Lauda: I’ve bet €50 with Marko we will escape penalty for secret test

Mercedes boss Niki Lauda with Red Bull's Chrsitian Horner and Helmut Marko

Mercedes boss Niki Lauda with Red Bull‘s Chrsitian Horner and Helmut Marko

With the furore over Mercedes’ secret Pirelli test mounting, as rival F1 teams claim they were not given advance warning by the tyre supplier that the test in Barcelona was taking place, Niki Lauda has made a wager with Red Bull’s Helmut Marko that the Silver Arrows will not be penalised

As it refused to rule out “penalties”, the FIA said Pirelli and Mercedes would have got the green light for the test “provided every team” was also offered the same opportunity.

It has emerged Ferrari did a secret test for Pirelli before Barcelona with a 2011 car, with Pedro de la Rosa at the wheel. And Red Bull confirmed it was asked about conducting a test for Pirelli, “but we very clearly said no,” Dr Helmut Marko told Austrian television Servus TV.

“In our opinion, such a test is not covered by the regulations. It is a clear violation.”

There are reports that Pirelli distributed an email about the possibility of tyre testing, but many teams reportedly deny ever receiving it.

“We feel cheated,” Sauber founder Peter Sauber is quoted by Swiss media.

F1 teams claim no knowledge of the Mercedes - Pirelli test at Barcelona

F1 teams claim no knowledge of the Mercedes – Pirelli test at Barcelona

According to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, Williams also denies knowing about the possibility of Pirelli tyre testing.

And asked if his team was consulted, Lotus boss Eric Boullier is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace: “No.”

Force India’s Bob Fernley said the issue came up in a FOTA meeting, but it was not a formal invitation to test.

“I don’t remember getting a letter from Pirelli on the subject,” he insisted.

In fact, the Telegraph newspaper refers to an email to teams from the teams association FOTA, explicitly warning that in-season testing is not allowed unless there is “unanimous” consent by all teams. The matter is now in the FIA’s hands.

“I don’t expect there to be a judgement before Montreal,” Marko said. “I would say by Silverstone at the earliest.”

Red Bull and Ferrari are reportedly proposing that, if Mercedes was allowed to test, they should as well.

Did the secret tyre test help Nico Rosberg on his way to victory in Monaco?

Did the secret tyre test help Nico Rosberg on his way to victory in Monaco?“We want to have the same test in order to get to the same level,” said Marko. But it is clear that not all teams, particularly those who are happiest with Pirelli’s difficult 2013 tyres, will agree to that remedy.

“There will certainly be a penalty, because Mercedes’ tyre advantage in Monaco was obvious,” Marko is quoted by Bild newspaper. “There is also a question of cost, because such a test costs nearly a million euros.”

Another factor, said Marko, is the long-life engine rule, with Mercedes’ three race distances at the secret test supposedly now excluded from its allocation of eight engines per driver.

“There is a long list of things,” said the outspoken Austrian. “We also want to have this test. Logistically, it can only happen at Silverstone, which means that we have lost two races until we have the same knowledge.”

Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda, meanwhile, is accusing Red Bull of sour grapes.

“Red Bull was also asked (about the test) but we were simply faster to accept,” he said. “So they are just sore losers.

“I have made a bet with Helmut Marko – 50 euros – that there will be no consequences for Mercedes,” the Austrian legend added.

Finally, Marko said Red Bull is not questioning the validity of Nico Rosberg’s Monaco win.

“We deliberately put in the protest before the race, because our protest is about the test, not Nico Rosberg’s victory. It was a great performance and we can live with second and third places,” he insisted. (GMM)

  • Not Bernie

    Interesting how Ferrari were the first to have a “secret” test. What punishments will they face?

  • Sean

    @Not Bernie,

    Jez, Man! … Read the story! … Ferrari conducted the test with a 2011 spec car, plus a reserve driver …

    They done it EXACTLY by the book … The only trouble here for Mercedes is that they used the current (2103) WP04 car, with two race drivers … the rules permitting this make it clear that the car cannot be from the current or previous season, and the test must be conducted by Pirelli, with a reserve driver, or test driver.

    Ferrari, for once, stuck to all of the rules! …

    Yeeeeaaaaaaa! :-)

  • marko

    Lauda does lllegal things and then goes on to say he can bet he won’t get punished. you bunch of old fools should just shut up. I stole from someone just for fun or just because I could and I am a driver, a world famous driver so no one can touch me. These sort of statements are just mocking the FIA, if it is not a mockery already. If Fia don’t punish them they prove to be the governing body of nothing, after all the tests had happened without their approval or knowledge.

