FIA verdict on Mercedes-Pirelli test due today

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: The FIA is expected to give its verdict on the hearing on whether Mercedes’ test at the Circuit de Catalunya prior to the Monaco Grand Prix broke the rules.


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Mercedes say FIA treating Ferrari differently over ‘secret’ tyre tests (The Guardian)

Paul Harris (lawyer representing Mercedes): “Ferrari was even more involved in the actual testing than we were, they booked and paid for the circuit. They are not criticised.”

Mercedes challenges Ferrari’s tyre test (Autosport)

“Mercedes also revealed that Ferrari had another testing opportunity in 2012 with Pirelli, when Felipe Massa was used in its pre-Spanish Grand Prix test and that the team conducted more than 1,000 kilometres.”

Update: The above quote has been altered in the original article since the round-up was published. See the link above for the amended quote. Thanks to @wsrgo for the tip.

Mercedes accuse FIA of Ferrari test hypocrisy (The Telegraph)

“Mercedes said they regretted the fact that their drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, wore anonymous black helmets when driving at the test. They said that they did so in order to minimise the need for security. ‘We acknowledge this aspect was bound to raise suspicion and this is regrettable,’ Harris said.”

FIA tyre hearing sees Mercedes blame Pirelli for tests (The Independent)

“Mark Howard QC, speaking first on behalf of the FIA as the body’s legal representative, said [FIA race director Charlie] Whiting’s consent was ‘irrelevant’. Howard said that Whiting was not authorised to amend Article 22 of the Sporting Regulations, saying such a move could only be undertaken by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.”

Mercedes willing to forego young driver test (Reuters)

Harris: “If… we are in this sort of territory then it is open to the International Tribunal to impose exclusions actual or suspended from events that are under the FIA jurisdiction such as the young driver test.”

Verdict awaited after Mercedes hearing (MotorSport)

“Ross Brawn was adamant initially that Mercedes gained no benefit from the test and that Pirelli had not told the team what tyres it was running, although under question he conceded that inevitably there was some benefit.”

Lauda tried to avoid tribunal (ESPN)

“Red Bull lodged the protest against us with Ferrari, agreed an out-of-court deal with Bernie Ecclestone and to make it happen it needed a letter from Mercedes to FIA boss [Jean] Todt. But our bosses Toto Wolff and Ross Brawn refused. Now they have to live with it.”

Christian Horner Q&A (Sky)

“It’s for the Tribunal to decide, it’s not for us to comment on what the penalties should be, but normally if you commit a sporting offence then it is a sporting penalty which goes with it.”

Mercedes did not get test permission – FIA (BBC)

“Pirelli’s counsel Dominique Dumas argued that as a supplier the company was not subject to the FIA’s authority or jurisdiction.”

Byron Young on Mercedes and tyregate (The Mirror)

“Stripping the team of its Monte Carlo victory could be a step too far and see the car giant walk away from F1 if its reputation is tarnished.”

First day on the virtual track for Massa (Ferrari)

“For Felipe Massa, the time has come to get back into the cockpit of a Formula 1 car, even if in this case it’s only a virtual one: a lot of hours in the simulator and a long time talking to his engineers to analyse the data from the last few races was on the Brazilian’s agenda, starting this morning in Maranello.”

No place in the F1 community for fans who boo or hate drivers (Motorsport Reports)

“The lack of respect for [Sebastian] Vettel (especially) and other drivers is just shocking. Every fan base will always have a few idiots, but in the last few years, more F1 fans have turned into those football fans who say the most vile things as shown above.”


Comment of the day

The Pirelli angle to the FIA International Tribunal is a cause of concern for @MazdaChris:

It absolutely beggars belief that F1 would find itself in this situation. I know that people seem to think that Ecclestone is an omnipotent puppet master, always in control of the situation, but it’s hard to see how this situation is anything but a disaster: FIA having a massive falling out with the only company who could conceivably supply tyres for next year, and it’s just becoming more and more bitter.

With Pirelli citing the Briatore case they’re sending a clear message – mess with us and we’ll take you to court. Hardly conducive to ongoing contract negotiations.

Thing I also find interesting is that Pirelli seem to be exclusively interested in saying that they can do what they want and it’s none of the business of the FIA. I think if Mercedes were hoping for Pirelli to come in and defend them, then they’re sorely mistaken.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Alberto Ascari won the Belgian Grand Prix 60 years ago today, as he had also done the year before. What’s more, he’d also won every intervening world championship race (bar the Indianapolis 500, which he did not enter), setting a record of nine consecutive F1 wins that remains unbroken.

It was a one-two for Ferrari at Spa with Luigi Villoresi finishing second ahead of Onofre Marimon’s Maserati.

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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139 comments on “FIA verdict on Mercedes-Pirelli test due today”

  1. “Mercedes also revealed that Ferrari had another testing opportunity in 2012 with Pirelli, when Felipe Massa was used in its pre-Spanish Grand Prix test and that the team conducted more than 1,000 kilometres.”

    The plot thickens..

    1. Agatha Christie will be so proud of this…

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      21st June 2013, 0:50

      so, basically it’s going like : “Not only me, him too!” Which doesn’t mean Mercedes are innocent, they just want to throw some dirty on Ferrari (who are not necessarily the neatest team… none of them probably!)

      1. No, @omarr-pepper, that is not why they uncover Ferrari.
        The purpose is not to say they did nothing wrong when Ferrari did the same, but to show that Ferrari did much the same, in some aspects a bit worse, in some less naughty, but comparable. But its treated completely different by the FIA.
        By showing this, they accuse the FIA of unfair treatment, of having a different meter when they look at Mercedes and Ferrari. Its meant to say that Mercedes too will take this to the appeal court if the Tribunal finds them guilty, and to the EU courts if that does not help.

        1. @bascb @omarr-pepper What I infer from their arguments is that Mercedes are trying to paint both themselves and Ferrari the same picture (whether there is any truth in their claims is unclear as yet as they have made only claims but have not brought any evidence against Ferrari) and force the FIA to compromise on the severity of the sanctions they could give to Merc.

          1. FlyingLobster27
            21st June 2013, 7:49

            Or force the FIA to take no action, like Ferrari when they had managed to convince the court in 2010 that they weren’t the only ones using team orders, just the one who were using them the most blatantly.

