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Mercedes grilled at International Tribunal
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Jun 2013   |  4:30 pm GMT  |  348 comments

Mercedes and Pirelli appeared today before the first ever sitting of the FIA International Tribunal, under chair of judges Edwin Glasgow QC, an experienced lawyer in FIA hearings.

Glasgow said the judgement will come ‘by tomorrow.’

The team was there to answer a charge that it had breached the F1 Sporting Regulations by testing a current car during the season. Tyre supplier Pirelli was also called to explain why it did not open the test up to other competitors.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner surprised everyone by making an appearance in person as an observer, while several other teams sent legal observers.

It was the FIA’s turn to speak first, with Mercedes following and then Pirelli. In addition to lawyers, Ross Brawn represented Mercedes, Paul Hembery Pirelli and the FIA’s Charlie Whiting was also there.

The FIA case
The FIA stated its case, which was that Mercedes had not been given permission to test with a 2013 car, as had been claimed.

The FIA lawyer, Mark Howard QC argued that the only the World Motor Sport Council had the power to authorise something which goes against the rules.

Mercedes asked the FIA’s Charlie Whiting via telephone in on May 2 if they could use a 2013 car for a Pirelli test and he consulted with FIA in house lawyer Sebastian Bernard, who said that it was possible provided that Pirelli invited all the other teams to test and to show that it had done so.

“There was no attempt whatsoever by Mercedes to involve the other teams in order to ensure that no perception of an advantage was obtained,” the FIA’s lawyer Mark Howard said.

He added that Whiting told Mercedes’ Ross Brawn of the FIA’s stance to the principle of using a 2013 car in a Pirelli test, but also indicated him it was not a binding commitment from the FIA. Only the World Council had that power, he underlined.

“Whether or not Whiting consented, it is irrelevant, because testing in relation to Article 22 is a breach, unless it [a rule change] is granted by the World Motor Sport Council,” he said.

“This communication (Whiting’s message to Brawn) was not an agreement by the FIA – it was nothing more than Whiting and Bernard’s interpretation of [article] 22.”

The FIA also argued that Mercedes’ enquiries were vague rather than specific and that they were wrong not to follow up with Whiting with an explanation of the test they planned to carry out.

Howard claimed that Mercedes must have derived benefit from the test, “It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that some defect would have become apparent in the three days track testing, and it cannot seriously be suggested that Mercedes would not seek to remedy that defect,” he said.

Mercedes’ case
Ross Brawn spoke for Mercedes. The thrust of his argument was that the test was not conducted by Mercedes, it was conducted by Pirelli.

Mercedes’ QC Paul Harris said, “This was not a test undertaken by Mercedes. They are critical words in text of (Sporting Regulation) Article 22 – ‘undertaken by’. The Pirelli test was not a test ‘undertaken by’ Mercedes. It is irrefutable it is a test ‘undertaken by’ Pirelli.”

Harris also went on the offensive, trying to argue that if Mercedes was in the wrong, then the Ferrari test which took place in Barcelona a few weeks before Mercedes, using a 2011 car with Pedro de la Rosa at the wheel, was also in breach of the rules.

“It does not follow that if Ferrari runs on track a 2011 car, that that 2011 car does not conform substantially to either the 2012 or 2013 regulations. There was only 0.5s difference between the 2011 cars and 2013 cars, showing the changes between 2011 and 2013 are minuscule in terms of performance.”

Harris claimed that the test, and another test apparently conducted last season with a two year old car by Felipe Massa, were subject to a lack of transparency and that there had been an exchange of information after that test between Mr Hamashima, Ferrari’s tyre specialist and Pirelli.

Under cross examination, after the initial submissions from all three partied had been heard, Brawn argued that Mercedes had derived no competitive benefit over its rivals from the opportunity to test tyres for three days, “I don’t see how,” he said. “We didn’t know what the tyres were; we didn’t know what the detail objectives were of what Pirelli were doing. We always work on the principle that no information is better than bad information. I don’t see how we could have used any data from that test.”

However when cross examined further he admitted that the team must have learned something from an opportunity to run its current car for three days, “I think that is unavoidable, and was a consideration taken into account when we had permission from the FIA to do the test. But it does need to be kept in proportion.”

Mercedes also argued that the way F1 works, the opinion of Whiting is biding on all technical queries, such as whether a new innovation can be used on a car, so why should it be any different for sporting matters?

Mercedes did apologise for the impression of secrecy created by the drivers wearing black helmets, disguising their identity, “We regret now the decision of our drivers to wear black helmets and we apologise, ” said Harris. “We had our reasons – it was about the lack of bodyguard and security personnel. We do acknowledge that this part of the test aroused suspicions and it is regrettable.”

Pirelli’s case

Pirelli was unhappy about being drawn as a co-respondent into this Tribunal, as it is not a competitor and felt it was not subject to the disciplinary process.

The FIA’s reason for bringing them in was the lack of transparency over the test and lack of opportunity given to the other teams,

“None of the other 2013 competitors were invited to participate in the test or observe. None of the other 2013 competitors was aware that the test was to take place. Without the knowledge, consent and participation of other competitors, Mercedes and Pirelli may have engaged in activity that was prejudicial to the competition.”

* At the end of the hearing Mercedes’ lawyer asked for leniency in the event that the team is found to be in breach of the rules. He suggested that a suitable punishment would be for Mercedes to miss the three day young drivers test at Silverstone next month.

History shows that advising courts how to punish does not generally lead them to follow the suggestion. It also indicates that Mercedes feel they may have come out on the wrong side of this one.

If that is the case, expect to see pressure on Ross Brawn’s position from both within Mercedes and the sport as a whole.

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yes, i too got this wrong as i in no way saw this coming. i doubt very much if this is the end of the story though.

in light of the evidence led by the FIA, the tribunal sought to ameliorate the charges and instead levy an ‘sentence’ that in no way reflects the benefits gained by mercedes.

ferrari comments make it painfully obvious that they are not happy either. why should they be? to date i haven’t read any red bull statements but it will be back to the drawing board now to see just how far they can go.


“At the end of the hearing Mercedes’ lawyer asked for leniency in the event that the team is found to be in breach of the rules. He suggested that a suitable punishment would be for Mercedes to miss the three day young drivers test at Silverstone next month.

History shows that advising courts how to punish does not generally lead them to follow the suggestion.”


They followed it this time. A ban from the young drivers test for Mercedes, and reprimands for Mercedes & Pirelli has all the hallmarks of a face-saving exercise, with the punishment not unduly harming either guilty party.


Yes indeed.

Got that one wrong. Never second guess a legal process!!


It wasn’t a criticism of you, James, more an observation that the Mercedes lawyer’s suggestion seemed to offer an acceptable face-saving way out for all concerned.

The punishment neutralises the advantage the team obtained for taking part in the test but, crucially, not the drivers. There is no escaping the fact that the current Mercedes drivers have obtained approximately 3.5 GPs worth of extra track time, between them, over their rivals.

As an aside, full marks to you James for actually reading these comments and replying. If only some others (*Ahem, cough*, Andrew Benson)did the same.


I heard Red Bull were offered to take part in the test, but refused, so what’s the deal with Pirelli not offering to other teams when they did?


Red Bull were due to do a test, I’m told, but not sure what car they would have brought.


Possible penalty:

Mercedes is forced to fire the drivers who benefitted from the test and has to do it with Schumacher and Frenzen for the rest of the season.


The thing I find most astonishing about this whole scenario is that Mercedes were able to run a car around the Barcelona track for 3 days and nobody noticed.

Until the story broke at Monaco, I don’t recall any reports in the press of Mercedes cars being seen running on track at Barcelona. Racetracks are huge, and whilst there is a fence around the entire complex, it’s not contained in the way a football stadium is. Add into the equation the unique sound an F1 car makes, and that there would have been hundreds of people on site clearing up after the Spanish GP and it seems astonishing that the whole test passed unreported, but it seems it did.

I also don’t remember the previous Ferrari test being reported in the press. Perhaps James or someone can confirm if this was the case, but it seems it is possible to run an F1 car for 3 days and it go unreported.

I think they genuinely thought nobody would find out, and it seems they almost got away with it.

Roscoe's Fault

Tomorrow they will reveal that the penalty is that Roscoe will be banned from the paddock.

It’s all Roscoe’s fault!


just off the wall….but are pirelli OEM suppliers to mercedes benz passenger vehicles?

imagine a scenario where brawn tells lauda and wolffie that they are doing a 1000km test for pirelli. L & W would then ask what is in it for them to put extra kilometrage on their precious cars. brawn says….absolutely nothing to be gained from us doing this…absolutely zero. nada.

does anyone give this scenario any oxygen?

Craig in Manila

Pirelli will get away with it on that basis that they “advised” all teams.

Mercedes will get away with it as (1) it’s not their role to advise the other teams and (2) they had what appeared to be a valid go-ahead from Charlie.

Ferrari will get away with it as (1) the cars were not supplied by Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team (they were provided by Ferrari Spa being the owners of all retired Ferrari F1 cars) and (2)the chassis involved were from 2011 irrespective of any mods that were made.

Overall :

– Charlie will get a slap for saying something that he shouldn’t have said

– F1/FIA will have to re-word their rules to take out the loopholes and grey-areas

– All the lawyers will go home happy-chappies

Of course, I could be totally wrong (except for the part about the lawyers).

Adrian Newey Jnr

Doesn’t Charlie have close ties to Bernie, having worked for him at Brabham? And doesn’t Bernie have an axe to grid with Mercedes for not signing the Concorde Agreement and holding up the floatation of the sport?


The whole thing is just a Racing Incident.

FIA left the door slightly open; Mercedes (or Ross who appears to have the bigger bollocks) went for the gap; the door closed; both parties are out and looking silly.

Slag each other off in the press.

Next race.



succinct, perhaps a little inelegant, but succinct nonetheless.


I’m wondering why there aren’t rules to say that a test of any sort can only be conducted in the presence of a representative of the FIA or whoever. If Merc/Pirelli said they were testing an old car and then actually ran it with the 2013 car, if no one opened their big mouth about it, would anyone know? If Pirelli spent all 1000km running 2013 tyres, would anyone know?

It should pretty much stop at, “You did a test at which we had no representative present. Regardless of what you claim, we can’t be sure of what went on at the test.” At which point a severe penalty of some sort would be dished out.


what exactly is charlie whiting’s role and what powers does he have?

time and again charlie has been asked to provide an opinion on something, the team who asked the question relied on it, and then there has been a protest. that’s not exactly what happened in this instance, but it does beg the question.

if the stewarts, or indeed the FIA, can adopt a different interpretation of the rules to what charlie has done, and “charlie approved it” is not a valid defence, then what is the point of asking charlie at all?

if i call my bank or telephone company or any other organisation, ask them something and am given a response, i expect the response to be reliable and dependable – none of this “this is my interpretation of the rules but the outcome will depend on what other people in my organisation ultimately decides”.


