regulations. The penalty will will involve a game of musical chairs, involving Lauda, Wolff, Brawn and Hembery. When the music stops, they will realise there is only one chair, Charlie Whiting is already sat in it, with Bernie on one knee and Jean Todt on the other. Sounds fair to me.

And maybe Mercedes will have to use their cars from 2011 for the next 1000km of racing, with tyres from 1993. Blindfold. And in a clown suit.

Life would be far more entertaining if I were on the Tribunal.


I was wondering this myself. I read somewhere that Lewis let slip on the Saturday night in Monaco but I don't believe that for a second.


Actually I heard it was Nico but this is not confirmed. If it were true it just verifies that there really was nothing secret about it and Merc were confident that they weren't doing anything underhand.


Merc never packed up after the race. It was obvious for all to see. They didn't hide at all which is strange to me. There was no secret location. It was done at the track after the race weekend.


Why would any other team care if Mercedes are packing their stuff or not? Since testing is banned, they can stay there as long as they want.

My questions would be why didn't they started the test on Monday? Why wait until Wednesday? Why waste 2 days in Barcelona with 2 drivers and a garage full of mechanics and engineers?

Could it be that on Monday various team personnel are still around the circuit?


Quite deceitful for Ferrari to do a secret test and then complain about Mercedes.....for that reason, FIA should dismiss Ferrari/Red Bulls crocodile tears.

It is not an acceptable answer to say that it was "Pirelli´s job to inform others about a test".

Are we to accept Ferrari's word that they gained no benefit from that test when know one was there to witness it?


It´s Pirelli´s job to inform others about a test.


And why did Ferrari conduct a secret test?


One of the commenters said they left the track, came back in white unmarket trucks.

Hearsay at it's best, but I believe it. 🙂



when I heard this little snippet I thought of you, as I know you like a laugh. Now tell me this isn't funny - According to Ted (from Sky F1), 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!

I crack a smile every time I think about it 🙂



This is a serious matter and needs to be resolved. It doesn't mean we can't have some fun with it. I say clearly the story is hearsay, and laugh at believing it. It doesn't mean it is it true. But it would sure make sense to go to a secret test with trucks that don't have giant logos and paintings of your car on the side, right? So it is a plausible story.

Let's not take it all seriously. My comment about Bond and reply to Bueller....well, they are for fun. Let's crack a smile once in a while!


If the trucks where white and unmarked. How did the 'witness' know it was Mercedes-AMG? It's just speculation and rumours. Generally your comments are much more thoughtful and intelligent. To be honest, I am surprised you have allowed yourself to become involved in this sort of gossip.


Apparently Saturday night in Monaco during a drivers briefing. One or both Mercedes drivers told Vettel about the test. That´s according to Sky.


Probable outcome - $100 million dollar fine less FOM income spread over X years (A slap on the wrist). F1 can't afford to upset Merc too much with the pending flotation and all that.


Agreed. I'm thinking this will be similar to the Mclaren Spygate punishment: Hefty fine and elimination of all constructor's points for the year.

I've heard some say "well just let everyone else test for 1000km, and then it's even". However, one of the main reasons that we don't test anymore is to save money. There will be teams on the grid who simply won't be able to afford this. Even if everyone could afford the testing, it wouldn't be equitable. The fact is that some teams wouldn't need the testing, and others (Mercedes apparently) would be desperate for it. It benefits some teams more than others.

You just can't change the rules just because one team broke them. It would be like allowing everyone to steal one item because I took a candy bar at the store without paying.


[mod] Anyone who defends them doing this is not a fan of F1 but a fan of Merc/Hamilton.

People who claim they gained nothing from it are also way out there. All that information gathered, forget the tyres, but the drivers handling the car, the car setup, reliability, etc etc, every millisecond of that 1000km test was documented by the computers.

And now Mercedes also uses blackmail like practices by mentioning last week how they can pull out of F1 if Bernie was charged with fraud.

They were basically saying "let this one go or we will go". Which would mean no Merc engines, no Hamilton, no Brawn etc.


wrongdoers should be prosecuted accordingly. really annoying that Ferrari was summoned for not breaching the rules


My understanding was the FIA wanted to hear from Ferrari to find out what they tested and how.

The question comes like this: if Pirelli had a 500km test with Ferrari a month earlier, why would they need another 1000km with Mercedes?

Also, I would think the FIA wanted to hear from both Ferrari and Mercedes exact details about who run the test. Pirelli or the teams. Who made the setup changes to the cars, who drove the cars, etc. These details will allow FIA to form a pretty good image of why the tests were needed, who benefited, how much they benefited, who run the tests, who got all the date and so on.


These teams could say anything after the event. We have only their word. The whole business of "secret" tests stinks. If the teams have nothing to gain from the test why not invite spectators????


Very good question Mr Johnson


I hope at the same tribunal they find out who was guilty of giving Fake PSY pit lane and paddock passes for Monaco.


James, will this tribunal thing be open to the public?

I ask because this whole thing looks to me like Mercedes vs. FIA if indeed Mercedes had some kind of "ok" from Charlie. It would be unfair to be the judge in a case you are involved in.


The FIA was informed of this in advance and OK'd it, probably without pay proper attention to it.

So it's the FIA's fault and 'they' should be punished. The punishment should also be suspended till 2014, as tests were targeted at that.


You are joking right?

Pirelli: Can we do a test with a 2013 car (Mercedes)?

FIA: OK, as long as all other teams are being offered the same oportunity!