    3. Second Act Plot Twist.

    4. Meh, we’ve known about this for weeks..

      1. I thought that was the 2013 Ferrari test.

    5. Massa had a disastrous start/First half of the season last year. Now with this news it looks like his turnaround came after the secret Pirelli tests. Was it a 2012 car that he used for the rest ?

      A lot of skeletons in the Closet I guess…

      1. @tmax to quote from the original article:

        Mercedes revealed that Ferrari had another testing opportunity in 2012.

        It also said that Felipe Massa was used in a pre-2013 Spanish Grand Prix test and that Ferrari conducted more than 1000 kilometres.

        In my understanding what Merc is alleging is that Massa was part of the Ferrari-Pirelli test that happened in Barcelona prior to 2013 Spanish GP (as opposed to de la Rosa doing the test as it was known till now) and that Ferrari ran more than 1000km during that test. No way does it allege Massa was involved in 2012 test let alone proving whether Ferrari did a test in 2012 or/and Massa was part of it.

        1. That was my understanding from most articles about it too @seahorse, but the Motorsport article clearly states that the 2012 test was done with Massa behind the wheel, that is where @tmax comments stems from.

          1. Pardon me @bascb for I had not read that article ;) However, with all these allegations and counter-allegations I tend to feel that there is more than what meets the fans’ eyes about whatever is happening in F1. If there was a test by Ferrari in 2012 involving Massa, why dint any team rake it up then? Perhaps they used 2010 specification car then?

          2. @bascb Thanks for the clarification. That and some other articles say the same.

            @seahorse Nobody raked it up because that was a secret test. Why will Mclaren and Redbull sit silent about it ? it all came to light when Pirelli spilled the beans and Ferrari was caught with their hands in the cookie Jar :)

    6. I just think Mercedes are now in desperation mode, they believe they are going to get hit hard by the FIA especially after Pirelli found a way out, because of that Mercedes threw Ferrari in. First news I read Mercedes were saying that the 2011 Ferrari was only .5 slower than their 2013 car, therefore using the 2013 car wasn’t that much of an advantage but the FIA and team principles have highlighted that the big violation is to use an 2013 car because you wouldn’t learn much about the tyres anyway. Pirelli allowed all this to happen but they aren’t supposed to be liable for this. In the end teams believe that Pirelli didn’t share information about the tyres but if they knew they could test a 2013 car all would have agreed because as Red Bull has claimed 1.000km with a car means 1sec on track, and therefore they want Mercedes data of their 2013 contender which can mean a giving away a full cars work. Mercedes claim that sharing the car’s that is too much of a penalty. Maybe they should worry about not getting thrown out of the constructors standings.

  2. There’s clearly a few errors and loopholes in the rules given by the FIA in which both parties seem to think put them in the right. It’s all very, very sticky…

  3. I do think Merc will come off of this very mild.
    They do have a strong case as they didn’t do the test, but Pirelli did.
    So I’m sure this will hold up.
    Letting them skip the young drivers test might be a good way to ‘even’ things out.

    1. I think they’ll only get a mild punishment too, not so much because of Pirelli doing the test, because clearly Mercedes had their own race drivers and own personell at the test so I don’t think they can just push it onto Pirelli. I could agree that it was just a Pirelli test if they had used Pirelli drivers and personell.
      Instead I think considering that Mercedes got approval by both Charile Whiting and in particular by the legal team of the FIA it shows there are problems in the FIA. You’d imagine that either Charlie or the legal team would tell them that they don’t have the authority to approve of such tests. It all seems a bit messy but I don’t think Mercedes can be held 100% responsible for it.

      1. They didn’t get any approval from Whiting – his advice was not legally binding, as it says in BCC article above.

    2. I don’t see banning them from the young driver test being a good solution. Mercedes used there race drivers who are familiar with the car. The amount of feedback you can get from a rookie is going to be far less than with a driver who has a baseline and familiarity. To me a points penalty is a proper solution here. In this case I think it should also be applied to the drivers, as they got a large benefit as well.

      1. the purpose of banning them from the young driver test would be a bit of a symbolic punishment to not let it look like a farce for the FIA. As its a proposal from Mercedes, that was to be expected @lord-stig

        1. The Blade Runner (@)
          21st June 2013, 9:44


          If this was the case though, surely every other team would then go and conduct a similar “Pirelli Tyre Test” with current cars and drivers, safe in the knowledge that their punishment would be limited to a banning from the Young Driver Test?

          If Mercedes are found guilty it is going to be very difficult for a punishment to be given which will act as a disincentive to other teams to perform similar tests whilst not appearing overly harsh to Mercedes.

          1. Well @thebladeruunner, they’d have to get Pirelli to schedule, organize and pay it then. Or run AFCorse with a 2011 car, if they are ferrari (‘updated’ RBR show car+team?).

            By pulling Ferrari under their bus Mercedes may well have succeeded in making it harder to only punish them, and with Ferrari declared fine, FIA risks beeing seen again as inconsistent.

          2. Without a doubt it will mean Pirelli will have all the teams queuing to bring their car to a test indeed @thebladerunner.

            But in case the Tribunal goes with that explanation, we can be sure that the FIA will quickly change the wording of the rules to prevent that.

  4. Anyone knows where can I get more information about the Mercedes-FIA- Pirelli thingy?… I don´t think there are enough ;)

    1. Its like there’s a total media blockout :(

    2. I think we will have to wait until the verdict is presented @celeste. So far everyone is having much the same notes made from watching it yesterday (just compare the articles linked above, each has a couple of things only they mention, and a lot that everyone mentions.)

      1. *sarcasm*

  5. There’s a saying that says it’s always the thief who shouts “hold the thief”.

  6. Just can’t see them risk losing Mercedes-Benz from F1, as a manufacturer and an engine supplier, by being too harsh with a guilty verdict’s punishment.

  7. When any body makes bad rules that make it difficult for all concerned to comply this is the sort of result you get, FIA will need to be more rational or it will lose the people paying its bills and us enthusiasts will get a lower quality product. Less regulation is better regulation.

    1. The fact that all but 1 team have a perfectly clear understanding of the rules regarding testing shows that there’s nothing wrong with the way the rules are written.

