• FIA International Tribunal

FIA claims no approval given

ESPN Staff
June 20, 2013 « Indian GP denies race is at risk | Mercedes points finger at Ferrari in defence »
The FIA will determine whether Mercedes broke regulations during its Pirelli tyre test © Sutton Images

The FIA claims it gave no permission for Mercedes to use a 2013 car during its tyre test with Pirelli.

The International Tribunal in Paris got under way in Paris on Thursday morning, and opened with the FIA's lawyer Mark Howard QC providing summary information. Pirelli claimed the FIA gave permission for a 2013 car test, but the FIA said it had an "informal" approach regarding the test in Barcelona and was not told dates, location or that it would definitely go ahead. For a test to be valid the FIA must give approval, and in order to do so needs to know dates, location, teams, drivers and the point of the tests. The FIA said this approval was never given.

The FIA also said that despite the Charlie Whiting being contacted ahead of the test, his approval is "only the opinion of someone within the FIA; Mr Whiting is not in any position to provide a binding statement with respect to the rules". The FIA said the only way to overrule the regulation prohibiting an in-season test would be via the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC).

The article in question

  • Mercedes is being accused of breaching article 151c of the FIA's International Sporting Code, which states:

    Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally [shall be deemed a breach of the rules].

Having outlined its objections to Mercedes' claims so far, the FIA said it believes the way the tyre test was carried out compared to previous tests was prejudicial to the interests of the 2013 Formula One season and to the interests of motorsport generally. "If you compare and contrast what happened in 2012 with what happened in 2013, the difference was marked," Howard said.

The tribunal is taking place at the FIA's headquarters in Place de la Concorde in Paris, with Ross Brawn attending for Mercedes and Pirelli's Paul Hembery also present. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is also at the tribunal after both Red Bull and Ferrari originally protested against the tyre test back on the morning of the Monaco Grand Prix. Horner has been joined by Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan.

Mercedes is being represented by Harris; the barrister who also represented Brawn during the double diffuser case in 2009. Mercedes chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin and team manager Ron Meadows are also present, but Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda are not.

Charlie Whiting is an attendance from the FIA, while it has been clarified that Pirelli has been summoned as the test may have been "prejudicial to the competition" but that it isn't accused of breaching its contract.

Tweeting from within the tribunal has been banned, but ESPN's Twitter feed will provide updates from Paris following the hearing.