Charlie Whiting is the race director, Official starter, Technical/Safety delegate & Head of the technical department.

Anything relating to the sporting regulations (Test restrictions are all part of sporting & not technical regs) falls outside of his remit.

When it comes to sporting matters Charlie can only give opinions, He can’t make the decision.

Sporting matters fall under the jurisdiction of the race stewards during race weekends & the WMSC at all other times.

Since I’ve known this since I began working at FOM in 1997 & have seen many occasions of Charlie & the FIA stating this, Im frankly amazed teams continue to say they think Charlie’s word is the ultimate say.


James –

In any professional entity, it is extremely rare for anyone other than the “boss man” to be representing the company at such hearings.

Given that Wolf was always positioning himself as that boss, why is it that suddenly Brawn is representing Mercedes at the hearing.

Just does not seem right?

Would love to hear your take on why Brawn had to be there… he may say it was his decision, but its Mercedes’ reputation at stake, and its always the boss man who is responsible for the actions of all his employees…


Brawn took responsibility for the decision and so he is the one who should attend.

He’s also a very good advocate in these situations and has plenty of experience of them


I’m betting on a 3 race ban, effective immediately.


If Merc are banned for 3 races, starting immediately, then Lewis will not be able to drive at the British Grand Prix.

That should create an interesting response from the Great British Public all demanding their money back as probably most of them are there to see Lewis race and hopefully win.


I would like to respond to a part of what you wrote about the Pirelli case.

You wrote, “Pirelli was unhappy about being drawn as a co-respondent into this Tribunal, as it is not a competitor and felt it was not subject to the disciplinary process.”

However, when I checked a couple of sites, they have statistics recorded for all the tyre suppliers that have been in Formula 1, so they must be a competitor.

What confirms this is the 2005 United States Grand Prix, when the race still went ahead with the Bridgestone runners, due to Michelin being unable to guarantee their runners that the tyres would be safe for racing. Michelin couldn’t race, but Bridgestone could, so the race went ahead.

Tyre suppliers are competitors in Formula 1 and are subject to the disciplinary process.

This is why they have been brought into this case, and this was due to the lack of transparency over the test and lack of opportunity given to the other teams. This was a Pirelli test, and it was Pirelli’s responsibility to tell the teams that a test for them(Pirelli) was going to happen. The FIA lawyer may have said that, “There was no attempt whatsoever by Mercedes to involve the other teams in order to ensure that no perception of an advantage was obtained,” but it wasn’t the responsibility of Mercedes to tell other teams, it was the responsibility of Pirelli. The tribunal should throw the book at Pirelli.

As for Mercedes, I think they went through the right processes, the processes which they didn’t need to do, because it was a test undertaken by Pirelli, to make sure that they were within the rules and regulations, and that they did the test for the right reasons, to improve the safety of this great sport, and the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, which its chairman is Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa, and its directors are Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button, said that the Pirelli tyres were unsafe.

Yet, the FIA race director Charlie Whiting, who should know everything, both technical and sporting about Formula 1, and FIA in house lawyer Sebastian Bernard, who should know more than Charlie Whiting said at the tribunal that they didn’t give permission for the test, yet it is quite clear that they did, according to the evidence of Mercedes. Whiting and Bernard should be sacked by the FIA for their apparent lack of credibility.

And one last thing, Mercedes haven’t given up the fight in this case, Ross Brawn is too smart, and even the FIA said that they were honest and truthful throughout. They are putting the FIA and Pirelli into a false sense of security.

My verdict: Mercedes win the court case.


Michelin and Bridgestone were competing against each other

Pirelli is a contract tyre supplier of spec tyres. Different contracts


But they still record the wins and results of the tyre manufacturers, they must be a competitor. You don’t have to have opposition to be a competitor. Frankel and Black Caviar are still competitors, even if no one is running against them. Pirelli may supply spec tyres, but they still have an interest and a responsibility to ensure safe and fair competition, and they clearly haven’t done that. They are a competitor in Formula 1 in my view.


I must say Merc GP is completely shafted in this whole mess, and it all started by them ringing up Charlie Whiting to ask for opinion.

Instead it should’ve been Pirelli contacting the FIA asking what they should do if they needed a 2013 car for a tyre test in order to make this test totally “undertaken” by Pirelli. Have the FIA tell Pirelli to tell whichever team was available to offer the test cars what to do in order not to be seen as a breach of regulations. I would even suggest to go as far as removing the team livery and put Pirelli logos on the test cars.

Merc GP is just caught in the wrong end of things. What do u think the reaction will be had it been another team that’s not struggling with tyre woes (eg Lotus or Force India) that offered the “test cars”? It just doesn’t help that the team facilitating Pirelli with the test is one infamously struggling with tyres for the past 3 seasons.

Trying to recall spygate and McLaren at the time thought they weren’t caught in the turd as much and could come off lightly. Instead they were hit with a $100mil fine and all constructor points wiped out. I have a feeling that Merc GP would be hit with a penalty not dissimilar to what Macca suffered before.


can some tell me what a “QC” means?

forgive me for an out-of-topic question. but it’s just bugging me


There are many answers, but the official one is Queen’s Counsel.


Google is your friend.

QC=Queens Council


Queen’s Counsel … given to prominent lawyers with over 15 years experience.


Queens Council

James McMillan

Queen’s Counsel


Queens Counsel – it’s an appointment made on merit and only the sharpest of legal minds will be invited to become a QC.


Going to be an interesting couple of seasons without Merc and their engines.

And ofc without Pirelli as well.

Schnell! schnell!

The suggestion that Mercedes were attempting to b incognito about the test is ridiculous.

Flappy paddle gearboxes have made the art of the gear change obsolete in f1 for over 20 years now.

On a serious not, this whole debacle has its origin in the inability of the teams and the FIA to facilitate a means for Pirelli to test its tyres. No more, no less. They need to get their &|%! together and allow Pirelli the means of doing so or allow for teams to test tyres.

What is absolutely right about this test is that it was done at a GP circuit immediately after the GP.

There should be the ability of somebody to build a car that replicates the amount of downforce and general characteristics of a modern f1 car. It doesn’t have to be an actual rules compliant car, just have the characteristics that Pirelli needs. In some respects this would have been a perfect F1 involvement for lola……


Ross Brawn is too smart of a man to have done this alone (with all the lawyers he has at his disposal) he’s going to take the fall…It’s all politics

The truth I believe is somewhere in the wording of the PIRELLI CONTRACT with the FIA.
I can see a case for a Pirelli test on safety grounds with the 2013 car…maybe with a few interpretations of their contract.

What I don’t get is WHY the CURRENT drivers were used that definitely gives them some advantage 1000K test in the car…(I don’t blame the drivers as they are contracted to the team and only following orders)

Love reading how other fans see this mess 🙂


I don’t think there is any grand conspiracy. I think Ross Brawn goofed. I think it will probably cost him his position eventually. But I have no idea what penalty Merc will get. Were I to decide it, I might deduct the points (but not the positions/trophies) from the two races after Barcelona and Montreal – both drivers and constructors points. But nothing more.

tom in adelaide

Amazing that a bunch of people paid so much money can make such poor decisions.


feeble attempts at ‘disassociation’ i presume.


I think too much attention is being given on wording than common sense. Mercedes are reading beyond the words of what can and can’t be done.

If Mercedes honestly think a 2011 car is still useful then why are they not running one testing to get information for their current car.

They know they have done wrong and they went about doing it in secret. They have been caught and should be punished, I even think the drivers should be punished as they would know the rules as any F1 fan does, why would Pirelli of used old cars in the past???

Ban, ban, ban!


James, this is a good write up. Is there any truth to the Autosport claim that Ferrari ran a proper test programme in their test with 2013 weight distributions etc?

If so, then they were not really running a 2011 car, but a 2011 chassis which substantially conforms with key aspects of 2013 cars….


Interesting that Ross Brawn was chosen to front the Mercedes defence, not Lauda, not Wollf who wanted to be seen as the head man at Merc earlier in the season.

I think Mercedes know they are on a sticky wicket and if the ruling goes against Mercedes it will be Ross Brawn who gets the chop.




How can you do a proper test on a tyre that is delamenating without using a 2013 car, The original test with the older ferrari car was proven not to be good enough, There should be room to improve tyres, especially this year !!


then another question, why were the tyre compounds changed for ’13? they were changed in order to cripple the redbull dominance. the prodigious downforce created by the redbull, by comparison, ensured problems for that team, as well as all the others, but to a lesser degree.


But they were not testing 2013 tyres, They were doing initial testing for 2014 compounds.

The testing on 2013 tyres to fix the delaminations wasn’t done until Friday in Montreal.


Word has it that Lauda had agreed with Bernie, RedBull, and Ferrari to settle this out of court. Toto Wolf and Ross gave that agreement the big nay-no and refused to settle.

Terrible call.


Do you still think it was a terrible call?

You have to get up very early indeed to get one over on Ross 😉


This is where FIA will be really tested.

Merc is clearly in breach of the rules. Rules says no testing with the current car other than already agreed. They did this additional test. And when they have asked to do this test they have decided to do it regardless of the cost (which is the reason why tests are all banned in the first place) since they knew they can benefit from it. So they need to be punished. I don’t think banning them from young drivers test is enough. They tested their current car with their current drivers. it is not the same result asking a young driver to provide feedback about a car he has never driven on a race before.

I think Pirelli is also guilty and not just on this case also on Ferrari’s test. It is not because they wanted Merc to use their 2013 car but because they have not notified all parties involved. They have not done that with Ferrari and they have not done it with Merc.

Now the last question is; Can FIA afford to punish both parties ?

I know answer is tricky but if we want to make the things right, we should ask them to do the right thing for the sport first and solve other problems it will create later.

I think F1 can find a tire supplier if they really want to. And I think Pirelli wants to prove they can produce good tires so they will stay regardless of the result.


Mercedes should design their 2013 car to be like their 2015 car and then kn 2014 they can test whatever they like in secret and be fastest.


I’m just glad I’m not a robot.

The Mercedes lawyer’s comment about the difference between a 2011 Ferrari and 2013 Ferrari being tiny would get me stuck in an infinite loop until I exploded.

Argument 1: The test had to take place with a 2013 car because it needs to be representative of the latest specification car.

Argument 2: The difference between a 2011 car and a 2013 car is so small it is irrelevant.

*Beep* *Beep* …. KABOOOOM!!!


Good argument, even better special effects 🙂


Well if the difference between the 2011 and 2013 cars is so small why didn’t they test with a 2011 car

logic fail

err, wait a minute, thats what Ferrari did, very clever

force merc to share the data with all the teams


One now might question the legitimacy of Ferrari’s victory in Spain, since Ferrari was the only team who raced hard in the race, whereas other teams tried to preserve the tyres. Some fans attributed this to a smart strategy, but I wonder today how much of that strategy was a real-time knowledge what tyres can take: something only Ferrari learned at their secret test before Spain GP.