      If there’s confusion with no team understanding things then the rules are bad, However from what I can see Mercedes are the only team who don’t seem to understand them.

      1. And Ferrari apparently

      2. They might all understand the rules but that doesn’t help Pirelli develop the tyres they intended, nor did it make it a level circuit for the teams in that the tyres proved far more fragile than they were lead to believe as they designed their cars.

  8. It’s the stickiest situation since sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      21st June 2013, 0:43

      hahahahaha did you invent that tongue twister? nice one!

      1. It’s a quote from Blackadder :-D

  9. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    21st June 2013, 0:40

    Interesting to read about the booing that happened in Canada against Vettel, alongside with the b|gotted comments set as example in that Motorsports Reports article… we see those situations on this page as well. I myself make jokes about some drivers, but I’ve never dared to name them as “|d|ots” or to use even stronger words on the comments. Not because it’s a free-to-comment blog, it gives me the right to insult or bully a driver or a site member, and I really miss the “Report comment” button that used to be below the posts.

    1. I agree @omart-pepper, the booing and scolding drivers is disgraceful. Even if one don’t care for a driver, if he just finished a weekend as Vettel did in Canada, simply the fastest, no tricks, no issues, how can one not just agree he did great and the best he could do?

      Vettel getting the very deserved driver of that weekend here at F1fanatic shows most here do luckily see that too.

  10. “Red Bull lodged the protest against us with Ferrari, agreed an out-of-court deal with Bernie Ecclestone and to make it happen it needed a letter from Mercedes to FIA boss [Jean] Todt.”

    F1, as ridiculous as ever. Someone needs to sort this sport out pronto.

    1. how is that anything to do with f1?

      the top people at mercedes ‘rejected’ the offer, thats there problem & has nothing to do with f1 or the fia.

  11. The test was run by Mercedes using Mercedes mechanics, Engineer’s, Drivers & telemetry systems (Brawn said they kept all telemetry data), As far as im concerned that is a Mercedes test & NOT a pirelli one.

    I would class it as a Pirelli test is it was Pirelli personnel & drivers running it.
    Pirelli have there own test team & there own test drivers, Why not use them if it was a Pirelli test?

    1. The rules make no distinction between the two. A current Mercedes car was used, so regardless of who was running it, the test was against the rules.

    2. The point about the telemetry is not true. Brawn mentioned that they SAW the telemetry – as in they saw what temperatures things were running etc, but most of that is needed to safely run these cars.

      As for drivers, there is nothing defining what drivers you can or cannot test with, apart from the young drivers test which is limited to drivers with no previous F1 (race) experiene

      The issue is not as much about details of what drivers, or even what advantage the team had from running, but about doing track running with a current F1 car. That is testing, and its supposed to be against the rules.

      1. Interesting points about telemetry and the drivers, @bascb. In one of the linked articles Ross Brawn says that they had access to the data, which of course does not specify if they were recording them. But I’ll eat my own hat if they didn’t received the hard drives from Pirelli afterwards ;)

        Also, while there is nothing legally disallowing to test with the current drivers, the fact that they used both current drivers will surely not help supporting the claim that they have obtained unfair advantage from this test.

        1. edit: will surely not help > will surely help ;)

      2. I was under the impression that any exceptional tests like these need to be undertaken with old cars and drivers that have not driven in the last two seasons? Also yes Mercedes to claim that they had no real access to the telemetry other than for safety reasons, however who was monitoring this? How do we know that this data was not being beamed live back to base as is usual for any time the car is run? In fact we have no certainty that the car had no test parts on it either as there seemed to be no scrutineering at all!

    3. I agree completely — A Pirelli test would be with Pirelli drivers and engineering personnel and Mercedes would definitely not be able to keep any data. The regs are pretty clear about not using a car less than 2 years old. Not to mention the stealth helmets worn by Hammy and Britney… It’s pretty clear-cut to me that Merc knew they were pulling a fast one. I also agree that a preliminary inquiry email and phone call to Charlie Whiting does not constitute permission from the FIA. In any case, they would have had to notify the FIA with the date of the test in advance,which they did not do. Pirelli is also somewhat culpable for not notifying all teams and making it an open test. There should be a punishment for Merc at the very least. Charlie Whiting has, on more than one occasion in the past, been a bit wooly and misleading in opinions.

  12. Geez. This really has become interesting. What I predict will happen:

    1.- Mercedes get “nailed” for using the 2013 car but not for the test itself because of the word games: “undertaken by” Powerful piece right there!
    2.- Ross Brawn is out of a job
    3.- Charlie Whiting is gone as well
    4.- Pirelli get fined and they will sue the FIA. The outcome of that will be interesting.
    and last but not least and hopefully I´m wrong about this one,
    5.- Mercedes decide to pull out due to their honor being smeared.

    I also believe we´ve seen the last of Pirelli and I predict a Japanese tyre manufacturer coming in.
    I also believe Ferrari will see some repercussions because of both their tests. It´ll be interesting but I still believe they are in the clear because of the 2011 car. Not sure about the 2012 test (I didn´t even know that happened until now).
    Ferrari may not be the cleanest of them all but it seems that using the f150 Italia was the smartest thing they did, shamefull yes but still a smart move!

    1. If the Tribunal accepts Mercedes “excuse” of only providing the car, then really that would mean the case is closed on infringing the testing rule, regardless of what car, driver was used and what possible advantage was gained. That is a very big IF though @karter22

      Whiting is not out of a job, because the FIA made it clear in their statement that Whiting was very carefull not to confirm anything to Mercedes, and then he relayed the opinion of the FIA lawyers to Brawn. Although even that should not be seen as getting an OK

      Pirelli will probably not get fined, but if they are, they are likely to win a court case. And its possible that they will not be interested in supplying the tyres for next year.

      Mercedes mentioning they can pull out over this (or over Bernie being in court) are just putting up the stakes. After all, they have binding contracts now with McLaren, Force India and Williams to supply engines and even if the car company would pull out, it would only mean they will change to just supplying engines while the team would be a Toto Wolff/AMG run unit.

