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'No reason to believe approval had not been given'
International Tribunal set to decide Mercedes' fate
Mercedes has been reprimanded and suspended from the Young Driver Test for breaching regulations in the tyre test with Pirelli using its 2013 car.
After Thursday's day-long hearing, the International Tribunal's panel of judges delivered its verdict on Friday, and also reprimanded Pirelli for its actions. The tribunal found that neither Mercedes nor Pirelli acted in bad faith at any time, and that the test would not have taken place without the qualified approval of Charlie Whiting but decided that the test was in breach of the sporting regulations and that 'both Mercedes and Pirelli, accordingly, did act in breach of articles 1 and 151 [of the International Sporting Code]'.
The tribunal also stated that 'by running its car(s) in the course of the testing, Mercedes acted in breach of Article 22.4 h) [of the sporting regulations]' which prohibits track testing 'between the start of a ten day period which precedes the start of the first Event of the Championship and 31 December of the same year'.
However, the tribunal found that 'the track testing, which is the subject of these proceedings, was not carried out by Pirelli and/or Mercedes with the intention that Mercedes should obtain any unfair sporting advantage', and said it believes Whiting acted in good faith having taken advice from the FIA's legal department.
However, Mercedes was found to have gained an unfair sporting advantage as a result of the test.
The article in question
- Mercedes has been found to have breached 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].
Decision of the International Tribunal
The Tribunal, after having heard the parties and examined their submissions, decided that:
- Mercedes be reprimanded;
- Mercedes be suspended from participating in the forthcoming "three day young driver training test";
- Pirelli be reprimanded.
and rejected all other and further conclusions.'
The FIA, Mercedes and Pirelli have also been ordered to each pay one third of the costs of the investigation and the procedure, with the FIA having to pay all of its own legal costs.