I read that the car used for this year’s Ferrari test was loaded with 2013 bodywork, does anyone know anymore about this? It said they ran the new front wing and pilons, the sidepods and engine cover so that isn’t substantialy different from a 201113 car surely? Plus the fact they used their display company is purely a smoke screen. I’m sure some of the Ferrari F1 team members went onto the other companies pay role for a week so it all appeared above board after all it was still a company with direct connections to Ferrari. This is going to be a very interesting verdict, can’t wait to get home from work 2moro to find out how it’s gone down.


If they can find a second or two in just one year’s development, imagine how faster a 201113 car would be.

Sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂


I find the FIA’s position weaker than I thought. On one side, “what counts is not what Whiting told you, but what he should have told you”. On the other side, accusing Mercedes of not being specific enough in their inquiries sounds childish and naive in F1 (why didn’t you make it easy for me when you could?). It looks to me like Mercedes knew it was wrongdoing, but the FIA let the door open for them.


according to the published transcripts/’comments’ whiting only gave an opinion and that was fully qualified. he does not have authority to make changes to the R & R. only who WMC has that.

maybe brawn has drawn this inference as a cover to his own disingenuity and to create a ‘fsll guy’ should the ‘merde’ hit the fan.


I shall be disappointed if Ross Brawn leaves on a low.

Not least because I think he should be Sir Ross Brawn. I think he has done as much as the other F1 Knights over his career. Leaving on a low won’t help his chances.

Currently Ross is an OBE, I think? So on a par with Christian Horner!


No one is innocent here, Charlie Whiting must have known about the test, Mercedes must have known they were sailing close to the wind and Pirelli must have known too but thought all the risk was on someone elses(Ross Brawn) shoulders so they needn’t worry. The FIA tribunal either need leave it at a reprimand or fire the lot of them


Can someone help explain to me why would it be Mercedes duty to ensure all other teams were invited to the tire test? Doesn’t this fall upon Pirelli?

F1 is a business and like any business if one of my suppliers approaches my company and offers me an opportunity to test a product why would I go to my competitors to ensure they have the same opportunity?


The rules of your business specifically prohibit you from taking the “opportunity” in question.

People in some professions are not allowed to take gifts/gratuities/bribes. If they do it anyway they can be sanctioned.

Alexander Supertramp

Politics is the most nasty thing to happen to F1. Love the part aboout Massa’s test. Don’t know if it’s true, but you can’t say that Ferrari does not know how to work this year’s Pirelli’s, can you? You read about this after seeing Luca di Montezemolo throw all his political weight against Mercedes’ case. Then you have this clown of a Horner- is he really that important at RB?- who has what appears to be a personal vendetta against Mercedes. You got to love people like Stefano Domenicali, guys who know that Mercedes is probably in the wrong but actually let the tribunal do their work without lobbying. Horner has been way too vocal in this and his presence in Paris is just ridiculous. I guess the last thing RB needs is a competitive Merc fighting them for pole and actually keeping them at bay in the race, meanwhile having Fernando stopping by to say hi in Seb’s rear view mirrors.


Crikey… got a slight problem with RedBull and Christian Horner then?

Alexander Supertramp

Not really, I just have a problem with the way Horner managed this situation. For all I care it could have been Boullier making this much fuss and I would have been irritated with him. I am glad though that the tribunal’s sentence makes Horner look a little like a fool.


I can’t believe Ferrari got away with scott free…unbelievable!

*Ferrari were allowed to rely on a verbal confirmation from Pirelli that authorization had been achieved but apparently Mercedes are condemned for this.

*Ferrari’s dealings with the FIA were non-specific as regards dates, location, names of drivers. They are not criticized but apparently Mercedes is

*Ferrari was even more involved in the actual testing than Mercedes was, they booked and paid for the circuit. Yet, they were not criticized

*Ferrari’s test in 2013 was not just a Pirelli test. Per the defense today: “One can see from the run sheets … that in the middle of the day they were doing their own thing, but they are not criticized. They also exceeded the 1,000km.”

Someone explain that? Where’s F1 heading? Consistency is key. Looks to me like FIA lost all control at this point, and the fact that Todt (ex-Ferrari) is the president doesn’t help matters either.


Brother James

Thank you very much for the site and insightful articles as always.

I can remember once posting about this test just after Mercedes took their first pole this year and somehome my post did not make it through the moderation.

Anyway, can you you recall once when Ross was at Ferrari and Newey questioned the bargeboards, and at the time Itv-f1 ran a long explanation how the bargeboards influenced undercar airflow and we all thought this was it for Ferrari.

Yet Ross was able to find that loophole in the FIAs measuring instruments. I think he was able to demonstrate that actually that the FIAs measuring instruments where in a fact inaccurate, and how could they tell legal parameters when the parc femme tools where not up to scracth? Ferrari walked!

Today, I think the central plank of Mercedes defence was the other (Fillipe) test. It puts I think the FIA is on trial. Because if it was true and the FIA knew about it and have not asked Ferrari to walk the plank even after complaints logged, how secretive was that?

Ross did the good thing not agreeing to sideline deals we need integrity in the sport. The FIA has to shape up I think, because I think permission was granted to Ferrari last year.

Now this should be a lesson too to people who might be a little too forward in terms of making accusations when they don’t have all the facts.


South Africa


Oh and one thing I forgot to mention.

Why haven’t Lauda and Wolff even bothered to come to the hearing?


They’re distancing themselves – they’ve made it very clear that this is Brawn’s show.


I think this is another case of the FIA crafting poorly constructed and ambiguous regulations. Interestingly, Mercedes/Brawn are creating a habit of probing regulation grey areas; the Schumi/Alonso Monaco overtake at the end of the 2010 GP being the most clear example.

“If the race ends while the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”


This is what F1 is about, nobody can be surprised. Stuff like this has happened hundreds of times in the 60 + years of the sport
I only hope that Mercedes wont get a 100 million penalty like Mclaren got 6 years ago because that may push them out. At least we feel that there are not personal vendettas this time like it was in 2007


Pirelli management needs to take a long and hard look at their involvement in F1. How exactly is their tire company benefiting from this relentless negative publicity ? Mercedes on the other hand has nothing to lose. Tomorrow if they decide to pull out aka BMW/Toyota/Honda, i’m pretty sure they’ll continue to sell just as many cars as they are doing today.

Pirelli on the other hand sells a much cheaper product than Mercedes. So a person affected by negative perception about Pirelli is likely to buy Yokohoma or Bridgestone than an individual with > $50000 to spend on a car who’ll decide against buying a Merc just because they are absent from F1.

George Debenham

How sad that Mercedes should be persecuted for trying to help out Pirreli and subsequently all the F1 teams by trying to resolve the current tyre problems. They have gone to great expenditure to run these tests out of the goodness of their hearts for the benefit of all the teams with no personal gain and all they get is flack. Why can’t all you doubters believe the nice honest Mr. Brawn?


I am very afraid that Ross Brawn is going to be made the fall guy for this. There have been rumours about him leaving F1 anyway but I can see this clinching it and that is sad.He has a great record and should have gone when he wanted to go, not when it suited someone elses agenda.

Personally I think the whole affair stinks of cheating but, regarding penalties, can the FIA risk losing Mercedes? Even more to the point dare they risk losing Pirelli, with no other tyre supplier waiting to come in?

At the end of the day unless there is something else to come out I’m finding it hard to believe that Mercedes and Pirelli could have been so arrogant and stupid.


If the 2013 Mercedes is miniscule in difference to the 2011 Ferrari, then the Merc must be a dog of a car. Kudos to Lewis and Nico for qualifying so well this season.


I’m not going to pass judgement (that will be done soon enough), but when someone starts pointing fingers and saying ‘they said it was okay!’, making feeble excuses, pointing more fingers and saying ‘they did it first!’, and finally go on to helpfully suggest some suitable punishments…well…



Pretty much the entire Mercedes case is distraction tactics.

Pretty much the entire Pirelli case is a squabble over jurisdiction.

Both are offering side orders of blaming the other and threatening consequences if they’re punished.

Of course, in the real world, the penalty will be…whatever the FIA feels like. Which may be nothing. And may be anything.


I wonder would the FIA have charged Mercedes if Ferrari and Red Bull hadn’t found out about the test


If one looks at the agreement between Pirelli and The FIA, it clearly states that Pirelli is responsible for informing and inviting all teams to a tyre test. As part of their defence, Merc spoke about Ferrari’s test, when incidentally Pirelli should have been responsible for conveying that info about their activities.


Amazing, simply amazing, all the coments

above are whipping excuses.

FACT: Mercedes and Perelli are before IT for

breaking the sporting rules.

FACT: Mercedes supplied the car and its

drivers that raced a day before in the Spanish

F1, for three days tyre test. Period :

All this and that has nothing to do with the

price of fish.

The sad part of the matter, the most briliant

man in F1 paddock namely Ross Brawn to the

early exit from the pit-wall,and let me tell you a truly a great loss to F1.


Smart move by Big Ross in saying that if Mercedes are guilty, then so is Ferrari. This really puts the FIA in a bind – to be consistent, if they punish Mercedes, they also have to punish Ferrari. When was the last time the FIA factory team were sanctioned?

VP of Common Sense

Indy- Ross’s opinion that if Mercedes are guilty then so are Ferrari has no factual basis. Ferrari never ran their current car in either 2012 (ran the 2010 car) or 2013 (ran the 2011 car). Ferrari’s tests were not against the sporting regulations. It’s even sillier for Brawn to assert this opinion as Ferrari were dismissed from this Tribunal two weeks ago. The only parties facing any sanctions here are Mercedes and Pirelli. The Tribunal will not deliberate on Ferrari for a second. Mercedes punishment will be theirs and theirs alone.


This is only the final stupid move by Brawn, because stories are completely different. Mercedes, and Pirelli infringed rules, no excuses. Whithing behaved as usually, saying yes and no at the same moment, causing damages to F1. (Most of the bad stories from 2009, would have avoided if FIA got rid of Withing, long time ago)


It was an amusing twist, but from a legal perspective I think it was a bit of a busted flush. There’s already a precedent of Pirelli using a 2010-spec car last season and a 2009-spec car in testing during 2011, so it would not take very long to put forward an argument that a car from two seasons previous is not regarded as “substantially conforming” with the regulations. Indeed, you could argue that given no car from previous years would pass scrutineering this proves the point. It was a nice try, and in that situation it was certainly worth giving it a go, but I don’t expect the IT to be persuaded. Then again I’m only a student lawyer and I’ve been proven wrong before many a time!


FIA can´t punish someone who did nothing wrong just to make Mercedes look less guilty.


Smart move or desperate clutching at straws? Brawn is desperately trying to save his job.


+1 Agreed!

Tornillo Amarillo

It’s a pity they delay the decision, because I have something to do tomorrow.