      I certainly hope that the Tribunal sets some clear lines of what is ok, and what not. And that it leads to reasonable and clear limits on testing without too many unclear things (like a 2011 car only being accepted as ok more or less by general consent, but not from reading the rules)

      1. @bascb

        (like a 2011 car only being accepted as ok more or less by general consent, but not from reading the rules)

        But I believe it is written in the rules that a 2 year old car is ok though. That is not even open to interpretation I believe.
        I do agree with you though on everything else though. This story is just too good to miss out. I personally think Brawn dropped the ball for doint the test with the 2013 car. He must´ve heard Ferrari did it and thought : “well if they did it, then so will we” but didn´t interest himself in knowing all the details of how they went about it and I see that as an amateur mistake by Brawn thus, that is why I think he is out of a job.
        Whiting well, it´s not the first time he has botched it up. He has said one thing and then the FIA overturns what he says. It has happened and I believe this one is one too many!
        One thing is for crtain, Pirelli is out and it´s their fault only! They never should have agreed to producing these lemons in the first place. It damages their image as a tyre company yet they went ahead and produced high degradation tyres on purpose. That to me was a dumb move because to me, tyres should never be the main talking point of any race. Yes they are important, but they shouldn´t be the most important thing in a race.

        1. I believe it is written in the rules that a 2 year old car is ok though. That is not even open to interpretation I believe.

          You can believe that @karter22, and it certainly seems to be the general consensus in the F1 circle, but the text of the rules no where says that a 2 year car is clearly OK:

          22.1 Track testing shall be considered any track running time not part of an Event undertaken by a competitor entered in the Championship, using cars which conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year.

          So its explicitly worded that neither this years car, nor that for next year can be track tested, but also no car that largely in compliance with the current technical regulations.
          It makes sense to consider a 2 year old car to not be illegal, but its not that clear in the rules.

  13. Sorry Keith but the inclusion of that “article” blog post complaining about people booing Vettel is fairly amateur hour. The author is clearly taking offense to comments on the internet which we all know are ludicrous and over the top due to their anonymous nature. Secondly F1 likes to paint itself as a full blown opera, and at times we have seen villains and hero’s come to fore and capture our imagination or displeasure. You can’t then expect these same viewers who are emotionally engaged to withhold their feelings in a public forum, we want fans to have passion but not too much passion? impossible.

    1. I think the wriiting was quite justified though, doesn’t matter if the comments are on the internet. That kind of language and disrespect is completely unnecessary. And the behaviour of the F1 fans at the Canadian GP was just shameful. Vettel drove a good race, led from start to finish, he did nothing to deserve such treatment.

    2. I think its good that Keith put that blog post in. In my view its really not ok to make these comments, not in person, nor in a forum or in tweets, and it is disrespectful and does lower the value of all valid arguments people make when they use that kind of language.

      That its become all to common on the Internet to do this, is something we all should try and change to have a better quality of discussion, news and society. To show respect for others is large part of a working community.

    3. This site itself is labelled as a “blog”, and its a very credible site, so I think it’s only fair that Keith is able to include other blog posts in the round up should he choose to. There’s probably been worse writing in more “reputable” publications that are deemed to be more legitimate anyway.

    4. If you read the article you’ll see it isn’t solely about Vettel.

      Regardless, I think people who go to a race with the intention of jeering a particular driver or team regardless of the outcome are beyond pathetic.

      If something happens in front of you which you dislike, I can understand why someone would react to that in a negative way. Austria 2002 springs to mind.

      But in Montreal no reasonable person could have taken offence at how Vettel had conducted himself. He didn’t cheat, he didn’t fix the race, he just won it. If your reaction to that is to boo then you’re not a fan, you’re a bully.

      I don’t care if a site looks “amateur” – as someone who runs a site myself I’m certainly not going to make that judgement. What I care about is substance and I think the substance of that article is spot on.

      As for the Twitter quotes, the author of the article is entirely correct, people who post things like that should be ashamed of themselves. (Incidentally, this is the most-Retweeted thing I’ve ever said.)

      1. @keithcollantine Can we nominate this comment for comment of the day? :P

        But in Montreal no reasonable person could have taken offence at how Vettel had conducted himself. He didn’t cheat, he didn’t fix the race, he just won it. If your reaction to that is to boo then you’re not a fan, you’re a bully.


        1. @puffy Thanks but I’m not allowed to win the COTD, I only get to pick it. Rules of the house :-)

      2. Regardless, I think people who go to a race with the intention of jeering a particular driver or team regardless of the outcome are beyond pathetic.

        why are we isolating Vettels sportsmanship and conduct in montreal? we all know Vettel tends to be in very good spirits when he’s had a win but who are we to disagree with mob mentality? hmmm

        I would of thought it disgraceful to boo a driver like that, not the first time a sportsman gets booed for winning. The Spaniards are booed in Paris every year when they win Roland Garros. And they by every means are undeserving of such treatment, at least Vettel is a well classified sook. No honorable sportsman deserves the boo but there’s nothing like giving a reputed bad sport the thumbs down. The mob has spoken! :)

        1. @vuntoosree Your argument rests on the idea that there’s a universal acceptance of which drivers are and aren’t good sportspeople which obviously isn’t true. You think Vettel isn’t, I’m sure you could find people on the site who would say the same of other drivers.

      3. @keithcollantine
        If the fans at Montreal are bullies for booing Vettel then what does that make those fans who cheered when Schumacher crashed and broke his leg at Silverstone ?

        1. @beneboy Did that actually happen? I don’t think I’ve ever seen footage of it, I’ve only heard about it in second-hand reports of it in comments. Of course that would be terrible if it were true.

      4. Thing is Keith I did read the article, and in no way am I supporting insulting remarks on the Internet to any driver or person for that matter. I just don’t see how you can associate booing with calling a driver a &#@$. Vettel has been booed multiple times this year, and I don’t think any of those times were related to the particular race. I think it’s fairly telling, that people want it to be known that he may be winning races but not the hearts and minds of the greater fan base.

    5. There’s a difference between “passion” and unreasoning nastiness. It’s not acceptable if you’re face to face with someone to call them by possibly the worst English swearword (except possibly in Scotland*) so why should it be acceptable by social media? It’s just cowardly.

      * based on reading Ian Banks and Irvine Welsh – apologies to polite Scots everywhere

  14. *Grabs popcorn*

  15. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    21st June 2013, 0:54

    “Hurry up, mom, dad, cousin Dario, I’ll be at ASDA Milton Keynes to sign …”
    “Paul, not again”

    1. Certanly he looks like a guy that could used a drink

    2. @omarr-pepper It does sound like the most depressing PR engagement ever. It gave me some sympathy for him.

