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Pirelli was also reprimanded today for its role in the three-day 1000km tyre evaluation test.

The tribunal agreed that no proper permission had been granted for the test and an advantage had been gained by the team, neither party had intentionally cheated or tried to go outside of the rules.

The tribunal’s findings read as follows:

(1) 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.

(2) Neither Pirelli nor Mercedes acted in bad faith at any material time.

(3) Both Pirelli and Mercedes disclosed to FIA at least the essence of what they intended to do in relation to the test and attempted to obtain permission for it; and Mercedes had no reason to believe that approval had not been given.

(4) The actions taken on behalf of FIA by Charlie Whiting (having taken advice from the legal department of FIA) were taken in good faith and with the intention of assisting the parties and consistent with sporting fairness.

Notwithstanding the above findings:

(i) by running its car(s) in the course of the testing, Mercedes acted in breach of Article 22.4 h) SR;

(ii) insofar as FIA expressed its qualified approval for the testing to be carried out, that approval could not, and did not, vary the express prohibition stipulated by Article 22 SR and neither Mercedes nor Pirelli took adequate steps to ensure that the qualification was satisfied. In this regard the Tribunal takes particular note of the fact that it was, very properly, not submitted on behalf of Pirelli, nor was there any evidence that, the assurance which it was not disputed Mr Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director, had given to Charlie Whiting (as set out in paragraph 5 above) had in fact been acted on at any material time;

(iii) the testing would, however, not have been carried out by either Mercedes or Pirelli if that qualified approval had not been expressed by the representatives of the FIA in the way in which it is admitted by FIA it was;

(iv) The Tribunal is unable to express any opinion as to whether or not then testing carried out by Ferrari in 2012 and 2013 was properly authorised but, it would appear to be equally unsatisfactory that this consent was also given by Charlie Whiting, the Tribunal has no evidence before it which indicates that his opinion in that case had in fact been wrong.

(v) Mercedes did obtain some material advantage (even if only by way of confirmation of what had not gone wrong) as a result of the testing, which, at least potentially, gave it an unfair sporting advantage, to the knowledge and with the intention of Pirelli. In the light of the data which Pirelli did in fact pass to Mercedes by way of the confidential email referred to under paragraph 37.8 above, it is plain beyond sensible argument that Pirelli had intended confidentially to pass some data to Mercedes, which Pirelli expressly regarded as being of high importance even if, as we accept, it was in fact of limited value to Mercedes because it was unaware of the tyre(s) to which the report related.

(vi) No other team was aware of the fact that such advantage might be, or had been, obtained, notwithstanding the assurance which had been given by Paul Hembery to Charlie Whiting, as set out in paragraph 5 above; and the Tribunal notes that, when giving that assurance, Paul Hembery had not indicated to Charlie Whiting that the notification which Pirelli had already given to all teams in 2012 could satisfy the assurance which was being sought.

(vii) Both Mercedes and Pirelli, accordingly, did act in breach of articles 1 and 151 ISC. (running a 2013 car)

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Hi, I have been a Formula 1 fanatic since 1987 when my family took me to the Adelaide GP. I now enjoy close friendships with team members at Ferrari and within the Holden Racing Team (V8Supercars).
  • John from CA

    Here is a story: 2 kids, 2 parents. Brawn and Horner are brothers Brawn is the eldest. Horner goes to the kitchen and asks mom for some candy. She promptly says “no, only after dinner”. Brawn sees this and goes to dad on the couch. He askes for some candy in which dad replies “yeah that’s fine, as long as your mom is ok with it.” Horner finds out after dinner Brawn got candy and promptly tells the parents who in turn start arguing.

    The argument goes on about what’s best for the kids and mom complains “you always undermine me!” Dad complains about who is really in charge. This goes on for the entire dinner while Horner whispers to Brawn “ooh your in big doo doo now.” Brawn could care less because he had his candy. After dinner dad calls for an emergency meeting in the living room.