How is it FIA's fault that Pirelli/Mercedes choose to ignore the condition attached the the FIA's approval of the test?



With respect, you appear to be making a great many assumptions based on a partial knowledge of what has taken place. You are also over simplifying the situation, in my opinion.

Until all the evidence has been presented and ,crucially, the communication between the FIA and Merc is known, no one is in a position to make any judgements.


If that is what the FIA said why did the other teams complain? surly they would say to Peirelli we can supply a car aswell.

People are getting exited thats it's Merc's fault, when the crucial eveidence is the email traffic betwen Charlie and Ross. untill that comes out im on the fence. If Merc got the go ahead from Charlie, the only fair outcome is to have a test on the week befor Silverstone for the others. If they didnt get the go ahead to use a 2013 car then Merc should be punished.

I dont think they will get a £100mil fine tho, hasnt it been qouted that the fine was £5mill for the offence and £95 mill for Ron being a t*~+!!


the other teams were not asked if they want to test with a 2013 car. They were asked in 2012 if they want to do a test and all teams thought it would be with a 2010 car the latest because that's what the rules say. The car needs to be at least 2 years old.

And some or most of the teams don't think is worth wasting the time and money testing with a 2 year old car, so nobody came forward.

That's the thing, I am not sure Merc and FIA talked about this test. Ross Brawn said in one interview that "it was Pirelli's test, so it was up to them to clear this up with the FIA".

Having said that, because the teams and Pirelli have different agreements with the FIA, Merc should've make sure whatever "go ahead" was given by the FIA to Pirelli doesn't break any of the agreements Merc has with the FIA.


Contractual obligations on the testing are between Pirelli and the FIA, not Merc.

Merc is just an invited guest in this agreement, as they are party to it.



But the Pirelli's agreement obviously overrules other agreements, as it introduces disallowed testing during the season.

The point here is that it's far from obvious that Merc is guilty.

Only a legal expert can prove this case for or against. Not the self anointed ones we've seen on this forum.


Merc has testing agreements with the other teams and the FIA too.

So you have to consider that Pirelli and FIA have a different agreement from the one the teams and the FIA have.

So even if the FIA gave the OK to Pirelli, Merc should make sure that by participating in this test, they don't break any agreements the teams have between them or with the FIA.


If it was a Pirelli test - which it was - how are Mercedes responsible for who is invited? Surely that is the role of the host.


Mercedes have some agreements in place concerning testing just like all the other teams right? So, irrelevant of who is the host of the tests, Merc need to make sure they don't break those agreements by participating in a test.


I just thought I would add that Mercedes were improving and getting the poles before the Barcelona tests!


This whole thing has come about because Pirelli has to conduct these tests in secret and explain later, thanks to the fact that the teams can't get their shit together and agree on terms of tyre testing.

They should bring back limited testing. This would allow tyres to be tested and test new drivers before throwing them in the deep end.

People are pretty quick to get on their high horse though judging Mercedes and Brawn. This is all part of the game and if you think that Red Bull and the rest of them aren't playing it, then you are naive in the extreme.


So they can then just break the rules with 1 team benefitting from it?

C'mon, who is naive there?


Did I say that they can break the rules? I'm just commenting on the general situation. Until all the facts come out though, I think it's a bit rich for people to be straight out questioning the integrity of Brawn etc and calling for a complete ban on Mercedes. This and other infractions (Red Bull's illegal car last year)are all part of a high stakes game that a bunch of highly intelligent people and engineers play. I will concede that this does on the face of it seem like a pretty dumb thing for Mercedes to do, but let's wait for the facts. Anyway, I will be personally happy for any penalty that benefits Kimi or Alonso!


If Ferrari and Red Bull can constantly get away with it, I don't see why Merc or any other team shouldn't get away with such things as well.

Alonso nearly clinched the 2010 Championship due to Ferrari violating the sporting regulation banning team orders. That corrupted the standings of the championship and Ferrari were fined $100,000 which is what they pay Alonso for a single day. For a supposed violation(Merc hasn't been deemed Guilty in court yet) that could possibly alter the championship standings, the FIA should remain consistent and give Merc a similar penalty to Ferrari.



Well said...


"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."

Ferrari's special commercial payments? How does that square with the above statement?


I do not think that fine is the right way to go here. It might be considered by other teams as an options...so you get 1000 test kms and more time with the current car for XXX$. This might become a cost element for them to consider.

Has to be something else....

sean thompson

Thanks JAonF1. You are the only site I could find that bothered to explain the timeframe in which the FIA tribunal will consider the matter. I assume that it will be considered within a maximum of 45 days from the issue of the recent statement with a decision issued shortly after.



have a read of the Jo Soucek article on pitpass

he explains what rules are in question and what the tribunal has to decide


'Jo' is actually a female. She writes quite a lot of stuff that's very good analysis.

sean thompson

Thanks Dave. A good read.


What I can't wait to get answered is this whole 'Secret test' issue.

On the one hand, logically you have people saying, did people not notice us pack up? The sound of an F1 car on a track cannot be missed etc.. it clearly not secret - all good points

On the other hand... nobody did no. I mean can you imagine an F1 car going around silverstone and nobody noticed... yet nobody did. In fact no journalist whatsoever noticed, know standard FIA approved journalist, including James Allen, new about it or reported it. Autosport new nothing... Mercedes never felt to just mention it to anyone whilst the race was being held that weekend which wouldbe no problem as they were gaining nothing? so in esscence it was in secret..