    3. After a few free samples from Whyte and Mackay you’ll soon forget about the depressing surroundings !

  16. Meanwhile, I agree it’s wrong to boo drivers, even if it is Vettel. I do not particularly like him, but I at least respect his commitment and the majority of his actions on the track. He’s a very, very good racing driver, and it’s a shame for some fans to act like this.

    But that is sport at the end of the day, a driver loved in one part of the world will be loathed in another. Thankfully the majority (hopefully) respect Vettel’s achievements and do not take part in booing drivers who put their lives at risk every time they step foot in a racing car.

    1. Yeah and at the end of the day… Being booed is not the end of the world, and if enough people are doing it to be heard, then clearly the general public is feeling a desire to voice their displeasure. Is that the crowds fault for wanting to be heard, or is it Vettels fault for actions that might encourage boos. Either way everyone needs to just harden up.

      1. What did Vettel do at the Canadian GP though to deserve to be booed at? When Barrichello gave the victory to Schumacher at the end of that notorious race some years ago, I can easily understand displeasure and booing, but not in this case. And I’m no Vettel fan, I’d prefer any other driver on the grid to win the championship.

        1. The Monza tifosi would throw rocks at Alain Prost back in the day. Now, that’s WRONG!

          1. Yeah definitely, sounds more like assault than insult

        2. Maybe it’s the first opportunity the Canadians had to let SV know what they think of greedy people who renege on agreements when it suits them!

          1. @hohum Given that he had saved more fuel, and had an extra set of medium tyres, it was hardly “greedy” to race to the end of a motor race.

          2. Still it would have been better to let that be known by cheeky banners than booing during the podium ceremony I think @hohum

          3. @hohum
            Except of cause for the fact that there was no agreement.
            A racing driver races to win. That isn’t being greedy, it’s just what they do. If they didn’t, F1 and racing in general would be pointless.

          4. @mads Can you please shed some light on multi 2-1 then?

          5. @seahorse
            A code to hold position car 2 ahead of car 1.
            It was an order. Not a gentlemens agreement between the drivers as some people seem to beelieve.

          6. I don’t want to promote this kind of behaviour, nor do I want to argue the point but it seems to me that when you race for a team and you and you take advantage of a situation where the team believes you are acting in good faith,then by not acting in good faith you have broken an agreement, and remember in entertainment-sport (W.C.Wrestling etc.) the baddie brings as many viewers to boo as the goodie brings viewers to cheer, and that’s the way F1 is going. @bascb, @seahorse.@mads,@david-a

  17. I’m of the opinion, that Mercedes has taken to sling mud on Ferrari in an attempt to take the heat away from themselves. While that may work for their fans and some other part of the (uninformed) public, it should have relatively little impact on the upcoming decision of the tribunal.

    Why? Because there’s not one word about the participation of active Formula 1 drivers (like the accused Felipe Massa) in tests anywhere in the current regulations.

    That’s out then and leaves Ferrari’s use of a two-year old car as the only credible part of Mercedes’ criticism of the Italian team’s testing practices.

    But, if that is really all of it, then Mercedes are the worst hypocrites possible.

    1.) The use of a two-year old car does not explicitly fall under Formula 1 testing regulations, which means, that any track time with such a car would not be regulated by the FIA at all. Meaning, that it wouldn’t matter, if Ferrari had paid the track, etc. Up until yesterday, nobody had doubts about the unlimited use of said two-year old cars, so why does Mercedes now come up with that? Instead of using this as a last-resort defense, they should have done what Red Bull has, as soon as they gained knowledge of it. They never did file a complaint and Ferrari certainly aren’t the only ones who used a two-year old car in the past.

    2.) Pirelli had been developing the 2013 tires during the 2012 season in the Lotus 2010 car, after all. Nobody saw any problems with that, even under the full knowledge, that the car would be maintained by the show car crew of Lotus F1. Am I the only one who finds it a tad strange, that Mercedes now wish to slam Ferrari for something, Lotus has been doing with the full knowledge and acceptance of all participating teams?

    The only thing left to mention is the secrecy of the test. Mercedes hasn’t mentioned it of course (being guilty of that themselves), but it now looks like Pirelli didn’t follow its own transparency rules as clearly as we all thought. The tire manufacturer usually invites one observer per F1 team to their on-track testing. That obviously didn’t happen for the Mercedes test in Barcelona, just as it hasn’t for the two earlier Ferrari tests Mercedes is complaining about.

    It comes down to this: If Mercedes counted on Pirelli’s help to prove, that their test was all above board, they’ll have been disappointed after this hearing. Ignoring the implications of one email from a FIA lawyer, the German team didn’t do anything but show, that Ferrari must have been equally guilty as they are. Seeing as Ferrari hasn’t been accused at the tribunal, they don’t argue their innocence, but for a mild penalty, if any.

    1. 1.) The use of a two-year old car does not explicitly fall under Formula 1 testing regulations, which means, that any track time with such a car would not be regulated by the FIA at all.

      The trouble with that assessment is, its only its not explicitly forbidden, but there is nothing in the rules that specifically mentions a 2 year old car is perfectly fine. Its more a general understanding that this is the case (the rules mention “car does not confirm substantially” with the regulations, which is far from cast in stone).

      What Mercedes are doing is telling the FIA that they are not treating all teams equal when they are completely satisfied everything is ok with the Ferrari test, but put them on trial for doing something very similar.

      1. @bascb : In my humble opinion, while the general rules for the 2010 to 2013 cars are mostly the same, there are significant performance cuts due to the removal of double-diffusors beginning with the 2011 season and the amended throttle/exhaust rules as well as a new limit on nose-height in 2012. This sounds a lot like a significant change to me, because in both 2011 and 2012, the whole aero design of the car needed a vast redesign.

        Still, I understand your point, but I don’t believe, that the team is on the right track with it. The issue of using a 2011 car being the same as the use of a 2013 car is merely Mercedes’ opinion, which does not seem to be shared by other teams or the FIA. We would’ve already seen a protest from another team, if the use of the 2010 car during the 2012 season or the 2011 car in this season had been an issue (Ferrari is hardly the only team doing a private test, but only they seemed to provide their old car to Pirelli in addition to the Lotus show car), while the FIA would have put Ferrari alongside Mercedes in this tribunal.