Since Fia and Pirelli are to blame, for fixing this I suggest to be decided that Mercedes…



that would be hilarious. With all parties involved having to wear a dunce hat.


I am STUNNED Ross could say… “we acted in good faith and gained no advantage”… good faith?! you waited until all teams left the track, you kept all reporters out, you changed your drivers helmet colors, you told no one in the press, etc etc. Rodd knows the FIA are afraid to death to lose Mercedes and therefore he pushed the envelope. just like when he pushed the double diffuser through at a time when he knew Bernie was waiting to crush FOTA so the other teams were forced to not push too hard and Brawn won the title.


Yes! This “Rodd” is indeed the person who should be on trial!


The thing this keeps reminding me of is when Ross Brawn was referred to as “a man of supreme arrogance” by…Ferrari!

Life is a game, so play! (to quote that other paragon of modesty, Noel Gallagher)…


I think Merc might be on to something with the ‘undertaken by’ argument. To ‘undertake’ is to run the programme, request and organise the test, and to keep any benefits (data).

To me, Pirelli undertook this test. Mercedes contributed to it and facilitated its completion. It did not undertake the test.

I think guidance is required as to the ‘substantially conforming’ issue. Hopefully if nothing else this tribunal will provide that.


The rules say ‘any track running undertaken by a competitor’ is testing. Not ‘test undertaken by’

So regardless of who was undertaking the TEST the actual track running time is considered testing too.


look up “undertaken by” via any world-wide source. one may wish to change their viewpoint of this defense…


Legally speaking (and we are talking about interpretation of sporting rules which are written, argued over and judged by lawyers), to ‘undertake’ is to create, procure, organise, reap benefit from etc etc.


Given that Brawn is saying he was asked to do a Pirelli test — and that the test was conducted by Pirelli rather than Mercedes — a lot hinges on whether it was Pirelli that asked them to use a 2013 car, or whether Mercedes suggested or offered to supply a 2013 car.

I can’t see how Mercedes would have thought they would get away with keeping this test secret and they must have thought long and hard when asked to take part in this test about whether there could be any come back. Clearly Mercedes wouldn’t have gone ahead unless they were convinced they were in the clear.


or in fact that the benefits outweighed the disadvantages. mercedes knew they were in trouble as lauda apparently tried to buy his way out of the tribunal hearing…was there ever s greater admission of assumed guilt under the R&R


0.5 seconds is a huge difference in downforce efficiency all else equal. Also, this years tires are 1 step softer than last years. Considering the technology advances as years go by, improving the 2011 car – with blown diffusers, engine mapping and all – they could have gained a lot more than half a second. That difference was gained somewhere else.


So what exactly did the likes of Redbull, Ferrari and Lotus think Merc were doing hanging around at the track with a huge transporter and personel,when every other team had packed up all traces and were in the process of leaving track? Not one other team thought it was odd that Merc were not out of there like the rest of the teams? I don’t buy it. Something stinks.

Undoubtedly Merc/Brawn have played the system with the interpretation of the wording in the regulations. Brawn is playing it down the line as you would expect. ie. ” We Merc, asked Charlie if we were ok using the 2013 car, and he confirmed verbally that it was ok, so long as Pirelli informed or invited the rest of the teams. It was Pirelli’s test and their reposibility to liaise with the other teams, not ours”

In essence that is what Brawn is saying surely? Merc may have been sneaky and underhanded by keeping quiet, but so far as the letter of the rule and responce goes from Whiting and the FIA lawyer, surely Merc did nothing wrong? As for the black helmets, surely that was just in case any stray photographers were hanging around at the track during testing. I believe Merc knew that it would comes out, but did everything they could to make sure it didn’t surface for at least a few days after the test, so that the test would get completed and they may learn something about the car, take data, even if they didn’t know exactly what compounds they were being given. You have to say, this is classic Brawn, always right on the edge of the rules, but always just on the right side of them. I have to wonder though, why did Pirelli specifically chosse Merc for the test? because they are the hardest on their rear tyres? Clever of Brawn, but It’s not doing Merc many image favors.


First thought seeing the article title: “Mercedes grilled…” was wondering so what truly independent body is going to grill the FIA?? Their priority is to cover themselves.


James, can you shed any light on what engines the team would of used over the test? I imagine they used the chassis raced over the weekend?

The whole thing highlights to me that teams could secretly test at any stage if they could allocate some tyres?


I’m bored with all the rants and speculations. All I want to hear is the conclusion.


It is sad but I guess Brawn can pack his bags.


If so, he was already planning to leave anyway..

Probably he will start fishing with Schumacher..


If this were just a Pirelli test they would have used their own car and driver.

The regulations allow the use of a 2011 car – whether that makes sense is irrelevant.


If only it were that simple! The problem with the rules is they have not been thought about any more by the FIA than by you.

No car with an F1 engine of any make can be started without several engineers from the engine maker being there. It is simply not possible in these days of such tight technical precision to do so.


I have no reason to think about the rules. I may think the 70mph limit on motorways is too low, it doesn’t give me the right to break it. If any of the teams in F1 or Pirelli are unhappy with the rules they should try and get them changed, Break the rukes and suffer the consequences.


But they don’t have their own car?….

The loaned an old Renault before and a Toyota before that. But they are too out of date now.


To remain polite, all the parties involved are coming across as pretty negligent and dysfunctional. Also, how often and for how long will the F1 teams and even the FIA keep trusting Charlie Whiting for answers?

If I was a big brand I’d be very careful before getting involved in F1, it’s like handing your keys to the craziest guy you can find (who also happen to be the flashiest and loudest..)


‘It’s like handing your keys to the craziest guy you can find (who also happen to be the flashiest and loudest..)’

Sounds like every FI team who gave their metaphorical keys to an F1 driver…and they pay them for it 🙂

Which makes me think of a question: Did any F1 car(s) actually use a key back in the day?


Heads will roll, some will be guilty and others stupid. The only winner in my opinion is the column inches and Bernie as a benefit.

Brawn is on a hiding to nothing, James does the word trust outside of safety exist in F1….I wonder..?


Looks like some smooth talking from the Merc QC explaining away the black helmets security issue ?! can’t see the tribunal being swayed by that lame excuse, looks like Merc will have to pay in some way, maybe money or constructors points.


You sir have a short memory, have you forgot all the anti-Hamilton activities in Spain a couple of years ago?


You guys are beginning to sound ridiculous. The helmet colours worn by Rosberg and Hamilton are irrelevant. There is no law which dictates what helmets a Driver should or should not wear. Wearing a white Helmet in Spain or Green Helmet in Monaco is a entirely a drivers preference. Whatever you think the motive is irrelevant as long as you cannot prove it.


Sossoliso, Nobody cares about the colour of the helmets!

Its the sneaky nature of why Merc did so???

They made them wear black helmets to hide the fact that they had their regular F1 drivers completing 3 days of testing apparently because they Merc are so generous in helping Pirelli, and would not learn a thing from the 3 days and 1000 Kms of testing.

Mark in Australia

Yes, sneaky. And stupid.

You would think that if these clever F1 noggins were trying to be clandestine they would of had ROS and HAM wear someone else’s helmet colours ie: one of their test drivers.


Merc activity was not sneaky. They asked for and got Charlie W and the legal dept permissions 2x. What is apparently being discussed in Paris is whether or not team should be going to charlie w for advice. Think car anomalies (flexi wings, floors etc). What the FIA is in fact saying is if a team for example suspects a competitor has an illegal car/device, they (complainant) should complain to the FIA and not charlie whitting. That is what is coming out of Paris. Power play.


just a simple question sossoliso. why did mwercedes fess up to this bit of trivia and admit that it was a ‘mistake’? c’mon


The media is portraying the test as secret, the unmarked helmets were not helping Merc’s claim that it was not. This was an explanation for us public more than anything.


The tribunal aready said they don’t care about the helmets and other unnecessary trivia. They only care about the rules and the technical matters that apply.


James, where the teams notified when Ferrari did these test?


Depends on who you ask. And depends on what kind of test.

According to Pirelli early statement to the media they said they sent an email to teams about testing last year. Pirelli calls that a notification. But FIA and other teams may think it is not.

Besides Ferrari used an old car. I don´t know if it necessary a notification. It is for sure necessary if a team uses a current car


to suggest that pirelli invited the other teams is a fact….almost exactly 12 months ago? i don’t see that as in any way relevant. straw issue really.


Well, that’s the thing, the other teams have to be notified?

As long as Pirelli invites all team to do a test and if 3 months later one decides to do it with an old car, as required by the rules, does Pirelli or that team have to let the other teams know or the FIA? Is someone sent to the test from FIA to keep an eye on what exactly is being tested and who runs the test?

Questions, questions and more questions. Maybe James has some of the answers 🙂


Hopefully the judges will!


Not as far as I know


So there was a Pirelli test with a 2010 Ferrari in 2012?

Could this be one of the reasons why Ferrari are so light on their tyres this year?

What are RBR saying on the matter?


Ross Brawn believes he is the smartest guy around. But you can’t cheat everybody always. Not by insulting their intelligence. Does he really expect the tribunal (and people!) to believe that such a smart guy has turned stupid all of a sudden? Maybe yes – his perception of reality comes close only to that of politicians…


I think it is all very regrettable, and there does seem to be an element of double standards by the FIA with regard to what Charlie Whiting can authorise. Personally I think Mercedes did this with the best of intentions as Pirelli had problems with tyres, and needed to analyse new tyres. I suspect that in view of that any meaning full test carried out on rear tyres would have to be with a 2013 car since the EBD was in force previously which would impact differently on the rear tyres. As for other teams being involved perhaps they need to be a bit more proactive when asked judging by the response Pirelli got last year.


richard, ‘pirelli’ had a problem with tyres’ so did mercedes?

their performances have lifted since the tests?


Yes indeed, but different problems. As we have only seen one race it’s perhaps a little too early to tell as track characteristics also play their part in tyre degradation. Mercedes will say that it is the result of work they put in if they continue to improve. – I hope they do improve as it’s beginning to look like Red Bull again.


Lets sat a simple memo is put out to teams by Pirellu on weekend of GP. It says…boys, we’ve rented the circuit and have a few tires to test. How many teams stay? That’s right…everybody. There is definitely more to this test.


If a race director can rule on what can be changed in the rule book, why F1 has that rule book then? Scrap it and ask Charlie what is allowed and what is not.

Let be serious now. Mercedes should’ve sent a letter or an email to the FIA, saying exactly what they want to do if they wanted a clear answer. Not two phone calls to Charlie. And even during these phone calls, Charlie made it clear it was not a binding commitment from the FIA. What more do you want to see that was not a clear permission? Maybe a drawing will help all those smart people at Mercedes..


Looking at it cynically perhaps Mercedes looked at it very carefully indeed, and decided to take the risk with the test. The risk being worth what they would learn about rear tyres. – They did seem to being doing rather better on tyres at the last race. In other words perhaps they looked at it as an necessary evil simply to understand and get past a problem that has been dogging them for quite some time. All that remains now is to see what the FIA decides, and on the basis they are always right, deem a fitting punishment.


