Mercedes may face FIA penalties over secret tyre test

Mercedes in hot water over secret test

Mercedes in hot water over secret test

The FIA is not ruling out handing penalties, after stewards on Sunday investigated Mercedes’ secret Barcelona tyre test and handed over the matter to the sport’s governing body.

Before the Monaco Grand Prix, Red Bull and Ferrari filed an official protest, arguing the three-day test with a 2013-spec car was a breach of the sporting rules.

Having conducted an investigation after Sunday’s race, the FIA confirmed it knew Pirelli wanted to do the test, but only gave a conditional green light in the event “every team is offered the opportunity” to also test.

“The FIA received no confirmation that all teams had been given an opportunity to take part in this test,” the FIA statement added.

Formula 1’s governing body is not ruling out the intervention now of the International Tribunal, which could “inflict penalties”.

Ross Brawn with Niki Lauda

Ross Brawn with Niki Lauda

Mercedes’ Niki Lauda, however, told Brazil’s O Estado de S.Paulo that the FIA “sent a delegate” to the test, and that Charlie Whiting and Bernie Ecclestone knew about it as well.

A Pirelli spokesman said Ferrari was invited to test and turned down the offer, while Dr Helmut Marko said a Red Bull engineer had also been “informally” asked.

It is rumoured that Red Bull and Ferrari both said no because they believed the test would have to be done with a two-year old car. Indeed, between Bahrain and China, a Pirelli tyre test took place with a 2010 Ferrari.

But “Every team would like an exclusive test with a current car,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said on Sunday.

Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn told Auto Motor und Sport: “We knew nothing about it (the Mercedes test).”

Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff

But Mercedes’ executive director Toto Wolff denies the team tried to hide the test, and dismissed suggestions the German squad used the opportunity to test car developments.

“There was only ten days between the request and the test,” he said, “which is not enough time to produce any development parts.”

And Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda insisted: “When we were asked to do this, our team boss Ross Brawn called Charlie Whiting and asked if a test is compatible with the sporting regulations. Charlie consulted with the FIA lawyers and gave us the green light. Moreover, Pirelli didn’t just ask us, but Red Bull as well.”

Christian Horner confirmed that Red Bull was asked by Pirelli. “We declined,” he said, “because we are of the opinion that such a test violates the regulations.”

Wolff, however, is livid, particularly as the storm coincided with Nico Rosberg’s convincing victory in Monaco, “The term ‘sore losers’ comes to mind.”

But the question remains: did Mercedes unfairly benefit from the exclusive test?

“Impossible to say,” quadruple world champion Alain Prost told France’s RMC Sport, “but I don’t think we can say this win was because of the test. That wouldn’t be fair.”

“What is certain is that unauthorised things are not allowed. Time will tell,” the great Frenchman added.

FIA statement on the matter:

“At the beginning of May, the FIA was asked by Pirelli if it was possible for it to carry out some tyre development testing with a team, using a current car. Within the contract Pirelli has with the FIA as single supplier, there is provision for them to carry out up to 1000km of testing with any team – provided every team is offered the opportunity to do so.

“Pirelli and Mercedes-AMG were advised by the FIA that such a development test could be possible if carried out by Pirelli, as opposed to the team that would provide the car and driver, and that such tests would be conditional upon every team being given the same opportunity to test in order to ensure full sporting equity.

“Following this communication, the FIA received no further information about a possible test from Pirelli or from Mercedes-AMG. Furthermore, the FIA received no confirmation that all teams had been given an opportunity to take part in this test.

“In addition, with regard to the application of the sport’s rules, including principles of sporting equity, it should be remembered that the International Sporting Code provides that on the basis of a report of the stewards of the meeting, or on its own initiative, the prosecuting body of the FIA may bring a matter before the International Tribunal.

“The Tribunal may decide to inflict penalties that would supercede any penalty the stewards of the meeting may have issued. Such procedure would be followed in pursuance of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules.”

  • Pj

    Say what they want they’re bunch of loser every team was invited now there call foul on Mercedes :D for losing one race poor red bull and Ferrari crying like a baby

  • Ban Mercedes for the rest of this year

    Mercedes plays all high and mighty how they might leave formula one because of things going on a while back that brought the sport into disrepute yet here is Mercedes caught red handed cheating.

    I have backed Pirelli because they were asked to make the tire that is out there and all the drivers and teams have the same chance to work out their car and driving for said tire.

    But after this underhanded deal with Mercedes not only should Mercedes be banned for the rest of this year but Pirelli needs to be replaced starting next year.

    Both Mercedes and Pirelli have brought shame upon formula one.

    Nothing short of a full ban for the rest of this year will be acceptable for Mercedes and it is time for Ross Braun to go as well.

    To openly cheat like Mercedes did can not be allowed to stand and shame on Pirelli, at the very least fire the Pirelli motorsport boss.

    Toto Wolff also needs to go, he is a scum bag who’s team has been caught cheating red handed.

    Mercedes should forever hang its head in shame and should again leave formula one for good this time due to their underhanded cheating actions.

    I guess we now know that Mercedes is all talk when it comes to honor and will stab you in the back when all is said and done.

    You really can’t trust the Germans.

