Mercedes case to go before FIA’s International Tribunal

The FIA has confirmed that the Mercedes testing case will go before the International Tribunal.

However no further action will be taken with regard to Ferrari, as the FIA deemed that no regulations have been broken.

The governing body has been gathering evidence from the various parties, including other teams – who were asked if they had been invited tthe Barcelona test.

The full  statement read as follows:

The Monaco Grand Prix Stewards raised in their report to the FIA an issue concerning a tyre testing session carried out by Pirelli with the participation of Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 in Barcelona on 15-17 May 2013 (1).

The FIA requested clarifications from Pirelli and Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 in this respect.

The FIA also asked questions to Scuderia Ferrari Team, which took part in a tyre testing with Pirelli in Barcelona on 23-24 April 2013.

The FIA requested all the other F1 Teams to provide the FIA with information they may have regarding any tests carried out by Pirelli during the 2013 season.

In the light of all the replies received and in view of the information gathered during this inquiry, the President of the FIA, acting as the FIA prosecuting body, has decided:

• To close the case as regard to Scuderia Ferrari Team considering that its participation in a tyre testing organized by Pirelli in Barcelona on 23-24 April 2013 using for this purpose a 2011 car is not deemed to contravene the applicable FIA rules.

• To bring the case concerning the tyre testing session carried out by Pirelli and Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 in Barcelona on 15-17 May 2013 before the FIA International Tribunal because it results from the inquiry that the conditions of this testing may constitute a breach of the applicable FIA rules.

The FIA International Tribunal is called upon to make a decision in compliance with the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules.

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Mercedes case to go before FIA’s International Tribunal

  1. peterg

    While I’m still not entirely sure that Mercedes is the villian here, I’m struck by the irony. At least part of Mercedes reasoning for becoming a fully fledged manufacturer in F1, breaking away from its long time engine supplier role with McLaren, was McLaren’s involvement and subsequent penalties in the Spygate scandal. Now it seems Mercedes has a scandal of its own.

    • GeopregK

      Some of the last comments from Pirelli were interesting, where they basically threw Mercedes under the bus regarding which car they chose to use and who the drivers were. As if Pirelli had no say or requests. They must be feeling awfully alone in the spotlight!

  2. vlad

    When is this tribunal going to convene and when are we going to have a decision?

    • FIA has not said yet but it will probably take a while to schedule it

      • Alexander

        There is a full process in the International Tribunal that takes around a month and a half to complete.
        The full process is available here -> http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/basicpage/file/IT-Practice-Directions-EN-2011.pdf

        In layman’s terms, Mercedes have a minimum of 15 days to respond to the notification of charges and after they do the prosecuting body has a minimum of 15 days to respond to whatever Mercedes said and after they do then a time for the hearing is set, again after a minimum of 15 days. So a total of 45 days. There is an option for the President of the IT to shorten these periods in cases of “manifest urgency”

  3. CTP

    you know, however poorly the FIA handled this whole thing (from before it blew up in monaco until now), they absolutely did the right thing by including ferrari in the case, asking for evidence, and finally by dismissing the case (against ferrari). it does speak to the transparency and independence todt has apparently been aiming for.

    • Alexander

      The Ferrari test was legal but in my opinion extremely naughty of Pirelli … they did give a Ferrari test driver a chance to do 1000km on current tyres on the track the Grand Prix would be held in a week. Sure it’s nowhere near the madness around the Mercedes test, but honestly, I am not at all comfortable with Pirelli giving third parties a chance to run the tyres a week before the race. If Alguersuari was driving I ‘d be ok.

    • Absolutely, they are trying to get this right. More of an explanation re Ferrari would have been helpful.

  4. DaleH

    So I suppose we can now start speculating about the judgment & related stories?
    How will the FIA redress any advantage gained by Mercedes?
    Will the team & drivers be penalised?
    Who within the Mercedes top heavy management will be held accountable?
    What will the Mercedes board make of the events (& potential punishment)?
    Will the potential dangers of that board decision effect the severity of the punishment handed out by the Tribunal?
    Will / can there be any punishment for Pirelli’s involvement?
    etc
    etc

    Agent Double-O-Adam … License to hunt!

  5. SuperSwede

    This will be very interesting to follow. I keep wondering what will happen if Stuttgart feels that they’re being given a penalty that they don’t agree with. IF they turn their back to the sport it will create a huge mess. Worst case scenario would be if both Mercedes and Pirelli leaves the sport immediately after this season.

  6. GeopregK

    Can’t wait to see the outcome of this mess. They are BOTH either guilty or innocent. One possible outcome would be guilty without intentions to deceive, or in other words a simple oversight. And fines with no points deductions to Mercedes.

    That would give some face saving to both parties to allow both of them to continue. If Mercedes loses any champiopnship points the future for them would be very dubious, as I suspect they might leave entirely.

    • DaleH

      I disagree.
      Mercedes are in a championship competing against 10 other teams & have to abide by the rules of the championship. If they are found guilty of breaking those rules they can be punished in some way.
      Pirelli are a supplier to the teams & not a competitor in any way. While what they have done may be incredibly stupid & deemed to be unfair, it is going to be difficult to punish them … other than by not renewing their contract … which may create even more problems for the FIA if a suitable replacement isnt interested or able to step into that void.

      • GeopregK

        I agree on the competitive point you make, but you can’t seperate the two parties. Or else why would they call in Pirelli as well as Mercedes?

        Your rationale would indicate Pirelli can go unpunished due to the exignecy of need? We have no one else to supply tires so they can do what they want??

        And if Merecedes were reponding to a dire need expressed by Pirelli, they get spanked with no consideration whatsoever? Someone needs to prove how Merecedes benefitted from this test in order to take points away, and I really don’t know how easy or difficult that would be. I would hope that Merecedes can prove that no development work on the car was performed, only chassis adjustments to suit whatever tire feeedback Pirelli needed.

        In hindsight what Merecedes should probably have done is give a 2013 chassis to Pirelli to use with Pirelli’s own test driver and not been on track at all, only as required to support the car.

      • DaleH

        I disagree again.
        The FIA has no legal right to punish any entity unless they sign up to compete in a FIA sanctioned event. As a supplier & not a competitor I believe there is very little that can be done to Pirelli. There may be some legal route via the EU courts, but I cant see the FIA having any teeth in this matter.
        WRT Mercedes … I completely disagree. There is no need to prove anything further than that Mercedes broke the FIA rules with regards testing. Whether or not they derived any benefit is completely irrelevant.

  7. GeopregK

    Your black and white descriptions are dead on accurate, but as we all know there are no absolutes, or black and white, in F1. Regarding Mercedes ESPECIALY in HOW any rules were broken. Deliberate flaunting of the regs OR misunderstanding and lack of calrity in the FIA regs themselves? No lawyer am I (proudly!) but many a case has been made and lost on those points.

    Regarding Pirelli and F1 I am confident (withouit certainty) that they have a contract with the FIA, just as the teams do, albeit under differing circumstances, that oblige them to certain terms. If there was no accountability why would the FIA bring Pirelli into the tribunal action?

    The truly sad fact of this scenario is the ultimate tribunal outcome won’t be known until the latter part of the season, when the impact of a points deduction impact will have the worst possible effect.

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