Yes, Mercedes is now a charitable organization now and participates in F1 just so that fans have a good Sunday evening.


Pretty laughable Mercedes’ defense was: “Ferrari maybe did it too last year so we can too” and “if you gonna punish us, just do a low fine or drop us from the ypung test driver thing”.

I mean, really?

And Pirelli with their statement should be kicked out of F1 for allowing cheating and then saying FIA has no say in the rules and regulations they have to follow.


Precedent is a very weighty legal concept. It isn’t something that can be swept under the carpet, even in a kangaroo court.


Do you really want the cars to be running round on bare rims next year ?

The FIA’s technical representative said it was OK for Pirelli to run a 2013 car and he was backed up by the opinion of their own lawyer.

This looks very much like by involking the tribunal, the FIA has shot itself in the foot.

In my business, if one of my staff makes a decision, I have to stand by it.


whiting apparently only gave an ‘opinion’ which was in turn qualified. if mercedes then gave it there own spin then they will suffer the consequences….i hope.


If the chief of police says it may be ok to break the speed limit in certain circumstances do you then go and break it and wonder why you get arrested?

Any advantage is worth possible better positioning in the constructors championship and so is potentially worth millions.

Why would Merc pay for the whole team to run the car if there was no advantage in doing it? Using what engine/gearbox? more mileage on a race engine? if not the car was prepared in advance, more cost.

Even the stupidity of saying there were no bodyguards so black helmets were used. I can imagine it on the day, someone being sent off to the local motorbike shop to grab a couple off the shelf??? Right.

And with all the thousands of dollars it cost to do that test and the pre planning that was needed who would have thought they would have organised it on the bodyguards day off? Please…

Merc have been caught with their pants down, I think they may be stripped of their championship points.


The example you give is actually spot on but not in the way you intended.

The rules state that you should never exceed the speed limit. The rules also start that you must follow the directions of an officer directing traffic. So if the officer instructs you to break the rules which rule do you follow, no matter what you do you are bound to break one of them. In a similar way the rules for the Pirelli tyre testing contradict the racing rules, which one applies? Merc did not know the answer so they asked the FIA (Charlie Whiting). The answer they got from the FIA legal department was as long as the test is run by Pirelli, the rule prohibiting the use of the current car does not apply. They did the test, who wouldn’t.


In any organisation there are certain people which can take decisions and certain people which can not.

Let’s say one of your employees has a contract with your company to earn £100 a day and he goes to your administrator and asks if is possible to get £150 a day. Your administrator says yes, but you might have to work extra hours etc.

Will that mean you, as a Director have to increase the salary for that employee to £150? I believe not, unless your administrator has the power to change wage rates as he likes and feel it’s apropriate.

From what the FIA’s lawyer, Mark Howard said, Charlie Whiting doesn’t have that power, but only the World Motor Sport Council can do it. And again, from what this lawyer said, Charlie only gave his interpretation of that rule as an answer to a “vague” question from Mercedes and nothing specific was asked.


“Nothing specific was asked” It is clear Merc/Pirelli asked if they could do the tyre test with a 2013 car, and since that is the part of this test that was contrary the racing rules that should have been enough.

Charlie Whiting is the FIA race director and for the FIA to effectively say you should not believe what he says is complete tosh. Further to suggest that statements from their legal department are only the opinions of an individual are contrary to the accepted practice. This complete shambles was caused by the FIA, all they had to say to Merc/Pirelli was that running the 2013 car is not permitted.


I don’t agree with you on the Pirelli.

I mean, what can they do? They have a 2010 Renault for God’s sake. The teams and FIA cannot agree on some tests durring season and almost nobody wants to spend money running a 2 year old car to help Pirelli with their tyres. And after all this, Pirelli get everything thrown at them as soon as there’s more than 3 pitstops in a race.

Unless they put hundreds of millions in personnel and build a car like a HRT, how can they test their tyres to keep everyone happy?


mister, just for the record, quotation from hembery, ‘what do you want from us? revert to the ’12 compounds and let red bull run away with the championship?’

think about ti.


Poor Ross, stuck out on a limb by Toto and Niki. Were they even at the hearing as observers? The lawyers want everyone to think that Mercedes were innocent bystanders rather than willing participants. When you undertake something you promise, you gurantee, you take it upon yourself, you are under obligation. Ross talked about the helmets but failed to mention the locked gates and tarps that were reported at the track to keep fans and other observers out. The 0.5 sec of performance between the 2011 and 2013 cars is miniscule? Who in the paddock would not give almost anything for a half-second a lap? And trying to put the blame on Charlie Whiting? Charlie runs the races, he’s the go-to guy at the track on race weekend, not for a tire test. Ross Brawn doesn’t know the rules after how many years in F1? This was a dog and pony show with Ross Brawn forced by Mercedes to be the horse’s butt.


Bear in mind that exhaust blown diffusers are gone. Trick flexible bodywork has been outlawed and that this years Pirellis are softer than last years which in turn are softer than the year before, and the gap would be quite a bit bigger than 0.5secs.

just shows how quickly F1 cars evolve.


Curiosity question: Is there a legal opinion out there regarding how the prosecution and the judges, both of whom are apparently employed by the FIA, can be considered “independent” in this proceeding? Said differently, no matter what the decision, are the judges unbiased at the outset?


Well if the FIA didn’t employ the judges who would? They are the governing body, it seems only right that they appoint the judges. It seems a far better system than having Max Mosley preside over all these type of proceedings. If Mercedes wanted to object to the appointments, they could have done so.


When high school students cheat in a major exam and say “please sir it was nothing I will do detention tomorrow” I think six of the best and exclusion of points in that exam are usually the punishment. As for any other teacher helping that student cheat with that exam- aren’t they usually banned from teaching at that school..

Oops do I have the wrong forum- maybe not.


There are 10 or 12 people in the tribunal – they aren’t all FIA but from other disciplines – so you can’t say it is biased.


The prosecution doesn’t have to be neutral – indeed, by its very definition the prosecution will be partisan just as the defence is, as both are trying to put across a case favourable to their client. Insofar as the judges, Edwin Glasgow QC is an independent barrister by profession and both he and his fellow panel members were required to give an undertaking that they will act independently of the FIA at all times under Article 10 of the Judicial and Disciplinary Rules. They are also required to declare any potential conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from acting if their firm or chambers is involved in proceedings before the IT. The provisions are broadly comparable to the equivalent rules of court, so that would suffice to negate any argument that they are biased.

By way of analogy: all judges in the UK are effectively employed by the Ministry of Justice (simplifying things a great deal). Prosecution of criminal cases in the UK is handled by the Crown Prosecution Service, which is itself another government department like the Ministry of Justice. That in itself does not cause problems as there is a distinction between the branches and safeguards, as is the case with the FIA and the IT.


Thanks, Ryan — really appreciate a positive, balanced and informative response. There was no intent to be critical and you provided the confirmation which was requested. Understand that the Prosecution and Defense will always be Advocates.

The decision(s) posted today and the information regarding the size of the judging panel have also been helpful information. Let’s hope we can get back to some actual racing one of these days soon.


As far as the FIA is concerned this is about as independent as you going to get.

Arguably it beats the old days when the president of the FIA was judge, jury and executioner.


For sure. But the FIA is still not covering itself in glory. Still quite an amateur organization.



Honestly, I think using a word like ‘organization’ in connection to the FIA is a bit of a compliment at this point 🙂


So Massa tested last year and Ferrari actually did much longer than 1000km?

Damn! F1 is shooting its big toe off in public again. 🙁


Other teams are not complaning about that test. It´s irrelevant to this case


This situation is perfect for F1! We’re all talking about it! More casual fans will tune into the next races to find out how this all pans out.


In a 2010 car I believe..



Thats not whats troubling. The rules state a maximum of 1000km for testing. Ferrari’s test is quoted to have “significantly” greater than 1000km.

It seems the FIA is picking and choosing which rules are sacrosanct and the teams currently expressing outrage are not exactly saints. They are all looking to benefit in underhand ways.


Don’t forget the revelation was made before a law court. I wonder if its whithin the tribunals powers to make recommendations to the FIA? If an anti-Ferrari recommendation is made today, things could begin to look ugly indeed.

The long and short is that F1 cannot afford to upset the two biggest manufacturers, so the point might be quietly noted and matters swept under the rug. There will be handshakes and wrist slaps and life will go merrily on.

Part of me though, is certain that this whole saga is a curve ball against Red Bull, but we’ll see soon enough. I think Red Bull will be the last to be hauled before the tribunal, but then the threat will be real, vengful and devoid off politics. Paul Hembery’s constant alerts about Red Bull (and the FIA selective deafness to them) convince me its a gang up.


Well, can FIA investigate something like that if nobody is lodging a complaint?

It’s like in real life, police can see someone punching someone else, but if the person doesn’t press charges, police cannot do anything against the person throwing the punches.

I would think the teams would put a complaint if it was some kind of breach, which it certainly sounds like, but what do they know that we don’t? Why aren’t they lodging a complaint?


The circus moves to court. Reading from above it seems Mercedes will come out lightly.


Yes, that’s how I see this as well. A relatively small fine and an opening for other teams to conduct the same test.


It’s not over!

Anything more than a reprimand for Merc and to the “high court” we go.

There was a good bit of gossip re-Ferrari testing with Massa and sharing data from Pirelli, I don’t remember reading anything about that at the time. Will the Ferrari fans be calling for Ferrari to be banned? I think not. Next episode please. I wonder if Horner was there in case they had any dirt on Red Bull.


Mentioning the Ferrari story is standard lawyer stuff…. Just make as much dust as possible to distract from the real issue.


Shifting the goal posts. U learn that in first year


There is nothing that will happen to Ferrari over the Masa test as it was in the past and not appealed at the time. It was a waste of time Mercedes raising it… It has nothing to do with this case either.


Its called, sighting a precidence.

Ferrai Set a precidence last year by conducting a test with a current driver last year.

This is normal Lawyer process and the basis for many legal arguments.



The fact that Lewis and Nico drove the car is now completely irrelevant. The FIA should have charged Ferrari and or issued a clarification to the rules. They did nothing therefore it is assumed to be acceptable.


The more I learn of this Pirelli-Mercedes test that transpired, the more I think this whole thing was nothing but one big misunderstanding that could have simply been resolved over a teleconference call and not in front of a tribunal.

And when the FIA go through in detail over the testimonies offered today, this whole case will get thrown out of court for there’s no crime here for nothing was gained >>> only damage I see here is bruised egos of other teams that missed the train.

As Mercedes said today, the worst punishment they can expect is for the FIA to ban the team from participating in the young drivers test in a bid to maintain the peace in the paddock by creating a sense of an even playing field.

