Ross Brawn has insisted that sporting integrity is vital to Mercedes, and says that the full facts of the testing controversy will come out on the FIA’s International Tribunal.
Brawn was speaking to Eddie Jordan in a no-holds barred interview the former team boss conducted on Thursday – and after doing his homework EJ made sure that Brawn faced a tough grilling. The interview will be shown on the BBC on Saturday.
“Sporting integrity is vital to Mercedes,” said Brawn. “It would be easy for me to challenge that. When we get to the international tribunal and everything’s explained, people can make a judgement when they know the facts. I’m not going to pre-empt those facts. It’s unfortunate to be making judgements before the facts are known.”
Inevitably many of the questions focussed on the level of secrecy surrounding the test.
“It was a Pirelli test, on the Wednesday to Friday after the race. It couldn’t be held any closer to the weekend because people were packing up.
“On the Tuesday there were still motorhomes begin dissembled, garages being taken apart, and there we were in our full regalia with the trucks and the Pirelli trucks and everything. There was no secrecy involved; it was privacy.”
Brawn was adamant that the secrecy angle has been overplayed.
“The reason for the drivers’ helmets is it was a Pirelli test, they organised the security, they organised all the arrangements. We didn’t want to bring attention to the drivers, we didn’t want to have to put security there, we didn’t want to have to put minders.
“The easiest way for us was to not bring attention to what drivers were in the car, only for those reasons. We have always been very open about the drivers.
“The drivers are irrelevant – there’s nothing in the sporting regulations, nothing in the arrangements for these tests that controls which drivers are in the car. There was no issue there. It was purely privacy and nothing more.”
Brawn made it clear that it wasn’t the responsibility of Mercedes to tell the other teams that the test was going on, even though it’s standard practice for teams to tell each other about filming days and so on.
“It was a Pirelli test, we don’t believe we had an obligation to inform other teams, if Pirelli wanted to inform other teams that’s up to them. We’re comfortable it was a Pirelli test requested by Pirelli. It’s for Pirelli to decide what they want to do with it.”
Intriguingly Nico Rosberg admitted this weekend that the drivers did know what tyres they were running, but Brawn has played that down.
“They had some awareness of the tyres but that’s the awareness you have togive a driver if tyre testing. If you want to be effective in testing you have to give the driver some guidance of what you are looking for. It wasn’t: ‘This is the tyre we’re using at the next race.’
“Pirelli are building a jigsaw. We don’t know what is what. But it would be irresponsible to put a tyre on the car without giving the driver a bit of guidance of what it is, a new construction or whatever, and that’s what we want you to look for.”