Strange how the two version conflict


The test was conducted 2 or 3 days after the race. There was no media there . All left the track right after the race. I guess some employee has to go there to turn the lights and clean the track after the test. But I don´t think that guy knows or a lot about what Mercedes and Pirelli were doing there. Maybe that guy could be a usefull witness. I don´t know who decides that


You can be sure Pius Gasso isn't getting a discount on his next E63 AMG.

However, I have a feeling perhaps a lifetime supply of Red Bull and 2 year free lease on a Ferrari may be in his immediate future. 🙂


Find it hard to believe Ross Brawn would go ahead with a test without being given the go ahead by the FIA

Pirelli must have been desperate to get some mileage on the 2014 tyres as they need to give the teams the 2014 spec in a few weeks, Paul Hembery was making noises about how tight the deadlines were for next year

The Renault/Lotus and Ferrari cars was so out of date they needed a current car, therefore the Mercedes was the ideal choice being the hardest on it tyres

The teams need to come together and agree a way forward for testing the following years tyres, maybe all the teams could've completed the test after the Spanish GP

Tornillo Amarillo

James, who is legally responsible for Mercedes for this, Brawn or Wolf?

It's strange Lauda is not talking about this Test-gate when he used to talk about everything.

And I would really like to know an analysis of some antecedents (facts) about former breaches and their decisions in F1 just to have a most accurate idea of what's going on this time, specific about test or similar (precedents from the Tribunal, case-laws). Otherwise, fans we just imagine too much...


It's not a legal matter.

It's a sporting matter. FIA has the jurisdiction. AMG F1 entity (owned by Mercedes) is liable for consequences.

No one is going to do hard labour in a camp for this. If it will be a fine, it will be likely deducted against Team profits, an expense partially or fully by deduction against taxes to be paid in UK - so in the end...UK citizens will pay the fine in part. 🙂

The point of interest here is what I talked about in the past a few times. Automobile maker having it's reputation damaged as an automotive brand by doing something underhanded. Perfect example of it here. Mercedes is clearly having it's name tarnished in this and it will be interesting to watch how FIA handle that part of it.

As a contract to my argument that RBR are the perfect F1 Team model, imagine it was RBR who did this? Would it matter? Would it damage their brand? Of course not. They make sugar drinks, and they did somethind underhanded in motorsport racing. One has nothing to do with the other. Where as Mercedes' activity in F1 is directly linked to it's brand and product in the market place. And right now their brand and their products aren't exactly being painted in a nice light. Not as bad as when world media reported that Mercedes had the worse rating at a 25% offset frontal collision test recently, but definately not good for the brand. And so Mercedes board will ask, hey, - what are we getting marketing value wise for all these millions we spend on F1? And right now, the answer is not that good. Even with recent string of poles and win in Monaco, what is everyone talking about? That's right...illegal tire test, Mercedes "cheated". Ouch.


"it will be interesting to watch how FIA handle that part of it."

Why? They had no hesitation dealing with Toyota and disqualifying them for a season in 1995 in the WRC for cheating.

Mclaren MERCEDES had constructors points removed in 2007

Renault and their bosses were pulled over the coals for Singapore crash gate.

Bernie last year, for his own reasons, played hardball with Concorde agreements, favouring Ferrari and Red Bull and dismissing Mercedes.

I don't think the FIA will be in anyway restricted by the name Mercedes.


Oh yeah...regarding Renault crashgate not spygate (too many gates, is this testgate?), they kept the points, kept the win too. Amazing how they put the FIA in a corner. Power has shifted. FIA is like a baby today...toothless. Worse case, they will gum you a bit. But no bites.



Toyota and WRC? Who cares?

2007 McLaren? Where could they go? F1 is their existence.

Renault Spygate? Sorry, Renault won that one. They dumped their team, fired with cause Flavio and told FIA fine us and we're out of F1 15 minutes with our engines, and also probably said - we won't pay the fine.

Mercedes - yeah..nothing big happens except bunch of cars lose engines and 2 cars are off the grid along with 2 top drivers. Come on...surely you can see the error of your views? 🙂

Tornillo Amarillo

For example, breaches and their decisions in the past, if drivers were also found responsible or just the team, if drivers had got immunities sometimes, in which case they got points off, etc.

Alistair Blevins

Taken at face value this is a clear breach of the rules, hence the tribunal summons.

However, nothing is ever clear cut in Formula 1.

Ross Brawn is certainly not averse to sailing close to the wind, but I don't think even he would have run the test if he didn't think he had express permission from the FIA.

Pirelli too also thought they had a justifiable reason to be running a current spec car.

As a result there is a lot of finger pointing going on between Pirelli, Mercedes and the FIA.

There's going to be plenty of arguments between the lines, and Mercedes will bring its full legal weight to bear.

Whilst I'd be surprised if Mercedes escape sanction, I firmly believe there will be plenty of egg left on the faces of Pirelli and the FIA too.


I love F1 politics almost as much as I love F1 racing. Can't wait for this one to play out.

Seán Craddock

If Pirelli are found guilty of favouring Mercedes how will they be punished? James has it ever happened before that a tyre supplier has been punished for something?


Both Mercedes and Pirelli have had changed stories since its leak, both covering themselves. Pirelli could request whatever, but it doesn't mean that a team should break the rules to give them it.

A 2 year old car is good enough to test the tires for falling apart, they can tune the rear or front wings to produce more down force than now, though the top speed will be compromised, they could break the test down to cover all basis. It won't be perfect, but if it was a test for safety then it would do.