Last but not least, kudos to Mercedes for not accepting the FIA’s earlier deal of pleading guilty in exchange for a reduced sentencing.

No innocent party should ever resort to selling their principles.


Mercedes are an innocent party? Boy, that’s rich. The FIA, Mercedes and Pirelli have all admitted the 2013 W04 was used at this test, which is in violation of the sporting regulations. They never got a Hall Pass from Whiting and the rest of Mercedes semantics are simply trying to divert blame. The FIA was trying to give them an easy out today and they foolishly rejected a settlement. The hammer drops on Friday.


The point is that use of a 2013 current is not allowed for a competitor – the test was not run by a competitor, it was run by Pirelli and there’s nothing in the rules about Pirelli using a 2013 car.


So Santander can do a test with the 2013 Ferrari.

Lotus with GENII. RBR with GEOX.

Actually Massa’s father could pay for (undertake a) a test too 🙂

If you read the rule it says : Track testing shall be considered any track running time not part of an Event undertaken by a

competitor. So in other words ANY track running undertaken by a competitor is considered TESTING.

So the question is not by whom the TEST was ‘undertaken by’ but by whom the TRACK RUNNING was ‘undertaken by’


Misunderstanding is one word, complete shamozzle is two words 🙂

Mercedes have shot themselves in the foot, but then they went and did it again today when they said that being from the young driver’s test would be an acceptable punishment.

If (and I emphasise the IF) this tribunal does levy a punishment at Mercedes, it won’t be one that they ‘expect’ and ‘accept’, it will be a real punishment that will actually punish them.

In other words, with respect to Ross, he probably should have just kept that bit to himself.


You could interpret the acceptance of a mild punishment in several ways. You choose to think it is an admission of guilt. I choose to think that Ross is offering the FIA an acceptable way out of the mess they have created, one that causes minimal damage to the sport. The FIA would be foolish not to accept. Despite a lot of the post here to the contrary the FIA case is not very convincing.


” no crime here for nothing was gained”… Have you even read what Brawn said?

They keep it a secret, then get caught an to top it all they say they hid their drivers identities because body guards were not available. What a joke.


Great article Mr Allen.

Sadly as always the FIA wash their hands and I am afraid that this story will force Mr Brawn to step down.

Sad time for Formula 1


Agreed, but a great time to be Paddy Lowe.

Isn’t it funny how things work out…


No.. he walked into this one. All he had to do was tell all the other teams what he was doing, and it wouldn’t have got this far.. If this was truly a tyre test where he wasn’t going to gain anything, all he had to do was talk to the other team priinciples.. what did he have to loose?… now he may loose his job.


If he had informed the other teams the objections would have landed on the FIA’s inbox faster than Sébastien Grosjean at turn 1. There is no way this would have gone ahead if they had let the other teams know the details.


Did Ferrari inform all the others of their test? We didn’t hear about until after this test. The FIA should really be logging this stuff, and putting it up on their website for all to see.

Lastly, and please take this as the helpful correction that it is, but it’s ‘lose’, not ‘loose’. The ‘loose’ for ‘lose’ seems rather widespread these days. Don’t fall into the trap.


Yeah, it’s a pet peeve of mine too. Though of course there are many on here whose first language isn’t English, so have to keep that in mind.

It’s/its is another one for me, which for me is simple to get (i.e. if your sentence doesn’t work substituting “it is” for it’s, then it’s its!).

Or “would of”, “I seen it”, “could care less”, “should’ve went” … heard them all.

Of course, the most important thing is the point someone’s trying to make, but I guess it’s just natural to assume that if someone is careless in their language usage, that they might form their opinions in a careless manner as well.


+1 on loose


Thanks KRB. The loose/lose thing is a major pet hate of mine!

Also Ferrari conducted tests that exceeded 1000km – so they broke the testing agreements regardless of the car used. Haul them up if everyone insists the rules are obvious.


Where in the rules does it say its Brawns responsibility to inform the others _ I thought it was Pirelli’s responsibility – it was their test after all.


What a mess… maybe they should bring back some testing, maybe 4 days per season with a max of 750 kms per test for each team.


It’s already on the board for next year, but (as usual) too little, too late…


Long live a Free and Innocent Ross Brawn!


Indeed, he may be “free” to find another job soon..


The guy’s almost sixty and probably has 9 figures in the bank. I don’t think he really needs a job.


“This was not a test undertaken by Mercedes.”

It was a test undertaken by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, both employed by Mercedes and not Pirelli.

You could argue that it was a test undertaken by Mercedes at Pirelli’s request, but to claim that it was not undertaken by Mercedes is like arguing that fire isn’t hot.

If Mercedes had loaned the car to Pireli and they, Pirelli, had conducted the test with their own personnel, THEN it could be said that the test was undertaken by Pirelli.


In the rules it is not written as ‘test undertaken by’.

It is written ‘trackrunning undertaken by’

So who did ‘undertake’ the track running??



How do people in the general world (as well as F1) conduct a test?

1) They run something (e.g. a lap of the track)

2) They make a known and change to the conditions (e.g. change the tyres)

3) They run the same thing as before (another lap of the track)

4) They compare the outcome

In this instance, the only people changing anything were Pirelli. Mercedes were not allowed to change set-up as this would have distorted the impact of the change of types that were being used and made the data much less useful to Pirelli. In addition, Mercedes did not even know what tyres were being run, so they did not know what the change was that was being tested so the resulting data is not of much use to them.

In all ways that the test was set up, it was a Pirelli test. Yes, it happened to use a Mercedes car, but good on Mercedes i say. None of the other teams (except Ferrari) could be bothered to try and help Pirelli out. It is the teams collective inability to agree on anything (seemingly usually because Redbull are being difficult) that meant that Pirelli did not have a car of their own to test with.



Were it exactly as you word it, you’d want us to believe drivers or any other Mercedes personnel allowed…

– Were blind and/or unable to see the tyres.

– Were unable to determine whether a tyre that has gets quicker to optimal temperature and wears faster is soft, super-soft, hard or, perhaps, Full wet.

– Had no means to measure lap times.

– Had no feedback/understanding on how tyres degraded.

– Drove those 1000km right at the same “pace”/intensity so as not to have any influence in those tests.

Personally, I won’t buy any of the previous


So if Pirelli did the test, why oh why did Mercedes aks the FIA to use their 2013 car?????

Pirelli did the test so Pirelli is free to use the 2013 Mercedes anyway.

Lotus could do some tests too, just say that Genii Capital is testing what stickers work best.

Limitless ‘tests’ are possible!!!

Head & Shoulders could do a test with Vettel.

Oakley with Alonso

If Mercedes are not found guilty then tomorrow all the teams will be testing, well ‘others’ ofcourse.

To point out.. The FIA describes any track running time undertaken by a competitor testing. So even if its one meter out of the pitlane, driven by Brawn’s mother it’s trackrunning time so testing.

So the real question is who did the actual track running. Pirelli or Mercedes.


“, the only people changing anything were Pirelli. Mercedes were not allowed to change set-up”

So you know this as fact? A link that says so would be intersting


I don’t have a link, but both Pirelli and Mercedes said so in interviews with the BBC in Canada.


At last! someone else who can take a sensible view – well done.


not all modifications/upgrades are outright performance related. you also seem to forget that rosberg said he knew exactly what he was testing. they didn’t send him out without any discourse whatsoever relative to the type/characteristic of the tyres fitted and he then would also debrief pirelli post test.


It is not as simple as arguing that fire isn’t hot! People walk on hot coals…

No F1 car with a Mercedes engine can be run without Mercedes engineers getting them up and running. It is just the same with the other engine suppliers.

We will never know the full details but you would need to take into account just how many and which team members were fully involved with the testing – and the extent to which Pirelli controlled the tests.

Add to that the car(s?) used and there is no way anyone but a driver with current experience of the car could be used in the test.

If you relate this test with the way Bridgestone and ferrari used to run for days on end and it was hardly worth doing.


I think they genuinely thought nobody would find out, and it seems they might have got away with it. Until the story broke at Monaco, I don’t recall any reports in the press of Mercedes cars being seen running on track at Barcelona. I find it astonishing that nobody noticed given the unique sound an F1 car makes, but it seems it did pass unnoticed.

I also don’t remember the Ferrari test being reported in the press so it seems it is possible to run an F1 car for 3 days and it go unreported.


jonathan another point you missed, as there was no FIA observer present there was no oversight to verify that modifications/adjustments/new parts etc etc etc were not implemented. it is only mercedes word that nothing eventuated.

the big question is quite simple really. why did mercedes agree to do the test in the first place if they were not going to benefit? altruism? forget it.


oh dear!

You do realise this test was about Pirelli testing various tyre constructions and compounds don’t you?

To test one type of component means everything else remains much the same. Changing other parts or settings on the car completely ruins the validity of the test. Testing is about making very simple step changes to make comparisons. Any car changes made during the test would only have been done at the request of Pirelli.

The only time wholesale changes are made to a test car is if they feel they are going in the wrong direction and need to return to a known baseline setup.

There is very little Mercedes could have learnt from this test other than how Pirelli go about testing.


Are you stalking him?


I would generally have to agree with your assessment.

Spygate was merely 1 entrant stealing from another, with huge consequences ultimately and rightfully imposed.

to me, this is 1 entrant in cahoots with a sole supplier (with due dilligence and fiduciary responsibility to all) committing fraud against, AND breaking a “gentlemans’ agreement” against all TEN other entrants and forcing disrepute and corruption against the entirity of the sport, the governing body, the FOM promotional body, track promoters, the sponsors, the broadcast media, and the fans.

the death penalty is not an option, but lifetime banishment is…


I agree with this. Spygate was a few individuals stealing information from another team. This was planned and executed with the full knowledge of the team management.


This is worse than Spygate?!? Mon dieu, I fear for the world.


No you completely misunderstand how such tests are done. It was a Pirelli test through and through. They set the parameters, supplied the tyres, and collected the data. Mercedes on the other hand merely supplied the hardware.


“It was a Pirelli test through and through.”

The Tribunal ruled otherwise, so can people stop repeating this patently false claim?


On the contrary it was a Pirelli test in which Mercedes took part. Mercedes were reprimanded for taking part, and actually really avoided any significant penalty which in my view is fair under the circumstances. I suggest you check your facts!


Disagree! Merc agreed to provide the cars and drivers for the Pirelli program, and Pirelli as stated elsewhere were ‘delighted’ to have two world class drivers participating in the test. The test program was setup by Pirelli and the test program was defined by Pirelli.


Yeah absolutely silly excuse… ridiculous..


Who initiated the test? Pirelli.


Who happily used their 2013 car and race drivers? Mercedes.


Agreed. Also if it was as Mercedes claim a pirelli test not Mercedes… who was insuring the drivers and cars… Pirelli? I think not!


What a mess, there are no winners here, its loss loss for all of F1. If the FIA rules for MB then they seem toothless, to hard and MB could walk away from the sport.