  • Henk

    If he were so sure, he’d bet €5000, not

  • Not Bernie could not buy a clue

    Mercedes has to be excluded from the championship.

    An outright ban would be more fitting for Mercedes.

    Honor and Mercedes are two words that just do not go together.

  • Odd Lord

    @ editors :

    can’t you make it impossible for 1 IP to reply with different names?

    To keep out the persons with multiple-personality-problems?

    I think MB will walk away with it, maybe a fine, and thats it.
    Just remember all the other top-teams “bending” the rules in their favor (mainly Ferrari and RedBull..)

  • hillside

    i hope Mercs can scape this at least it would be more competitive season

  • Not Bernie

    I think a lot of people are missing the simple fact that this was a Pirelli test that Mercedes provided the equipment for. It could have been any team.

    Mercedes asked the FIA for permission; that’s the end of the story as far as Mercedes is concerned. If anybody is pulling a fast one it’s Pirelli.

    As for the Ferrari test, it’s really the same thing. It’s in season testing no matter how you look at it. If Ferrari were testing exclusively this year’s tyres (and look how well they did with them at Barcelona) is this an unfair advantage?

    Yet the Mercedes tests were apparently 90% tyres for next season.

    For clarity, I don’t think Ferrari or Mercedes should be punished for this at all. I do think we need to hear from Pirelli and especially the FIA. And any future test should be fully announced and reported what they’re testing.

  • Lol

    Anyone who believes this test was legal is living in fantasy world.

  • Flash Flaherity of the Long Ski

    Wow, still amazed at how quiet this issue is. Mercedes has magic powers, or the pundits here lack all credibility in their previous rants and hysteria over far less serious with Red Bull Red Bull.

    Read the FIA statement. They did not grant specific permission for the test, nor were they notified it was taking place. They answered an inquiry as to whether a current spec car could be used by Pirelli for a tire test, to which they were told yes, as long as ALL teams were provided the same opportunity. The test was then conducted without notification to any other team, or the FIA. This was a purposeful manipulation to skirt the rules, and is indeed illegal.

    Mercedes did not participate in this out of charity, they indeed hoped to gain something from it, particularly resolution of their tire degradation issues and lack of race pace.

    Offering all other teams the same opportunity now is obviously impossible, as many cannot possibly afford it, while schedulign individual open track sessions for the remaining teams of equal value would be a logistical nightmare. This is again the intent and design of Mercedes in not notifying anyone of the test proceedings. This was orchestrated to gain advantage and action should be taken to eliminate that advantage.

  • mitchw

    It’s interesting that only RB and SF protested. Could this mean that some other teams have also enjoyed private sessions with Pirelli?

  • Steve

    “Mercedes asked the FIA for permission; that’s the end of the story as far as Mercedes is concerned.”

    THE FIA did not grant permission for the test which took place, so that’s not the end of the story regardless of what Mercedes thinks.

  • Steve

    A whole 50 euro? Doesn’t sound like Lauda is very confident then.

  • Mark

    If it was red bull doing this, the web would crash with Alonso fans rage comments.

  • Not Bernie

    “THE FIA did not grant permission for the test which took place, so that’s not the end of the story regardless of what Mercedes thinks.”

    If that were the case how come the FIA knew to provide a steward at the test?

  • Steve

    There’s a very important difference between “The FIA did not grant permission for a test” and “The FIA did not grant permission for the test which took place”.

  • fools

    “Red Bull was also asked (about the test) but we were simply faster to accept,” he said. “So they are just sore losers.”

    I guess Alonso was right… According to last weeks articles.


  • Mercedes Tested New Gear Box As Well As Tires

    It is now being reported that not only did Mercedes test tires that will be used in Canada but Mercedes may have also tested a new gear box that used different suspension geometry as well.

    There is no doubt that Mercedes out right cheated.

  • Butterfly

    I’m willing to bet 50 USD that Bernie is behind all this. First, he was fighting with Merc, not wanting to give them a seat on the F1 board. Now, all of a sudden, Merc gets the seat and they conduct a secret test right after words goes around that Bernie’s about the be charged by German prosecutors.

    I wonder if Merc has connections to people in high places and they’re giving Bernie some slack in return for F1 favors.

  • grillo

    @not bernie

    Oh, come on… Ferrari test was secret for us, not for the teams. And it was by the book.