        1. The rules are clear, the car used for team testing in this season, 2013, must not substantially confirm to either 2013 nor 2012 specifications.

          So you are not only comparing the car to this years but also last years model.

          If a 2011 car is deemed as not substantially confirming to 2012 spec, then they might as well remove the clause altogether as it would be meaningless, the differences can hardly be smaller.

    2. Care to “inform” us what Ferrari-Pirelli test consist of; how many tests there were; was the data used to create tyres, based on Ferrari’s car; was the data shared with the rest of the teams in any way, shape or form?

  18. Andrew Benson did some typically poor and limited analysis today, following Mercedes’ claim that the 2013 cars are only 0.5 seconds slower than in 2011. He gave examples of why that was incorrect by stating that Mercedes are 1.7 seconds faster and Ferrari are 0.75 seconds faster. But this is useless, as both these teams have had greater improvements relative to the rest of the field than many other teams, and that isn’t necessarily indicative of general pace improvements- for example, the typical pacesetters of the last few seasons (Red Bull) have improved by pretty much nothing, and the actual fastest laps from each race (rather than the fastest lap for a specific team) were indeed 0.5 seconds apart.

    1. Lies, d@m lies and statistics.

    2. I don’t think that the speed of a car alone proves anything. If the same speed gets reached with other means (for instance, exhaust blown diffusers are now forbidden but teams actively exploit double DRS), then one could argue that the old car isn’t ‘substantially conforming’ to current rules.

      1. +1
        I have made a quick look at the 2013/2004 times & i have found that the times were pretty close even though the 2004 cars doesn’t have anything similar with the current cars

        Monaco GP pole 2013 1 min 13 s 876
        Monaco GP pole 2004 1 min 13 s 985

        China GP pole 2013 1 min 34 s 484.
        China GP pole 2004 1 min 34 s 012

        The other times were not relevant due to the difference in weather conditions (Canada, Australia, Malaysia) & in the circuits layouts (Barcelona & Bahrain)

      2. @girts I don’t disagree- my issue was that Benson tried to disapprove the statement by applying statistics in the worst way. Had he done a more thorough analysis of times or just countered with the same statement you made then I’d have no problem. The issue was that he simply said ‘no’, showed a couple of irrelevant times and moved on.

  19. Today the protagonists, as they have been since the beginning, were only attempting to obscure the facts but the FIA will see right through that. Mercedes gained an illegal advantage. Case closed. The statements from the tribunal in Paris all but confirmed that, with everyone in hard damage limitation mode. The only questions that remain to be answered are what the penalties will be.

    1. So, why didn’t the FIA just ask you what to do instead of going through the expensive public spectacle of a tribunal hearing. You insist Mercedes gained an unfair advantage illegally, but you have no way of proving it, or how great that advantage was (assuming there was one). So maybe that expensive public spectacle was necessary after all. Especially when the alternative is asking someone to make a snap judgement based on a headline.

  20. Obviously, whoever bases their case on the lap time itself is not a very sharp F1 lawyer. You can perhaps get a 2004 car and have it do a similar lap time to a 2009 car for example. I didn’t check the times itself, but over the last 10 years there has been a overall trend of trying to slow the cars down, so it’s quite likely that times haven’t improved by much in the last 10 years, let alone in a span of just two years. But 2011 cars had EBDs, which is quite a difference, plus a nose height and quite importantly, different structure of the tyres, so it’s not surprising that 2013 cars haven’t been able to move far from that in terms of pure lap time.

  21. An unlikely scenario, hopefully, but what if Mercedes were to get some enormous fine, possibly even an exclusion from this years championship points, and the directors decided to simply pull the plug on their F1 works team? Presumably Merc would carry on developing the new motor, and meet their contractual obligations as a supplier. Hard to imagine also that the team itself would disappear. There would surely be a buyer for such a high level organization. As far as Lewis and Nico are concerned, I’m not too worried about them either. Their contracts would be honored, and a couple of top seats would no doubt be made available to them both. Perhaps Red Bull and Lotus respectively? Anyway, I doubt this will come to pass, but tomorrow’s verdict and the various reactions will be interesting for sure.

  22. @keithcollantine

    “Mercedes also revealed that Ferrari had another testing opportunity in 2012 with Pirelli, when Felipe Massa was used in its pre-Spanish Grand Prix test and that the team conducted more than 1,000 kilometres.”

    This is what you quoted.
    And here’s Autosport’s quote: “Mercedes revealed that Ferrari had another testing opportunity in 2012. It also said that Felipe Massa was used in a pre-2013 Spanish Grand Prix test and that Ferrari conducted more than 1000 kilometres.”
    Big mistake on the quoting, Keith. It’s pre-2013 Spanish GP, not pre-Spanish GP.

    Apart from that, I can’t see how Ferrari did a 1000km plus test in 2012, before Spain. They already had a three-day Mugello test that year, and I think we can put five days aside for that for all the logistic reasons. And a 1000km plus test with just one driver (Massa) would take around five-six days, with a total of seven-eight days for logistic purposes set aside for this test. That’s nearly a fortnight. So Ferrari used two-thirds of their time b/w the Bahrain and Spanish GPs to do track tests?
    Nice try, Merc.

    1. Why would it take Ferrari two weeks to carry out a thousand kilometres of testing when Mercedes did the same thing in less than one week? Teams regularly cover a thousand kilometers a week during pre-season testing, and they’re limited to one driver at a time then, too …

      1. @prisoner-monkeys How conveniently the Mugello test just..dare I say..slipped your mind..

        1. @wsrgo – Your arguement is that Ferrari could not have completed that test because they did not have enough time. But the problem in you argment is that it overlooks the way teams regularly complete these tests in half the time you clai it would have taken Ferrari.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys

            Why would it take Ferrari two weeks to carry out a thousand kilometres of testing..

            I rest my case…you did forget Mugello..

    2. a 1000 km plus test is about 3 days, they do up to 350 km a day in testing, and as this was put in the discussion as fact, I think we can safely accept that the running took place @wsrgo.