PS James thank you for the great site

US F1 fan


Hmmm.. no real defence from Mercedes or Pirelli.. just leagl argument… then Mercedes say they should receive a light punishment… it all adds up to they know they are guilty and are going to be found guilty..

Just getting banned from the young driver test is no punishment as they got the same from their private test.. so it was all worth it in their eyes.. they need a much bigger punishment.. I say 3 race ban..


“Hmmm.. no real defence from Mercedes or Pirelli” except a statement from the FIA’s legal department saying a test with a 2013 car is possible if the test is carried out by Pirelli and therefore rule 22. would not apply. Think you will find that is a reasonable argument. The mind boggling part of this is the FIA claiming that statements from their race director and their in house lawyer are only their own interpretation. Ironic in the extreme, a lawyer standing up in court telling everybody that you can’t believe anything a lawyer says.


I wouldn’t agree that being excluded from the YD test would be no punishment. They could run far more than 1000k in a 3 day test and would have full control over what bits were on the car and what tyres to use when. But would it be sufficient punishment? I have no idea.


yes dave P, you are quite right. what’s more they, mercedes got their info sooner so that they can now feed that into their current calculations re total performance factors and what may be the way to go in ’14.


Only that they were testing 2014 tyres so any data couldn’t be applied to their current caluculations. Then you need to wonder if the data was of any real use anyway if they didn’t even know what they were testing.


according to rosberg he said that he knew exactly what they were testing otherwise he could not give them any accurate feedback. secondly, ,my comment re current calculations referred to those associated with the ’14 car not the current vehicle. read my post again.

Wilma the Great

‘it was about the lack of bodyguard and security personnel’ – did Brawn actually say that? I can’t believe, he’s really trying to convince anyone with this Ridiculous.

And what’s that about Whiting giving rhem permission? Didn’t he state that the other teams had to be invited? Well, they weren’t. So why mention this?

You can lose in a dispute or you can make fool of yourself. Brawn chose the latter.


Do people actually think that Merc and Pirelli tried to keep this test a complete secret. It would have involved hundreds of people from Merc, Pirelli, the track, security not to mention catering, there is no way that it could have remained secret regardless of helmets and it’s ludicrous to think it could have. There is a big difference from keeping the test secret and keeping the test low profile. The first infers you have something to hide the second that you just want privacy.


I would put money on the marketing and sponsors being involved here. Many sponsors only allow logos to be displayed at official events. A blank helmet can easily be part of what makes this a Pirelli test rather than a Mercedes event or have other monetary implications.


jonathan…. what makes you think that your point is in any way relevant? mercedes have already fessed up that they were inerror in this matter of helemets. do you seriously think that your ‘sponsor’ comment would not have been their first form of defence? c’mon!


Merc haven’t ‘fessed up’ at all.

They’ve admitted that in hindsight, it looks odd and creates the wrong impression.

That is quite different to confessing that it was a strategic move to hide the fact their current driver lineup was there.


Brawn didn’t say that, the Mercedes lawyer did but its an insult to human intelligence to say something so ridiculous and expect someone to buy it..


Apart from the helmet issue, Merc’s case is pretty strong. Brawn phoned Whiting and he saw no problems with the test, which was also confirmed by FIA Legal. To me, this should settle it.


I’m no lawyer, and am behind Alonso for this season so am not partisan in this either. It seems to me that Merc and Pirelli have a strong argument. The problem lies in the badly-worded rules and the lack of a defined structure within the FIA. OK, Merc may be in breach of the spirit of the rules, but I can’t see that they’ve breached the letter of the rules. And Pirelli? Maybe they’ve breached contract – that’s a different argument/case – but I can’t see what jurisdiction the tribunal has over them.

Horner’s personal presence is intriguing – is he taking this personally perhaps? Certainly RB have made the most (and harshest) noises about all of this… you’d think they were losing to Merc this year or something!


Horner said he knew about the test and refused to participate. How is on this article that no other team knew about it?

And nobody is talking about Horner on the begining saying that he did not know, and sometime after that saying he knew…

This whole thing sounds like crap…

The test was for Pirelli.

Ross asked to use the 2013 car (because he wanted or Porelli asked), and CW consulted rhe Oracle that said: “YES”.

The test was from Pirelli and why the FIA’s lawyer is charging Merc to have informed other teams?

Really, I’m not a lawyer, but seems a really simple case where the only guilty part seems to be Pirelli if the just informed RB, and FIA’s Oracle consulted by CW.

The helmets? C’mon… SV every GP is trying to hide his identity… 😉


Horner knew because Pirelli apparently asked Red Bull to provide a car for a 1000k tyre test. They has done one with Ferrari so asked Red Bull to do the next one. Red Bull apparently declined so Pirelli asked Mercedes who accepted.


It’s a bit comical the way people are trying to turn this into a Red Bull vs Mercedes contest. I’d think a Ferrari fan would be aware that Ferrari filed a compliant against Mercedes for conducting this test.

“I can’t see that they’ve breached the letter of the rules.”

It’s as clear as day – they conducted a test using this years car, which is an action explicitly prohibited under the rules. It doesn’t get any more open-and-shut than that.



I’m not really a fan of any one team or driver – my support and enjoyment of the sport is more nuanced than that.

I’m not anti Red Bull (although can’t get behind VET), nor am I pro Ferrari (but am rooting for ALO this year). So I’m not suggesting it’s all about Red Bull vs Merc (although Ferrari have been much more measured in their comments on the matter).

What I am saying is that the rules are badly written and thus open to interpretation. I’m also saying it’s odd that Christian Horner should attend the tribunal where no other team did (sending “legal observers” instead). This shows he’s taking a very personal interest in it all, and I find that intriguing because it suggests (to me at least) he sees a big threat coming from Merc.


Actually, no…it’s not “as clear as day”.

One of Merc’s arguments is where Article 22 talks about “undertaken by”. The test was undertaken by Pirelli…who aren’t a competitor, and are therefore exempt from the Sporting Regulations.

Lots of grey areas…and the only winners out of this will be the lawyers! 🙂


See my reply to Jonathan.


until you understand that this was a PIRELLI test using a Mercedes car…


Again…Pirelli undertook the test, not Mercedes. Therefore, the competitor wasn’t the party undertaking the test…which means Article 22 doesn’t apply.


The rules say ‘Track testing shall be considered any track running time not part of an Event undertaken by a


The other way around : ‘Track running time not part of an Event undertaken by a

competitor is considered testing’

So actually there where two tests, Pirelli did their test and Mercedes had track running time so they had a test too!



A Pirelli test carried out by a current driver, just Like Ferrari last year with Massa a current driver


jonathan…’ve missed a point here! a pirelli test with a ferrari backromm full of monitors and MERCEDES current drivers!!!


What do you mean? The rules say Mercedes or any other team cannot test durring season with current cars. What is badly worded here?


But the rules don’t say that, @MISTER – that’s your interpretation of them. If you take a look at what the rule actually says (and consult a dictionary to see what “undertake” means) it is not as clear cut as you seem to think. It is also arguable that the “substantial difference” referred to is in the regulations not in a team’s solution to those regulations. Nowhere does this mythical “two years or older” statement appear – it’s certainly far from clear why the tribunal dismissed the allegation against Ferrari based on what the rule states.

So I stand by my contention that the rules are badly written – let’s face it, if they were well written they’d be watertight and we wouldn’t be here. The FIA wrote those rules and the teams signed-up to those rules. The FIA can’t now say “yes, that’s what we wrote, and yes our lawyer and technical delegate both agree with your interpretation, but what we wrote down isn’t what we meant so we are going to haul you to tribunal”


The point is it was a pirelli test. Undertaken by pirelli. This is the argument and I agree with the above that article 22 is badly worded.

I read that the test with massa in a 2011 car was paid for by Ferrari and tgey carried out set up changes.

I don’t think the situation is as black and white as we first thought.


Why did they call the FIA then to ask permission?

According to them the rules are that the test is “undertaken by” Pirelli, so they could use the 2013 car, but somehow they still asked the FIA about it.

Why didn’t Mercedes do more tests then?

Testing is limitless if the rules are as they say. Just let the test be ‘undertaken by’ someone else and everything is fine.

Actually the rules say ‘track running time not part of an Event undertaken by a

competitor’ NOT ‘test undertaken by’

Pirelli did the test but Mercedes did the track running 😉


Article 22 in the sporting regulations is pretty vague about how old the F1 car should be that is still allowed for testing.

And it also doesn’t state anything what kind of testing the tyre manufacturer is allowed to do.

FIA blunder imho.


The regulations may not state it, but it pretty much accepted practice in F1 that a 2 year old car can be used for whatever the teams want. Many have used their old cars at demo days and the like and nobody has objected. That nobody (including Mercedes) objected when Ferrari used the 2011 car at a Pirelli test speaks volumes.


Accepted practice is no basis for a solid legal argument.


“FIA blunder imho.”

Correct. And they’re just making themselves look more foolish by persecuting Pirelli and Mercedes and throwing their own man (Whiting) under the bus, suggesting he’s got no authoritah to respect!


How is throwing Charlie under the bus by stating the fact he doesn’t have the authority to change rules? Even Charlie said to Merc his answer to their vague question was no binding commitment from the FIA.

Has FIA stated prior to this that Charlie Whiting can change the rules and now they deny it?


I also think this is mainly FIA’s fault.


Best part about the meeting – Horner’s presence. 🙂


I love how the F1 press asked him for his thoughts on Mercedes case. As if he could or would ever say “well they really won me over”.

I think it pretty much guarantees that Todt won’t be able to sway teams from lodging protests if RBR are caught doing anything questionable in the future. Any and everything will be protested.


Quite a lame excuse about the helmets.

I stand by my call that we will see mild punishment for Mercedes and 1000km test for everyone but Mercedes ASAP.


Use Mercedes’s constructor points/prize money as a way to fund a 2000km pirelli test for all other teams.


I can see the logic in the helmets argument, but it is a bit weak I agree. I don’t see how it’s particularly relevant to the question of whether-or-not the rules were broken though. I agree that the solution you suggest seems very sensible, but at the same time Merc and Pirelli’s arguments are compelling – should either suffer any censure at all? Not for us to say of course!

I hope the FIA take a sensible pill and don’t cut their nose off to spite their face (which they’re in danger of doing). Balance can be achieved by offering the other teams an identical Pirelli-directed test, no matter whether-or-not Merc and Pirelli are guilty of breaking the rules. And if the teams want their drivers to wear plain helmets in those tests then so be it. Mr Horner won’t like it, but I think that says more about RB’s motivation in all of this than it does about the veracity of the original complaint.


That Mercedes gained is beyond doubt. But it whether they wore pink or florescent blue helmets to do the test is absolutely irrelevant.

Whether Merc broke the rules or not is what is doubtful and needs proving either way.


I wonder what is behind this sentiment against RBR? Could a certain UK driver have anything to do with it?

