Red Bull wanted $100-million fine for Mercedes

Christian Horner with Helmut Marko and Niki Lauda

Christian Horner with Helmut Marko and Niki Lauda

The curious outcome of the ‘test-gate’ saga is that, although found guilty of breaking the rules, Mercedes is reacting with relief at the outcome of the international tribunal’ verdict.

Ferrari, though its ascerbic ‘Horse Whisperer’ column, and fellow protester Red Bull, sound like the losers, angry that their German rival is only banned from the forthcoming young drivers’ test.

Indeed, Austrians Niki Lauda – Mercedes chairman – and Red Bull’s Helmut Marko made a bet in the midst of the scandal in which the ‘loser’ would have to pay EUR 50 to the winner.

Lauda sent Marko only a text message.

“Punishment is punishment,” Marko told Bild. “He should put his money in an envelope.”

Marko, however, can actually see the ‘winner’ Lauda’s side of the argument, describing the judges’ verdict as “a joke”.

“We expected a much [harsher] decision,” he said.

Mercedes and Pirelli hearing in Paris

Mercedes and Pirelli hearing in Paris

In fact, Bild newspaper claims that Red Bull submitted to the tribunal that Mercedes should be fined $100 million – a la the McLaren ‘spygate’ scandal – and docked 150 constructors’ championship points.

As it happens, Mercedes is happy with the outcome.

“It is a relief,” admitted team director and co-owner Toto Wolff, “but we only pop champagne bottles when we win on the track.”

Lauda added: “The decision of the FIA is absolutely correct, and in the spirit of motor racing.”

But he insists that Mercedes also would have accepted a harsher penalty.

“Without doubt we would not have appealed a harsher judgement,” triple world champion Lauda told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

“I’ve been in this sport for decades, and what I was concerned about the most was the harmony and mutual respect between the teams.

“In a sport where technology plays such an important role, there will always be misunderstandings and room for interpretation – it’s completely normal.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Matthias O’keeffe

    I want Mercedes to sue Red Bull 1 billion dollars for spying on them..

  • Cubicledweller

    Red Bull is just an vile Energy Drinks company. Nothing of substance.

  • McLarenfan

    Red Bull are a joke in respect of the sporting code they do not think that the regulations are a thing set in stone they put things on the car and if the FIA find them they remove them yet they think that Mercedes should be fined $100-million

  • M451

    Christian Horner is absolutely right. How can Mercedes let off with losing a test that wouldn’t benefit them anyway? They have 2 good drivers, and drivers eligible for the young drivers test son’t have the experience to test parts properly. They should of received much harsher punishment.

  • BernieO

    So the bottom line is any team can have a secret test with Pirelli as the only punishment, set by this precedent, is to be banned from the new drivers test. Red Bull should be scheduling it right now.

  • Ploopy

    @BernieO, The bottom line is a team can have a test, if they ask Charlie Whiting and the FIA lawyer first, get permission, then run for three days with NO ability to adjust the car in any way, and no data coming to them from the test. And then they have to go to an international tribunal and risk a $100 million fine and loss of 150 constructors points. So yes, any team can do that.

  • Nemo

    @Ploopy, also they must have no FIA officials there to oversee what is actually being carried out, so you can run any amount of laps and just say it was 1000kms; disregard any test drivers & use your own in unmarked helmets. Then just say you received no data, use Mercedes as a precedent & off you go…

  • Patagrande

    3 proper formula 1 teams left.

  • KevinW

    Red Bull supports more race teams, more drivers at every level of motor sport across more venues and at more events than any of the “proper” F1 teams. Red Bull also backs and runs hundreds of events and series to provide events for the drivers and teams to race. The pathetic attacks on them and ignorant rants against them fail to recognize how hard it is for any driver or team to get proper backing, and how Red Bull has been a valuable part of a very large population of racers over many years. While this does not mean one has to like them, it at least earns them a position of respect reflecting their positive influence in motor sport including F1.

  • Tom Zeus

    Congrats to Mercedes for a clear rules violation and getting away with it! The FIA is a total joke! Being fined $100m may be a bit drastic…but surely they should have points penalties for the rest of the season on every race and they should be stripped of all points since they had the tire test. It’s clear that Mercedes benefited tremendously from an illegal tire test, just look at how they performed after the test. So what would have happened if it wasn’t Mercedes doing the same thing?

  • Plops

    @Nemo, on that basis Ferrari did a test of more that 1,000 km and we only have their word that they didn’t use a 2013 car. Since no FIA were there how do we know? Also they ran their race driver Massa. So Ferrari should also pay a $100m fine. And maybe Red Bull also did a test and no one knows about it as the FIA were not there, so fine them $100m also. Well except that all the engines have FIA monitored engine management systems that show all the km’s done for each engine. And who cares if Merc or Ferrari ran their race drivers? There never was a rule saying they could not run their race drivers. So why are you so fixated with that?

  • fools

    The question is:

    If the test wasnt illegal. Or wasnt intending to upset politics and anger other teams…then…What was the point of the drivers driving a 2013 spec BENZ with different helmets represent?

    If this wasnt a illegal, or trying to hide from other teams from noticing…Switching helmets to not be recognized it quite obvious they had MUCH TO HIDE.

    I guess that is to much information for judges during the tribunal dog shit meeting. (Hence winning pole and the race) but no advantage? YEAH RIGHT!


  • Stoner

    A huge fine could have the risk of loosing yet another team from F1, the verdict does not have the risks involved in loosing talented people. I believe the the FIA was aware of the consequences of imposing a huge fine. This is not the era where it is like Mclaren was fined and stripped of championship. People are running out of money left right and centre and things need to be managed in a better way. Already the new 2014 F1 V6 Turbo engines sounds like a JOKE. The Renault engine sounds like a Megane on steroids. F1 is going to have a downfall of fans next season. And loosing another Team like Mercedes is a disaster.
    And now the case of Redbull, yes they are very supportive of Motorsports and things around it, but i do believe that they also cheat to some extend. Everyone in F1 does cheat unless they are caught or that new technology gets banned.
    There is no need for such an outcry all over and RedBull just over done that.

  • Nemo

    @Plops; Im not sure what you mean by being fixated on something, after only mentioning it once?? tool

  • =El Presidente=

    I dont understand why everybody says : a rookie can not test parts. ..

    What rock have you guys been under?!? “rookies” have a shitload of XP, and are worldclass drivers, often with multiple championships in their pockets.

    I think it is really silly to say they lack the skills to test some parts.
    Part of being a “great” driver is consistency. and it is exactly consistency that is required to do proper testing.

    so .. =your argument is invalid=

    and for all the peeps saying MB should get absurd fines, or point deductions.. dudes com’on .. please… think.. just try to activate the 1,5braincell floating around somewhere up there..

    How many times in the past, did RedBull/Ferrari/McLaren/Williams/etc break rules, and got off lightly?

    Not to mention that teams, nowadays, have huge legal teams, only working on trying to find “another interpretation” of some rule.

    I actually think that they should punish that kind of rule-breaking very very harsh..

    It is the same everywhere by the way.. the point is not anymore IF the suspect murdered someone, the point is to interpretate the law in such a way that we can let the suspect out in society again.