So in my view Mercedes took the chance and have got caught, they have given themselves a huge advantage with gaining data to be compared with what they gathered during the race weekend. They should be thrown out of the championship if nobody gave them out right permission, if wires got crossed then a 3 race ban because they should of doubled checked as they was breaking the rules.



A 2 year old car is good enough to test the tires for falling apart, they can tune the rear or front wings to produce more down force than now, though the top speed will be compromised, they could break the test down to cover all basis. It won’t be perfect, but if it was a test for safety then it would do....

Surely if the test is for safety reasons, something a little better than 'it would do' might be preferable.


"Pirelli could request whatever, but it doesn’t mean that a team should break the rules to give them it"

Why not if Pirelli has a special agreement with the FIA that protects that team?


There is no protection. The agreement is to conduct a test. Pirelli should request the test. And Pirelli must tell all the other teams that a test is taking place. They didn´t do that. Why? Ironically because they didn´t want to creat a controversy and distrust among teams. That´s what Paul Hembery said a few days ago.


Paul Hambery said he didn´t ask Mercedes to bring their current car. Both Pirelli and Mercedes know it is not allowed. Why Mercedes believes they have the divine right to bring a current car for a test it´s something they now must explain to the tribunal.


Testing is NOT allowed during the season.

Pirelli has special agreement with the FIA.

Merc can't be expected to understand he in's and out's of that agreement.

Pirelli requests a Merc car, Merc provides knowing the Pirelli has an agreeemnt with FIA.

How on earth can this be Merc'c fault??

If Pirelli knew that their agreement does not overrule other restrictions, then they should have highlighted that to Merc and ensured adherence (well together with the FIA).


It all started with an utterly idiotic ban on in-season testing. And then in their infinite wisdom they mandated self-destructing tires that are to be "tested" on ancient machinery ! Baffles me that grown men can be so stupid..


This is spot on.


Because they are all trying to stop a dominant team. They banned testing because that was one of Ferrari´s best weapons. Now they are trying to stop Red Bull with banning of blown diffusers and this tyres nonesense. So in the end F1 ends up in a laberynth of all kind of contradictions.


" They banned testing because that was one of Ferrari´s best weapons"

Testing was banned primarily to save cost's. Testing was banned in 2009, Ferrari's so called dominance (In reality they only dominated 2 seasons, 2002/2004) had ended a few years before this.

The thing with testing was that teams spent a fortune on testing & a lot of times came away from a test having found virtually no performance gains.

We often see teams test new parts in Friday practice now & discover that the parts don't work as expected. Same thing used to happen all the time in the days of testing, except the teams had spent a fortune to go do the test.

Worth remembering that its the teams rather than the FIA who are now constantly voting down a return to testing. Jean Todt has said a few times he woudl like testing to return, However its the teams who have to pay for testing & since they know how much it all cost's its the teams who would rather see it remain banned.


Hi James ,

what abt a story like Michelin come back


ban Mercedes from FP1 for the next 5 races,

so at the end they equalize testing mileage...


The only thing equal there is the mileage, FP1 is a not the same as a Pirelli 2014 tyre test where the team has no access to data, doesn't know what tyres they are testing and isn;t allowed to alter setup and change parts.


What a blunder! Again. Like average people the FIA seem to never learn anything from past mistakes.

It goes like this: "Charlie, can we do some tyre testing? Yes sure, why not? Am not sure though, I haven't read all the 1000 pages of the rule book. Just do it! If there is a problem we'll take you to our tribunal where the nice chaps from Samoa and Burundi will be happy to fly to Paris and hear your case."


This is a request to appear before a tribunal, a court summons if you will, an oppertunity for Mercedes to protest their innocence and for all the facts of the test to be layed out for everyone to see. This is by no means an indication of guilt or breach of the sporting regulations. Lets see what the outcome is before jumping to conclusions.


I think is one, out of two possibilities:

1) Naiveness

Let's talk seriously here, Ross Brawn, Mercedes, TW.. all very clever and experient professionals and company. And we have in the same situation 2013 and 2014 possible sanctions, the possiblity of Mercedes do well next year with all the investment they are doing, could go really bad. I don't believe this situation is even possible...

2) They have this under control, and they will prove (by emails or any "space between the rules' words", that they (and pirelli) were fine on the interpretation and execution of the tests.


I cannot recall how many times in the past the Redbull pushed the regulation too far, scored victories & good point and then allowed to keep the points while the rules are modified. If there was a loophole in the rule it must be rectified, but it is silly to penalise Merc on future successes because they have identified the Tyre problem long time ago and have been working on it ever since. Three days will not suddenly give them the magic.


First post which makes sense.

Mercedes have been struggling with rear tyre wear ever since Schumacher joined the team.

Last year, up to Monaco, they were at the front, qualifying on pole and actually won in China.

Thereafter, they slowly fell backwards.

If they couldn't solve this problem in 16 days of testing pre season, why does anyone believe that 1000kms will make any difference now.

Even before anyone knew about this secret test, many people and drivers were calling Mercedes favourite for Monaco. Not simply because of their pace in qualifying, but also because of their pace in the 3rd sector of Barcelona.

In fact, how many of us speculated that they would qualify 1-2 and then one lead whilst the other held the field up, this in addition to the fact that Monaco has always been easy on tyres.