      Your extrapolation from 5 days (its only 3, but ok) towards 7-8 and round that up as a fortnight is very “generous” but not really accurate. If they did 3 days of track running, they probably spend 4-5 days at the track. Not that hard to do. And given that Ferrari has the Corse clienti crew to run these outings, its no burden on the race team (apart from the driver, but 3 days is not that much).

      There were 2 tests. One in 2012 where it seems they ran MAssa, and one in 2013 between Bahrain and Spain where they ran over 1000 km and used Pedro DL Rosa (and possibly Massa, that is not clear). Both of those tests were run with 2 year old cars and operated by the Ferrai Corse Clienti crew.

      1. @bascb Yeah sorry I mixed up kms. with laps.

        and one in 2013 between Bahrain and Spain where they ran over 1000 km and used Pedro DL Rosa (and possibly Massa, that is not clear).

        Wherever did you hear that?

        1. The fact that Ferrari also did a test this year came out during the Monaco weekend already. As for the drivers, there seems to be a degree of uncertainty whether they ran Massa in that test (apart from confirmed Pedro dlR) @wsrgo

          1. @bascb Uncertainty? What uncertainty? Can you give me a link, please?

          2. Uncertainty because the various sources we have claimed different things @wsrgo, although it seems that by now all of them have come to the conclusion that Massa was only driving in 2012.

    3. @wsrgo Thanks for letting me know. The extract from Autosport used above was quoted verbatim when the round-up was written. It looks like they’ve subsequently altered their article. I’ll put a note to that effect in the round-up.

    4. Sorry, but your argument still holds no weight. Ferrari were quite capable of carrying out two separate tests in that time.

  23. They don’t call Ross a genius for nothing ;-)

  24. It´s funny nobody has mentioned Lauda´s apeal to settle out of the tribunal! Ding, Ding, Ding!!! Guilty!! Most of the times, only people who know that they have done wrong settle out of court! Case that comes to mind is Michael Jackson settling out of court to avoid his dirty laundry and pedophilic ways coming out to light! I know there are more cases but that one just sprung to mind.
    What we have here is just a case of people hard in the head sticking to their belief that they did nothing wrong. It´s sad, I thought Brawn was a little bit more intelligent than that.

    1. A willingness to settle out of court does not prove guilt. Especially when Mercedes were the ones approached with the offer to settle, rather than going to the others with an offer prepared. That Mercedes were approached by the others suggests that they had a strong case. Why do you think they suggested sitting out the Young Driver Tests in exchange for admitting they broke the rules, which is a pretty light punishment. It’s because they knew the other teams wanted this to go away before Mercedes had the opportunity to embarras them before the tribunal.

      That doesn’t sound like guilt to me.

    2. @karter22

      Not necessarily. If you want to avoid reputational damage, you might want to have a case buried as soon as possible even if you have done nothing wrong. This is because every day the media reports about a case, the accused is connected with something bad/illegal/immoral, etc. Being right in the end might not always reverse these negative connections.

      This is especially true for F1 teams such as Mercedes, Red Bull, etc that use F1 as a means to promote their brand. It is different for teams like McLaren, which essentially are only an F1 team. On the other hand, they also require a positive image in order to attract sponsors.

      1. @mike-dee @karter22 What puzzles me is why they tried to settle it out of the tribunal with an F1 team than with FIA, since essentially they had broken a rule mandated by FIA than an agreement with RBR

        1. @SeaHorse possibly because the need for a tribunal hearing would go away, if the team, which actually started the whole thing (Red Bull) withdrew their official complaint.

          1. That is my best guess as well Daniel2.

            Although I have seen it reported as a settlement with the FIA as well, where the complaining parties had to also agree to it.

          2. @Daniel2 maybe they could have aimed for that. I do not know entirely how procedures of the International Tribunal, but in some appeal and hearing procedures the appellant withdrawing their complaint has no effect once the judiciary takes cognizance of the offence. But who knows that may not be the case with FIA’s IT as @bascb states.

  25. Last night, I made the decision not to follow the tribunal hearing too closely. This was in part inspired by the way I had to mark test papers for Year 10, but mostly because I was struck by a most curious thought. In this day and age of instant access to information, all it takes is one leaked report to turn the tide if public opinion, something that I think a few people involved in this have chosen to exploit to their advantage. Sitting on the train this morning and absorbing the proceedings after the fact (to the point where I nearly missed my stop), it occurred to me just how little we actually knew about the test, and how much of what we actually knew was perhaps tainted, however faintly, by an ulterior motive. I have to applaud Mercedes for the way they have handled the spotlight, choosing to wait until the tribunal hearing too explain themselves, rather than taking the bait offered by others and falling into a trial by media.

    With so much of public opinion shaped by the information posted on the internet, I wonder how Mercedes would have been perceived for doing the test twenty years ago …

  26. Just my opinion but when tens to hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake there is no place for the “spirit of the rules,” that’s for little league. I see no difference between what Merc did and what Newey and others did and do by pushing the boundries of the rules be it Tech or Sporting. If you get caught, pay up. If not, good for you…then the rules get revised.

  27. The point of penalties is twofold:

    1) To reverse any advantage gained by breaking the rules;
    2) To deter others from committing the same offence.

    By arguing for a ban from the young driver test, for instance, Mercedes have perhaps acknowledged 1) but failed to take into account 2). All that would do is establish a trade-off whereby teams can test mid-season in exchange for sacrificing the place at the young driver test. Similarly, a mere fine for Mercedes would just set a going rate for testing outside of the rules.

    I suspect Mercedes will be found guilty, and I hope that the penalty will be robust enough to achieve both of the objectives above. I don’t see any logic for penalising Pirelli: as a tyre supplier, they are not a team and hence are not bound by the Sporting Regulations.

    1. @red-andy Perhaps their logic for giving up YDT as a trade off for the secret test arises from the fact that teams have agreed to bring back in-season testing and eliminating young driver test from next season onwards (or at least for the next season). But with an established team of drivers in their lineup, the adverse effect of not having an YDT is nigh to nothing for Merc.

    2. Giving up the YDT really is no punishment, except a token punishment to save the FIA from complete embarrassment for filing an unfunded case (from Mercedes point of view).

      I fully agree that its not a penalty that fills either target of a penalty you mention. I certainly hope the Tribunal does not go for that one.