Are you saying such infractions should not be reported or objected to?

I think the test was a wrong way to do things. Indeed, no need to go heavy on punishment. But we can all agree Mercedes gained advantage from this test. It is one thing to develop advantage from ideas. It is another to do so from a test others have no access to having.


It depends on whether others did indeed have no access to it or whether, as Brawn stated to EJ, they wanted to be paid to be involved.

Regardless, I don’t see that it was Mercedes’ responsibility to involve the other teams – it was Pirelli’s.


And are you going to pay for those tests you’re so eager to allocate?


Pirelli can.

Mercedes fine for rules breach could as well.


There is a 3-day test at Silverstone following the British GP. Banning Merc from that would have the same effect.


What complete nonsense of a day this was. Merc’s excuses of why the drivers wore blank helmets is a joke. And the difference between Ferrari and Mercedes tests was massive. To claim there was less than 0.5 seconds between a 2011 car and a 2013 car is a joke also. This is the sort of crap that annoys me most about f1. Politics is a joke.



There is a simple solution for Lewis and Nico not having to wear a black helmet because of a lack of security people.

Stick to the rules and let a test driver do the test instead of their race drivers.


There were no rules specifying who had to drive a Pirelli Test.

You seem ok that Massa did more than 1000km of testing for Pirelli in a Ferrari last year?


Indeed, it would be interesting to know when Massa conducted the test last season – did it coincide with his dramatic improvement in form in the second half of the season? If it did he ceratinly benefitted from it.

I can’t see why Mercedes should contact the other teams if it was Pirelli responsible for initiating the test.



Good point.


But Ferrari also conducted a secret test. Why? To gain an advantage.

Ferrari should be in the dock with Mercedes for performing a secret test, 201, 2012, or current car…but we all know why ther are not there because we know what FIA stands for.


Ferrari did the test within the regulations and yes they did it to gain an advantage thats what f1 is all about but as has been stated again and again Ferrari used a 2011 car wich was with in the rules…. some people just cant handle the truth


I don’t understand how people miss the point that a test with a 2 year old car is legal. When Mercedes used the 2013 car everyone said why didn’t they just use a 2011 car and no 1 would of said anything. Because Mercedes are trying to bring up things in court to blame Ferrari tells you all you need to no and that is Mercedes broke the rules. Christian Horner himself said there was nothing wrong legality wise with Ferrari’s test this year. There is no details about the supposed 2012 test so nobody can make a comment on something they don’t no anything about.


The helmets don’t matter in the least, what drivers wear for testing is their business, so long as it meets safety regs.

The only case to answer is the use of a 2013 car.


The Ferrari argument is interesting: In order to gather meaningful data Pirelli needs to test with a car that has very similar performance characteristics to the current cars. So if Pirelli gathered useful data from the test with Ferrari then ipso facto the 2011 car was substantially similar to the 2013 car. Therefore if the Pirelli+Merc test was illegal then so was the Pirelli+Ferrari test; Conversely, if the Pirelli+Ferrari test was legal then so was the Pirelli+Merc test.


I know. But that Mercedes lawyer is not very smart. It should not look at how much performance difference in time is between 2011 and 2013 car. They should look at the cars itselfs. 2011 one had push rod suspension while 2012 and 2013 are pull rod.

As far as I’m concerned, Ferarri could’ve brought a tractor in 2013 which could go 0.5s faster than the 2011 car. Should that mean there was no difference between 2011 and 2013 cars? Pfff!


I feel you are missing the point. The pull / push rod point is irrelevant. The similarity question is in respect of the regulations and not a team’s interpretation of them.

As for Mercede’s lawyer he is a well respected QC and probably in a league above the FIA legal representation. The real problem is the lack of clarity in the regulations. The FIA needs to apply some clever minds and some serious thinking to make the F1 rules enforceable.


Kenneth@ if push/pull rod are so relevant “for the test Ferrari conducted”, why do you think even Ferrari conducted this test?

Did Merc gain any advantage? YES

Did Ferrari gain any advantage? YES

Interestingly, you can see that right after Ferrari’s test, PDR was made to sit on Ferrari’s simulator for days and nights together and was seen carrying new sets of upgrades to the next GO, which subsequently Ferrari WON.

Do you still believe Ferrari din’t gain anything?


Jonathan has hit the core of the matter squarely. There are a lot of people arguing about inconsequential things like helmets, or in the current thread, about if the diferrences in the car were “significant” or if the car was “representative.” The words in quotes are the words in the contracts; the FIA has not bothered to define these terms in the shambolic documents that govern F1. These are the things that matter.


kenneth, jonathon said that Ferrari’s decision to go pull rod is not pertinent, but rather the relative stability in the technical regulations that the teams have operated within for 2011-13.

The Mercedes lawyer is the same guy who won the double-deck diffuser case, so to my mind he’s gotta be good.


I see your point now, but I always thought it was the car that can’t be too representative to the current one. Seems a bit stupid to take the regulations into account. If there are no regulation changes for 4-5 years, that means a team need to use a car which will be 6-7 years old. That can’t be right!


jonathon…surely you can’t be serious with your comment re ‘push rod/pull rod’ being irrelevant?

suspension geometry has a profound effect on the cars performance hence the changes made by ferrari.


Agree.. some of the lap records are from the early 2000’s are they going to claim there is no difference between a williams at monza in 2002 and todays car… very very weak


The differences there are clear … different engine size, different wing lengths (front and rear), traction control, etc.

The only thing significantly different from 2013 to 2011 is the lack of EBD which most teams have clawed back with their Coanda exhausts.


And also, testing a 2011 car is legal, so the difference in performance is irrelevant. Mercedes arguments seem very weak.


Spain has been in trouble a few times for racial hated towards Lewis, so it is reasonable. So that’s why he wanted to remain anon.

As for Nico wearing a matching black helmet, a day 1 novice logician should be able to explain it to you (and she would be over qualified).

heinzman (Fan of ALO)

so he wore the helmet the minute he walked out of his hotel room did he?


Ah….the Ali G defense. Best excuse yet.


And what is “the Ali G defense?”



Oh come on, get off of it. Rosberg and Hamilton wore black helmets because Mercedes were trying to be incognito about this test. They didn’t have security personnel there because the less people who know about the test taking place means there’s less people who could talk. Don’t hide behind some racial claim. The monkey chants are disgusting and inexcusable but if Lewis was in any actual danger at this test, security would have been provided. The security was there for the prior 4 days, why wouldn’t Mercedes tell them to stick around? They knew they were breaking the rules and they kept the circle who knew as small as possible.


If it was Pirelli who organised the test, it was not for Mercedes to tell security anything.


No, the circuit was not open to the public. So no fans were allowed. Nobody was going to bother or insult Lewis.


So the FIA’s case includes the fact that any advice given by it’s own senior personnel isn’t worth the paper it’s not written on? And even if it is written down it still means nothing.

Does anyone else find this absolutely mind-boggling?


Yes, mind boggling. One would think this was a clear case of the Law of Agency.

One gets the impression that Mercedes and/or Pirelli could’ve asked every single person in the FIA and got the “you’re good to test, but in no way is any of what I just said binding on me” from each and every one of them.

Garage league stuff.


Since Pirelli organised and paid for the test, and the FIA granted the use of the cirquit; how is it Mercedes duty to go inform everyone else? That is a horribly illogical expectation at best.

It can be argued that it is a specific duty of the FIA to inform all other teams of ongoing tyre tests. Afterall, the FIA knew about the tests and okayed the track for use, didn’t they? All the FIA is doing here is shirking its duties. Its a disgrace.


I agree with you KRB … Once again we see the vagueness off the rules leading to another debacle.

The incompetence of the author of the Sporting Regs. is the real problem here. The FIA needs to do better than this

Richard Williams

I could not agree with you more. It is an absurd situation. I would not blame Pirelli for walking away from F1 – all they’ve had is rubbish chucked at them throughout their F1 involvement. I’ve no doubt that, if Mercedes are publicly pilloried, they will pull the plug too. Indeed, I’d like them to so we can see the whole corrupt business unravel.

Why did the ghastly little Horner show up?


Horner showed up because:

a) he wanted to see Brawn put under pressure and squirm under cross examination (but my bet is that Brawn maintained a poker face and calm exterior for the entire time), and

b) to see how these tribunals go and what arguments have impact so that when they are hauled up in the future for their traction control breach (or flexible wings or whatever other rule they get caught breaching – and let’s face it, they are all breaching rules and trying to disguise it so they don’t get found out) he knows how to play it.


” I’ve no doubt that, if Mercedes are publicly pilloried, they will pull the plug too. “

No chance. They’ve finally got a team capable of winning races, they’ve agreements in place to supply engines to numerous teams, they’ve signed up Hamilton for 5 years, they’ve cherry picked people to run the team etc etc etc.

Mercedes won’t walk away, it’s an empty threat by desperate men who know they’re as guilty as sin!


Horner showed up because Sebastian told him to of course. I must say Ross Brawn goes down in my estimation more each day. How can he sit there and still say he gained nothing from this? Sorry but you should be let go just for that.


“Horner showed up because Sebastian told him to of course”

H I L A R I O U S ! ! !


What is “mind-boggling” is trying to make a point by cherry picking evidence.

You forgot to point out these 3 facts:

-it was possible[to test] provided that Pirelli invited all the other teams to test and to show that it had done so.

-The FIA’s reason for bringing them in was the lack of transparency over the test and lack of opportunity given to the other teams,

-There was no attempt whatsoever by Mercedes to involve the other teams in order to ensure that no perception of an advantage was obtained,”

But the most memorable is this quote from the Mercedes lawyer:

“We regret now the decision of our drivers to wear black helmets and we apologise, ” said Harris. “We had our reasons – it was about the lack of bodyguard and security personnel. We do acknowledge that this part of the test aroused suspicions and it is regrettable.”

Bodyguard… wow.. lol


LMAO re “Black Helmets”

So Merc could arrange to hire an F1 facility for 3+ days of testing + trucks, crews, engineers, mechanics, catering & supplies, hotels, black helmets and private screening all around the race track, but could not afford or arrange a few security guards???


Pirelli paid the cost of the test didnt they?

heinzman (Fan of ALO)


this is as blatant as it gets


Yeah, pretty hilarious. I don’t expect anything less than deduction of all constructor points so far accumulated this season.


FIA thinks it’s own kangaroo court can subject a supplier such as Pirelli to the same rules as the teams.??? That beggar’s belief.

If I was in Pirelli’s shoes, I would:

A. Refuse the existence of their court by turning up today.

B. Tell them to go where the sun does n’t shine!


That should read,

“A. Refuse the existence of their court by NOT turning up today.”


Its all smoke and mirrors. Well, tomorrow, we’ll watch as another rabbit is pulled out of the F1 hat… Yet again.




It wasn’t on paper at all it was verbal


“Does anyone else find this absolutely mind-boggling?”