+1 Hero.

makes alot of sense! Agreed that Merc might have felt there was something to gain for them to go all out on this tests. has anyone ever thought maybe that something to gain might have been nothing other than helping Pirelli get the tyre issues spot on, seeing how a combination of too aggressive tyres (probably tested with a car that is not representative of any car on the current grid) and a car that is too hard on its already aggressive tyres is robbing them of valuable points in the championship?

Pirelli: Merc we need you to help us get the tyres right for 2014

Mercedes: we will help you but you need to take care of the FIA angle for us first. is there a loophole in we might exploit?

what is more baffling is that if these Pirelli tests result in the Merc getting rid of its tyre issues, then no one else on the grid can complain about tyres affecting races again but then maybe some of the teams just need something to complain about all the time


but then maybe some of the teams just need something to complain about all the time...

If you can't make your car faster, then make the opposition slower. Mercedes are starting to worry the front runners and this tyre business presented a golden opportunity to knock them back down a peg or two.



I am confused. I was under the impression from our previous 'conversation' that you were part of the pitchfork and torch carrying mob, who are screaming for Ross Brawn and Mercedes to be publicly flogged, hung drawn and quartered.


Because 16 days in chilling weather is useless, unless you understand the core mechanics and ideas you are following. That is exactly what happened to Merc, they had absolutely zero idea why they have a problem even by Spanish GP.

Sounds to me, they need some new brains in couple of their engineering departments.


Its a sad day really,when a President of

FIA namly Mr Jean Todt became the Executioner

to his right hand that shared the most successful era in F1 while in Ferrari namly

Ross Brawn,it must be more to it for Todt to

take this action,is it to proctet his own

back side or he never like Ross the way we

were meant to believe.

One feels Ross Brawn will leave the scene in not to distant future, Pirelli's Mr Hambery

position demanded to know the rules,he turn

the blind eye. thus his future with the

Company is in dire stright,and out of all

this somthing good will come out ,for the

sake of F1 and motor racing in general let

hope that will be the case.


I don't see how this should hit Brawn, unless board of Merc decided so.

Toto Wolf, is clearly responsible for this, he is the one who take care of this matters - this is what he was hired for. It's either his incompetence or ambition that got Mercedes in this situation.


It should be Wolf. However in Mercedes with all the changes the have made recently at the top it´s not easy to tell who is in charge of what. And I think that´s part of this mess now.


Interesting to see Brawn and Lauda weasel their way out of this one

Stephen Taylor

Why didn't pirelli use the Life L190? Just a thought.


Cos 1min off the pace and could never get 1000km out of one?


Dont like the look of Merc under Wolf and Lauda. Why Merc brought them and what are they doing?


Brand exposure 🙂 they doing great!


Looking towards 2014:

- Michelin might replace Pirelli and have tire compounds which are very durable akin to the Bridgestone era. Tires will however not be a topic as the new regulations will shake up the order and make for interesting racing.

- Ross Brawn will likely take the blame if Mercedes are punished and move out of Mercedes.

All revved-up

Let's give Mercedes a chance to explain their side of the story.

If we F1 fans can't even keep an open mind on F1 matters, what chance has humanity to rise above politically designed religious, racial and ideological conflicts.

It seems like some have already acted as judge and jury even before listening to the evidence Mercedes has yet to present.

Personally I feel Mercedes has breached the sporting code. But let's listen to why they think they haven't, before hanging them.


When you take a step back and think big picture, this whole situation is simply ridiculous.

An International Tribunal because a racing team did a couple of days testing, due to the fact a tyre supplier is given no means of testing their tyres.

To outsiders F1 must look like a complete joke at the moment. F1's leadership needs to address some more fundamental issues with the sport, not just the one at hand here.


"due to the fact a tyre supplier is given no means of testing their tyres."

There allowed under the regulations to use test tyres during Friday practice of race weekends, Its something they hardly ever take advantage of.

If you want to see testing return then be ready to lose another 4-5 teams & see another 3-4 rendered totally uncompetitive as right now only 1-2 teams can actually afford to go testing, Thats why it was banned, Virtually nobody can afford to do it.


There's a lot to be annoyed about in this saga, but Pirelli's constant dishonesty is starting to tick me off. In particular their stubborn insistence that "This test was not in any way a secret!"

This story only came to light when one of the Merc drivers - which one is still unclear - inadvertently let the cat out of the bag while talking with the other drivers. Of COURSE this test was secret.

In fact Pirelli still refuse to say anything about the Ferrari test, citing "confidentiality". Pirelli to this day will not even admit that Ferrari were the team involved in that test! But don't you dare suggest that they are anything but open and transparent ...

Never mind their dreadful tyres, Pirelli deserve to be fired because they are dishonest and untrustworthy.


All this talk of 'current car' 'two year old car'

Come on guys, Martin Brundle pretty much said the test cars, how ever old, are adapted to be very close to current specs aerodynamically anyway.

Everything in F1 is about secrecy, it's about who can get away with what, we've seen this all before.


I thought the explanation given by Pirelli's Paul Hembrey was quite reasonable and logical. Paraphrashing, he said Pirelli needed a newer car to test tires for next year. They felt a car from previous seasons, that is a couple seconds slower, was not a good representative of how the would be used. They needed a more accurate platfom (i.e., current car) to see how the tires would perform. The test was a blind test, so Mercedes didn't know specifics about the tires.

Now, whether that's the whole story or not, remains to be seen. But, it does sound like a very reasonable explanation. Basically, how else could Pirelli get good data to construct tires if they can't replicate race conditions? Although cars seem so similar year to year, it's clear that even minor differences in aero, geometry, etc., can have big effects on tire wear. Pirelli needs to have some way to test the right conditions.

