• FIA International Tribunal

International Tribunal set to decide Mercedes' fate

ESPN Staff
June 20, 2013 « Pirelli believes it can't be sanctioned | Mercedes offers to skip Young Driver Test »
The International Tribunal will deliver its verdict and any potential punishments on Friday © Getty Images

The FIA's International Tribunal is set to deliver a decision on the Mercedes tyre test on Friday.

In a day-long hearing on Thursday, the FIA, Mercedes and Pirelli were all able to state their cases in front of a panel of judges at the first ever International Tribunal. The FIA said it had not given approval for the test to take place following an "informal" approach, and that Charlie Whiting's approval is not sufficient as it is only his opinion.

The FIA also claimed that in carrying out the test both Mercedes and Pirelli had acted in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the 2013 Formula One season and to the interests of motor sport generally, therefore breaching article 151c of the International Sporting Code.

In defence, Mercedes said it received permission from Whiting following consultation with the FIA's legal team and that it has no case to answer as the test was undertaken by Pirelli. It also referenced Ferrari's tyre test prior to the Spanish Grand Prix, saying that the 2011 car used in that test still largely conforms to 2013 regulations and that Ferrari booked and paid for the circuit itself, meaning that if Mercedes has breached article 151c then so has Ferrari.

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].

Paul Harris QC - representing Mercedes - said the team twice rang Whiting to ensure it would not be in breach of regulation 22 of the Sporting Regulations, which relates to in-season testing, and added: "We did everything we thought reasonable and within our power to obtain the relevant and proper consent - and we thought we got it."

In the afternoon, Pirelli declared its surprise at being summoned and said it can't be sanctioned by the FIA as it is not an FIA license holder, citing the 2008 Crashgate scandal is a similar example. Pirelli also claimed it did not ask Mercedes to use a 2013 car, and said an email from March 2012 proved that it had offered all teams the chance to carry out 1000km track testing.

At the end of the hearing Mercedes claimed it should receive no more than a reprimand if it is to be punished, and offered to skip the Young Driver Test at Silverstone in order to prevent gaining an advantage over its rivals.

President Edwin Glasgow QC said a decision will be announced by Friday, with Ross Brawn, Christian Horner and Paul Hembery all stating their expectation that there would be no verdict on Thursday evening.

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