  • Not Bernie

    If Mercedes, as stated, asked the FIA for permission and it was granted then they have no case to answer.

    However, Pirelli very much do. And apparently they now have to give the chance to all the other teams the chance to test.

    The reality is that it’s a mess created by the FIA. They’ve been told by Pirelli, even had a representative at the test, and gave permission to Mercedes. They’re the ones who set the rules and police them. Now they’ve realised they been caught bending their own rules. After a week where it’s looked that they’ve acted in Ferrrari’s favour by stopping any significant changes to improve the tyres for all teams.

    The FIA are pointing fingers whereas they really should be questioning themselves.

  • Pj you don’t have a clue

    Pj,

    you don’t have a clue, there are teams who have come forward to state they knew nothing of this test by Pirelli and were never asked by Pirelli if they wanted to attend.

    As for Mercedes, nothing short of a full ban for the rest of this season will be good enough.

    Mercedes is a snake that can’t be trusted, look at how they lied and raped Chrysler. You can’t trust the Germans that has been proven many times over the years.

    If were up to me I would ban Mercedes for life from any involvement in Formula One.

  • The rules are clear that any testing has to be with a two year old car nothing newer.

    The rules are very clear and Mercedes knows them very well, any tire testing that is allowed has to be done with a two year old car.

    Mercedes used their current 2013 car and both their current drivers for this illegal tire test.

    Mercedes should be banned from any involvement in Formula One for life to include engine deals as well.

    Shame on Mercedes and shame on Pirelli.

  • L

    Pj is a typical biased Mercedes/Hamilton fan, totally blind to what they did, namely cheating.

    Most teams were not invited, not even aware of it and using the 2013 car for testing is illegal, period.

  • Odd Lord

    geez.. i think we should ban schizophrenics from this forum…

    You are replying yourself with different names.. dude.. go find a job.. im sure they will need some errandboy somewehere.. start asking your granny if you can do something usefull for a quarter.. do this for every personality you have and soon you end up with 2bucks

    xD

  • AussieGritFan

    Mercedes received confirmation ‘reportedly’ to be able to test. FIA gave them the go. It’s Pirelli who should be flicked. It’s not racing anymore, it’s preservation of tyre. I’d hate to see what Ayrton thinks of this years racin. Slow and boring.

  • Steve

    “Mercedes received confirmation ‘reportedly’ to be able to test. FIA gave them the go.”

    The FIA has denied that they ever gave any such permission.

    “The reality is that it’s a mess created by the FIA. They’ve been told by Pirelli, even had a representative at the test, and gave permission to Mercedes.”

    They did not give any such permission.

  • Steve

    For God’s sake, this story contains the FIA statement on the matter”

    “Pirelli and Mercedes-AMG were advised by the FIA that such a development test could be possible if carried out by Pirelli, as opposed to the team that would provide the car and driver, and that such tests would be conditional upon every team being given the same opportunity to test in order to ensure full sporting equity.”

    How can anyone still be claiming that the FIA “granted permission” for this test?

  • conservancy@MHR

    … Pirelli, caught red-handed, playing politics with Formula 1 — asj.

  • Lol.

    McLaren recieved exclusion from the contructors world title and a large fine for their involvement in liegate, a direct breach of sporting regulations. Mercedes will recieve the same punishment.

  • Lol.

    *their involvement in spygate, 2007

  • Tinto

    Quite sure Mercedes consulted their lawyers before testing, practically they tricked Pirelli as well using a 2013 instead of 2011 car as Ferari did between Bahrain and Barcelona. Simply put, Mercedes intentionally cheated. They wanted it badly, for three years the so called high tech Mercedes engineering was nowhere, extending their ordeal was not a choice without damaging the brand. The punishment will be nothing in comparison with the reward having a winning car they managed finally understanding the tires. Overall, Mercedes will be the winner despite a clear ethics infringement.

  • dawn

    well why is everyone having ago at mercedes it not like red bulls and ferrari have not broke the rules red bull do it every year and get away with it there in partnership with the FIA as with ferrari so what is it one rule for red bull and ferrari and another for the rest of the teams

  • Not Bernie

    Steve,
    “How can anyone still be claiming that the FIA “granted permission” for this test?”

    It’s unrealistic to think that Mercedes could have simply handed over the keys to the car and walked away. These are complex beasts that even need warmed up before you can turn the engine over! You can’t even start them without hooking it up to a laptop.

    Pirelli, obviously, wanted and needed to test tyres on a current car. There would have been little point in testing with an older car as they already have free access to one.

    The FIA, apparently, also had a representative at the tests. The answers have to come from the FIA and Pirelli.

    Remember too that we all have been wanting better tyres from Pirelli. We want tyres that reward the fastest drivers and the most technically advanced cars. What we have just now is as far from that as you could imagine. Vettel showed this with a lap 2 seconds quicker at the end. 2 seconds in a sport where millions are spent just to get a tenth quicker!

    As for costs, I’m sure that Pirelli picked up the bill for this test.

  • Kimi4WDC

    Taking away current Mercedes and their drivers points would be fair.

  • Purnomo

    Lets all teams but Merc to carryout 1000km 3 days test.
    Lets Merc paying all those 3 days test bills
    Huge fined for Merc
    Exclude Merc from Construction Cship but not the drivers