Did Mercedes gain any extra insight on this year's car by running the test? Seems quite possible. But, if the FIA approved the test, is that Mercedes' fault? Any team would have done the same, given the opportunity.

It'll be interesting to see how this falls out, as/if more information becomes public.

Personally, I hope this all comes to nothing. I'm not a big fan of scandal in the sport and would just as soon see all this blow over and not have a team get penalized. Doesn't matter that it's Mercedes, it could be any team and I'd wish the same.


"The test was a blind test, so Mercedes didn’t know specifics about the tires."

Nico Rosberg said in the press conference earlier that he knew what tyres were been tested.

"They needed a more accurate platfom (i.e., current car) to see how the tires would perform."

How would a 2013 car help with 2014 tyres given how totally different 2014 F1 cars/engine's are going to be?

Pirelli could/should have done any 2013 tyre testing in Friday practice at race weekends, as there doing this weekend with tyres they hope to introduce in a few races time.


As I replied to Steve, a good point. And, again, what I posted first was paraphrasing what I heard Paul Hembrey say. If Nico is contradicting that, then perhsaps there is more to this case.

As for the 2013/2014 car thing, the explanation I heard was that the levels of downforce and performance characteristics of the 2013 car should be closer to the 2014 cars than earlier years' cars that can be a couple seconds off the pace of the 2013 cars.

And, I agree, Pirelli probably could have handled the testing situation better. But, that's mostly irrelevant, as the crux of the case hinges on whether the FIA knew what was to happen and whether they approved it. If they did, then how Pirelli conducted the test and with whom doesn't matter.

We shall see...


Pirelli also said that they never asked for the 2013 car, that this was all Merc's idea. And that blows a gaping hole in your theory.

" ..if the FIA approved the test .."

If the FIA approved the test then the FIA would not have sent Mercedes and Pirelli to appear before the International Tribunal.


Good point. If that is the case, then there may be more to this than Pirelli and/or Mercedes have represented. We'll see when the FIA hears the case.

By the way, I was not proposing a theory. I was just paraphrasing what I read from Paul Hembrey. It may blow a gaping hole in his explanation, however.


Is there some kind of unwritten rule that all F1 reporting of this story must describe it as a 'secret' test?

Is that the kind of secret my 4 year old keeps, or rather doesn't?


Well it wasn't known about by any of the other teams or by any of the media, so that counts as a secret in my book!


Pirelli should have informed all the teams and the FIA. Pirelli should have also said something if Mercedes could not use the car they did.

The fault is Pirelli's on both counts;

- not informing people of the test, if that is actually true, which I doubt. Was everyone informed of the Ferrari test? First we heard of it was when this came up. Till then the Ferrari test was "secret" as far as the world was concerned.

- letting Mercedes use the car they used instead of telling them to use a different car.

Since when did a tyre company running a test expect everyone else to do their job for them? Why is it down to Mercedes to tell everyone what they are doing if Pirelli can't be bothered? Do Mercedes have a sign above their garage saying "Pirelli's messenger boys?" No.

Renault cheat and get away with it. They deliberately cause a crash and get nothing more than a slapped wrist, a few token sackings and all is well again. Nobody even took them to task over their treatment of the real Lotus team, despite their blatantly vindictive behaviour towards them and using the black and gold livery just to rub it in. All wrong, and no other reason for it than bitchiness and spite.

Ferrari cheat and get away with it. Funny how their test has only just come to light, it wasn't exactly advertised, but they get off scot free. Apparently if you are Ferrari you don't have to be Pirelli's messengers.

Soon as it's McLaren or Mercedes though, everyone wants to burn them at the stake. So no change there then.

Would it be too much for F1 to stop insulting the intelligence of their fans with spin and half the story, and tell the truth for once? We've only been waiting 60 years.


I hear you Anne, but I have reservations about what you are saying, because all of it sounds like guesswork. Not blaming you for that but let's be honest, we're all guessing here.

First of all we don't know how much of what anyone has said is true. F1 is so full of politicians' answers and doublespeak, which sound good but say nothing, that I am beginning to doubt that any of them could tell the truth if they were strapped down under oath and injected with a guaranteed truth drug 🙂

If Pirelli did not tell people it is absolutely their fault and Mercedes, Ferrari and any other team they worked with are blameless. That has been my point all along. Singling out Mercedes for this is wrong, but that is what the other teams and the media are still doing. They are still doing it now.

You say Merc talked to the FIA about the car to use, but were just exchanging ideas and nothing was agreed. Sounds plausible, but do you know this for a fact or is that speculation? Why should Mercedes have to ask the FIA at all? It was the job of Pirelli to make sure they complied.

The rest of what you say may be true as well but without evidence for it, it's still a case of if, if, if. It may be true, it may be reasonable, but I don't take unbacked assertions or guesses as facts, and my fear is that whatever gets revealed by this tribunal, we as the fans will only hear half the story, if that.

Still, as we are guessing I may as well put my own speculation in. This just what I think from my own observations. I am not trying to pass any of it off as fact because I don't think that any opinions are facts without the evidence to back them up, including mine, but for what it's worth;

My own feeling is that this is sour grapes, especially from Red Bull and Vettel in particular. They've become so used to success they have become sore losers. Mika Hakkinen, when he lost his crown to Michael, said to be a good winner you have to be a good loser too. Neither Red Bull nor Vettel fit that description in any way.