    3. I thought it was an odd move for Mercedes to suggest what penalties might be appropriate, for two reasons.

      First, it could be taken as a tacit acknowledgement by Mercedes of their guilt.

      Second, it could affect what judgement they ultimately receive. The FIA may prefer not to hand down a punishment suggested by Mercedes as it might look like it was giving them what they want.

      At any rate I think banning them from the Young Drivers’ Test would be too weak a punishment for the obvious reason that Mercedes used their race drivers at their test while their rivals would be unable to do that at the Young Drivers’ Test.

  28. It’s my mom’s birthday too!

    1. @JCost Wow, congratulations! I wish you both a wonderful day!

    2. Happy birthday to you @jcost and your mom! :)

    3. Make it a grandiose party @jcost!

  29. From the booing article:

    People who say these things are not F1 fans and should be ashamed of themselves. You will never be welcome in the F1 community.

    The pure form of Formula 1 for me is the best drivers in the world trying to earn respect from the audience and the other drivers by driving the best they can. Sebastian Vettel won the Canadian Grand Prix fair and square, there is simply no doubt he deserved to win the Grand Prix, as was reflected by the DOTW results. If you cannot respect that, it really begs the question: why the hell are you watching F1 then?

    In recent years, the ‘hooligan’ behavior has started to make its appearance on several F1 forums as well: fans of one driver insulting another fans’ favorite driver. In my opinion, a ‘true’ F1 fan can at least separate his support for one driver (there’s nothing wrong with that of course) from resentment towards other drivers.

    I will admit, I don’t like certain drivers myself: I don’t really like Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen as a person, but as far as driving is concerned there is no doubt they are among the best drivers in Formula 1 today. I do respect these drivers for what they have achieved in Formula 1 over the years and as such I’m not even slightly tempted to compare these drivers to the awful things mentioned in the article.

    I’m just happy there are still a lot of ‘true’ F1 fans: the majority of people posting on F1F for instance seem to have really balanced views which are very interesting to read. But also the more quiet people who just switch on the television come Sunday and expect to be impressed by the display of driving skills. And that’s what it’s all about.

  30. Meanwhile the world (which is mainly not even slightly interested in motor racing) looks on with incredulity at the mess that F1 has got itself into.
    This situation is no better than tabloid revelations about which footballer did what with whose wife/girlfriend/mother/lover and who did it first.
    If finding sponsors for top-level motorsport was difficult before, it’s going to be even more elusive after this.

  31. That’s a good article about fans’ attitude, it’s sad that some people lack any respect for the heros that all F1 drivers are. I know I have sometimes been angry towards some drivers and I also have my favourites but I would never call any driver names on Twitter or anywhere else.

    That said, I have to admit that those fans, who spend 90% of their time complaining about the lack of respect for their favourite driver annoy me, too. That’s just unproductive and boring. I think that most fans are able to share their opinions “with decorum and civility”, as one website has put it. But I’m not sure if there are many, who can truly raise above their prejudices and who really want to analyse and understand what’s going on in F1.

  32. FIA: You broke the rules!
    Mercedes: You said we could!
    FIA: Well, kind of, but you didn’t tell us you actually would.
    Mercedes: But we just lent our stuff to Paul so he could break the rules.
    Paul: We can do what we like.
    Mercedes: And anyway, Ferrari did it too! Honest! And they didn’t even ask first!

    1. COTD! Exactly the way I see it as well!

      Article 22 is actually pretty vague about the legality of the Ferrari test.

      And I couldn’t find the regulations of testing regulations for the tyre supplier. That doesn’t get mentioned ANY WERE.

      FIA, you have yourself to blame for this blunder and F1 is the big looser in the end.

  33. We need to have Mercedes in the championship, they are offering the only real challenge to the Red Dulls right now. We don’t need another Vettel romp.

    1. @lifew12 – Ferrari have the car to challenge Vettel as well, having won 2 races so far.

  34. I have to agree with that last article, I’m not the biggest fan of Vettel, but I still respect that he has a lot of talent, and for the fans in Canada to boo his victory was downright disrespectful. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I always imagined F1 had a little more class about it than that. I could understand if the Grand Prix was won under false pretenses, as in Austria ’02, but Vettel won that Grand Prix fair and square and doesn’t deserve for the fans to treat him like that.

    Again, I understand the passion, and not everyone will be happy to see him win, but come on give the guy the credit he deserves for once.

  35. The blame lies firmly at the feet of the FIA. The fact is that Mercedes reached out to the FIA about using a 2013 car before hand. If the FIA feel that using a 2013 is such a breach of the rules that they have taken Mercedes to tribunal over. Then why the hell was there not a firm ‘NO’ from them in the first instance.

    Their stance from the start should have been no. It wasn’t, it was a yes with conditions. But then we all know the FIA is a joke.

    1. @mcewan7 – The FIA’s stance is that they had no issue with Mercedes using a 2013 car, but that they never actually gave permission for it to be used. They treated Mercedes’ enquiry as a general request for clarification, rather than a direct question of whether it could be used in an upcoming test. Which one it comes down to hinges on the wording of the actual request.

    2. It is not just about the 2013 car, It is about using current drivers in that car and also about the fact that neither Mercedes or Pirelli seemed to think letting the other teams know about this was not necessary. It is clear to me that Mercedes were going in to a very grey area with this test so 1) should not have just taken the FIAs Lawyers word as they should have got their own lawyers to look through it too. 2) They should have let the other teams know what was happening ( even if they did not think it was their job to do so) as that would have been the intelligent and correct thing to do. It would have enabled the other teams to question the FIA and also would have meant that Mercedes themselves were being transparent about the test.

      As it is they have made themselves look like they were part of a secret plot (even if this is not strictly the case). It would have just been common sense to let the other teams know.

      We are no in the position where even if they are found innocent they have still gained significant benefits from the testing which the other teams will want to see put right in some way or other. The fact that they are in this position is entirely their own fault.

  36. Anyone have any idea on when would the International Tribunal’s sitting commences today? Also whether there would be continuation of the hearing or only delivering the verdict?

  37. Reprimand for MERC and Pirelli. Merc suspended form forthcoming Young Driver Test. Predictable outcome I reckon. But fair enough.

    Reckon Horner is foaming at the mouth though… lol

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