• Mercedes Tyre Test

Red Bull could lead rebellion against FIA rules

ESPN Staff
June 24, 2013 « Audi beats Toyota to Le Mans victory | 'I need to get a win' - Hamilton »
The FIA's International Tribunal seems to achieved little other than more discord © Getty Images

Todt under fire

© Sutton Images
  • The FIA's 'punishment' of Mercedes has increased pressure on the already unpopular and too-often invisible Jean Todt, the organisation's president, whose re-election later this year seemed until recently a done deal but who now faces a battle to regain his authority in the sport that is the jewel in the FIA's crown. The International Tribunal was Todt's brainchild and the first time it has been used it has been shown abjectly wanting. That is not his fault, but it's again a tarnishing of the image of Formula One, leaving casual and not-so-casual observers reflecting on a sport where different rules seem to apply to different teams.

    Todt is still likely to be re-elected, but that speaks more about the world of motorsport than it does the good he brings to it.
    Martin Williamson

Formula One could face what amounts to a rebellion as a result of the FIA's lenient penalty against Mercedes after the team was found guilty of the tyre-testing affair, according to a report in the Times. Red Bull, it is claimed, are preparing to openly defy the FIA and its regulations.

The mood among a number of F1 teams is one of anger after Mercedes escaped with no more than a reprimand after staging a three-day test in Spain. That it will also miss the young drivers' test at Silverstone next month is not seen by those teams as coming close to a punishment fitting the crime.

Two teams - Red Bull and Ferrari - and understood to have made their displeasure known to Bernie Ecclestone.

The newspaper claims that Red Bull are considering an open challenge to the authority of the FIA by staging its own illegal test, exactly mirroring the actions of Mercedes, and are quite willing to risk a similar reprimand for doing so. The benefits of a private test of that kind would outweigh those gained from the young drivers' test.

While Ferrari are not expected to go as far as an illegal test, an unnamed spokesman told the Times: "How can a reprimand be enough to punish a team that struggled at the Spanish Grand Prix, tested and then won in Monaco?

"No one knew about the test, yet the tribunal does not seem to have investigated why not and what exactly went on.

"No wonder the teams are angry. They have had enough of the FIA. The threats might be empty at the moment but the fact that these conversations are taking place shows that no one is happy with [Jean] Todt or the FIA. The crunch is coming and everyone wonders when and how. Maybe this is the time."