Vettel is acting like a child throwing his toys out of his pram because he's not running away with it any more, and this season is showing his long suspected weaknesses when he can't lead from the front. Sometimes he has been good at fighting his way through the pack, other times you see him doing reckless overtake attempts and giving up if he can't get past people straight away. He is outclassed by all his rivals in this respect, including his team mate. Anyone can overtake when the guy in front turns his engine down 🙂

Red Bull have lost their dominance even though they are still in the lead, and I think they are scared that

a) this year they won't just walk away with it, and

b) next year the manufacturing teams will have the advantage, at least to start with. Sure, Red Bull will be considered Renault's main team, but they will still have to build a car around whatever Renault give them.

Mercedes in particular should have a very good overall package and are already being touted as the team to beat next year, so this is nothing more than an attempt to try and rock the boat and put them off their development plan for 2014, or at least claim that next year's car is the result of "illegal" testing this year and hinder development that way.

Ferrari should be strong as well and even Lotus might do better with a Renault engine than Red Bull. Perhaps even to the point where Renault consider them to be their main team for development instead.

When Honda come in as well, Renault will likely be the slowest in a straight line. They won't have their dominant traction out of corners to compensate because that will be negated by the masses of extra torque all the cars will have on corner exits, thanks to the ERS and other changes.

Coming back to this year, we have already seen the price of that dominant traction out of corners - heavier tyre wear. I suspected that all along but it seems to be getting proved now. It didn't matter when the tyres lasted but now they don't, and Red Bull are stuck with a car that is heavier on tyres and very hard to change. Lotus have managed to get that traction as well now but without the tyre wear, and that must be bothering Red Bull too.

With so much invested in their current design, the other teams catching them and a whole redesign job needed for next year, Red Bull don't know where they will be in the second half of this year, let alone in 2014 - and they don't like it.

So if they can't beat their rivals honestly on the track they just stir up trouble off the track, to try and derail them. Which is just sad and comes across as sore losers lashing out instead of just sucking it up, getting their heads down and dealing with it.

Tough. You reap what you sow. If you can't lose with grace you can't win with grace either. Simple as that.

That's my tuppence. Make of it what you will.


Phill according to the rules if a team is conducting a test it is Pirelli who must tell to all other teams. Why didn´t they do it? Well Paul Hembery have said recently that he wanted to avoid a controversy and second guessing among teams.

It is very clear Pirelli made matters worst

The rules say a current car is not allowed. However Mercedes talked to FIA about it. But they were exchaging ideas and possibilities on the matter. FIA put conditions on testing with a current car. Now if you read FIA´s statements they said they never gave Mercedes an official and clear go ahead about the current car. According to FIA all they did with Mercedes was to talk about a possible test

Ferrari used an 2011 car. If they asked FIA to use their current car they were told not to do it.But if Pirelli didn´t tell all the other teams about the test well that´s Pirelli fault. However in the last FIA´s statement FIA said they asked also OTHER TEAMS to bring information they have about Mercedes and Ferrari test. I don´t know what other teams informed FIA but certanly they didn´t have a problem with what Ferrari did.


Anne, there is no contradiction. I did not say Ferrari cheated by not telling anyone about the test. You need to read more carefully.

I actually said that it was not advertised, meaning that nobody told us about the Ferrari test, not until the Mercedes test came up. Did you know about the Ferrari test before the Mercedes test hit the news? No, and nor did anyone else. I don't see how that is any less "secret" than the Mercedes test.

The difference being that Ferrari don't get accused of cheating for not telling people, and Mercedes do. Note the word accused because it's the important one. That was my point, not the one you invented for me. No contradiction involved.

As for Mercedes not being blamed - really? All the news articles for the last 2 weeks have been holding them jointly responsible with Pirelli for not informing people. And the other teams think so too, from their comments.

In other words, everybody is blaming Mercedes for that, yet nobody thinks Ferrari had any responsibility to do the same. And that's a clear and present bias. Bias should not dictate proceedings, but it is doing so, and even if I am wrong about that, I am not alone in that perception, so F1 should be addressing that instead of treating the opinions of the fans with its usual contempt.

As far as the car Mercedes used is concerned, that was also Pirelli's job to tell them if they couldn't use it. Instead, Pirelli told them it was all cleared with the FIA. Which also makes it Pirelli's fault, nobody else's.

I welcome your views and am happy to discuss them with you. What I don't welcome is your misrepresentation of mine, intentionally or otherwise. Hope this clarifies my position for you.


No. A lot of the Renault staff stayed on, including Eric as team leader. Eric was, with that idiot Dany Bahar, directly responsible for the shabby treatment of Lotus. Don't try and absolve people of it who still work there. They are far from blameless.


You´re contradicting yourself. On one hand you said Pirelli needed to tell other teams and not Mercedes. And on the other hand you said Ferrari cheated because they didn´t tell other teams about their test. Guess what? That´s also Pirelli´s job. It is Pirelli who should tell everyone about any test of any team. Nobody is blaming Mercedes for that. What Mercedes did wrong is to used a current car

Seán Craddock

Don't blame Renault for the Lotus naming row! Yes it's the Enstone team, but Renault left at the end of 2010 and it was only then that the team changed livery/name (Yes in 2011 the chassis was named Renault but that's just because of the rules, kinda like Jordan in 2005)


I say let Pirelli hold (and pay for the circuit) a 3 day test for all teams.


Based on this article, http://en.espnf1.com/mercedes/motorsport/story/109812.html, Merc drivers new what they were testing. This is in contrast to what Pirelli (and Merc execs) said. Hole is getting deeper and deeper.


I would seriously doubt that.

Last year when Jaime Alguersuari was official Pirelli tester doing the tests in a 2010 Renault he told me he wasn't told exactly what he was testing, only some directions.


Would it not make sense to have Jaime drive whatever car Pirelli is testing with?


That would be a hell of an effort, as Jaime has to get used to the car, the controls, find a good way to communicate with the engineers, etc.

Using a driver who's already accustomed to the car and who knows how it behaves normally with the tyres that they use in the Granss Prix is certainly a lot easier and also more useful.


I think James said it best when he called this whole circus dysfunctional. No Concorde agreement, no tire supply contract, insufficient testing, and only three engine manufacturers.

Everyone involved has multiple agreements with multiple parties. There is no boss, just a collection of individuals all holding veto power. Everyone must agree in order to move forward.

Considering that James has already heard the sound of the new V6 turbo, I’m surprised that no one has suggested that Mercedes was not only testing the 2014 tires, but they were also testing the new power train in the 2013 chassis.


Rosberg has now said that he knew which tyres he was testing, contradicting the claims from Pirelli.

I hope the Tribunal calls Rosberg and Hamilton to testify and does not simply take statements from the Mercedes and Pirelli lawyers.


And probably there is no contradiction at all.

Rosberg knew what he was testing: Yes, he knew he was testing "Tyre A", "Tyre B" or "Tyre C". So this may obviously be true without contradicting Pirellis claim that the team didn't know which tyre they were testing, as Pirelli might have meant the team didn't know whether Tyre A, B or C would the one that was the closest to the new constructions that were planned to be used on canada or 2014.


Please, the drivers didn't know the tires they were testing?! This must be a new height in ridiculousness. some things are in no need of substantiation, i.e. I sailed across the globe, OH but, have you ever seen water?

The tires are different colours for gods sake, unless Pirelli brought unmarked tires... give me a break!


..."Although Rosberg refused to comment on speculation that both he and Hamilton wore 'anonymous' helmets during the test, the German was more forthcoming on its purpose but raised plenty of eyebrows after claiming he knew what type of tyres were deployed on his W04.

"Of course, I was aware of what their ideas were and what they were testing because I needed to know that to be able to pinpoint for them what was going on," he said."...



Listen to Nico Rosberg here telling us tonight on the BBC 5 Live F1 show what he knew about the tyres he was testing.

It's around 10 mins in to the podcast



Can we believe him?

Lewis made AMG F1 driver statements inadmissible thanks to being in "Miami".


Has he? I've not heard him say that


Apparently yes. During the press conference he confirmed that both him and Lewis were the drivers. When asked about the rumor about the annonymous helmet he didn´t confirmed nor deny. Then some questions about tyres came up. Nico said he was awared of the tyres because Pirelli needed feedback from him about the behaviour of the tyres. So it looks like he knew something. I got this from Sky website. Of course you have to check


That seems kinda strange, surely Merc would have at least told their drivers to say nothing in light of an ongoing investigation

Or has something ticked Nico off somewhere along the line. if not then his comments have exposed the team and done him no favours

Seán Craddock

ESPN are reporting it


Hearing from an FOM guy who's in Montreal that something very significant has come out relating to the test which is going to "blow up" tomorrow.

Craig in Manila

So, now the lawyers will get (further) involved and the whole thing will degenerate into semantics and word-play.

Here's how I see it ending :

Q. Did Mercedes conduct a test and, by doing so, contravene F1 regs ?

No. Pirelli arranged and conducted a test. As Mercedes were not testing their own car but were instead "loaning" it and their infrastructure to Pirelli for their own purposes, no rule has been broken by Mercedes.

Q. Did Pirelli breach its contract with F1 ?

No. In 2012, Pirelli advised of intention to test tyres with a current car and invited all teams to express interest in participating. Pirelli will say that they are not obliged to re-advise and re-invite every team every time that they want to do it : once was surely enough.

End of story.

Q. Were Mercedes and Pirelli aware that this whole thing would be seen as "smelly" but, by planning it properly, they could get away with it unpunished ? Yep, I reckon so.


Funnily enough in my job as a tester I would be fired if I tested a new component against an old platform not currently in use and then it all "Blew Up" (pun only intended if you're amused by it).

I think this whole episode could just be to force the situation and make teams and the FIA gree on sensible tyre testing regulations that won't leave F1 in this mess in future.

In my opinion Mercedes will get a slap pn the wrist and hopefully some heads will be knocked together after this.


Tell me again what FIA stands for? Ferrari get let off even before the case goes to court

Liam of Sydney

Why would they? They have done nothing wrong.


I'm not a massive merc fan but I find it hard to believe that in an organisation like themselves they would drop a real clanger and make a mistake like this.

I dont know, something doesnt quite add up thats for sure. I dont think this is going to be as straight forward as it might seem at the present. Vettel will be smiling all the way to Brazil.

Liam of Sydney

They didn't make a mistake. They knew exactly what they were doing, and damn the consequences. In my opinion, they were even skipping the help this gives them for 2013 and looking to what their drivers could learn for 2014. Any help, no matter how small, is still help.


I think the whole saga stinks of Toto and Mercedes group for some reason and Ross Brawn will be used as the scape goat for brand damage limitation, got to remember there are a hell of a lot of Mercedes C