    He tells the kids after talking with your mom that together they decided Brawn will not get candy after dinner. All the while mom looks at dad glaringly and states ” this is not over”

    • dom

      well put, and to me as informative as, if not more than, the long pdf report from the tribunal! however, you forgot to mention the adopted Italian brother who also had his candy before dinner, except it was candy he took from his grandmother’s house a few weeks before. It was older of course and so the wrapper took some work getting off before he could get to the sweet stuff. He didn’t even get asked into the living room meeting but then he has always been a bit of a favoured child…

      • John from CA

        Mom and dad are more upset with each other and actually forget all about the boys. There is contemplation on whether another couple years together is worth it. Mom thinks of that old boyfriend Mish Ellen from France would ever take her back. Dad thinks is this what I signed up for? She was the one who wanted all the kids and extra stress. I could just go back to the ol’ bachelor days.

        Meanwhile Brawn gives Horner a wink. Horner runs back to his room slams the door, and cries softly wondering why no one ever listens to him.

        First the pet dog with only one finger won’t listen to him when he ate all of the older dogs food; now Brawn, what is going on!?? At least Horner has the best secret of all. He calls it his “precious” “precious Newey”

    • tom

      Your analogy misses Pirelli’s part entirely. That’s why it doesn’t work because it was Pirelli who ultimately got the sweets from Mercedes.

      • Glen

        Then allow me to refresh this delightful tale: Brawn has a mate over to play, called Pirelli. Brawn asks dad if he and Pirelli can share some candy. Dad says “yeah that’s fine, as long as mom is ok with it.” Brawn takes this as yes (which kid wouldn’t) and he and Pirelli share some candy. Horner subsequently discovers the candy rapping and runs complaining to mom ‘why did you give candy to Brawn and Pirelli and not me?’ Mom says she never said Brawn and Pirelli could have any candy at which point Horner says ‘you are so unfair!’ Mom scolds Brawn and Pirelli for taking candy without asking and as punishment, neither of them can have any candy tomorrow. Mom then starts an argument with dad over the rules in the house about candy. Neither Brawn nor Pirelli care (they’ve both had their candy and eaten it) while Horner knows deep down that he has been conned.

  • tom

    What I still don’t get is what exactly was punished here?

    As I predicted from the beginning, the Mercedes argument was:
    – Competitors are not allowed to run tests with 2013 cars.
    – Pirelli ran the test using our equipment.
    – Pirelli is not a competitor.
    – The official FIA statement on the matter explicitly allows Pirelli to run tests with 2013 cars if everyone has the same chance to participate.
    – CW and the FIA lawyer were asked and confirmed that view.

    So was the problem that Pirelli only asked a very few teams to do the test? In that case, it wouldn’t be Mercedes fault, as it was Pirelli’s test and hence their duty to invite everyone.
    Or did the court say that non-competitors are also not allowed to run tests? In that case, it would still only be Pirelli who was at fault because it was their test.
    Or are they saying that it was NOT a Pirelli but (at least partially) a Mercedes test? In that case, FIA and CW should be punished as well for giving their OK.

    To me, this is the typical kind of political decision I predicted from the beginning. Pirelli as the sole tire manufacturer couldn’t possibly be punished, especially not after driving away Michelin in bad blood.
    At the same time, the other teams were mad and as we know do have quite a bit of standing within the FIA (which unofficially stands for Ferrari International Association), so somebody had to be punished, which could only be Mercedes. However, Mercedes not only owns a team, but is also essential as an engine provider, so a slap on the wrist was as far as they were willing to go, especially after voices among the stockholders got louder to retreat from F1 entirely in the wake of this “scandal”.

    • Andreas

      The Tribunal didn’t get into the “whose test was it” argument too much. Mercedes got reprimanded for breaking the sporting regulations (by running a 2013 car), as well as Pirelli (since they, even though they’re not a competitor, need to play by the rules too). The Tribunal also found that the test wouldn’t have been run without the (in hindsight wrong) advice from CW, which seems to be why FIA was ordered to chip in on the cost of holding the tribunal. So all three were – in varying degrees – found to be at fault.

      To me, it seems a far less political and far more sensible outcome than it could have been (especially back in the day, when J-M Balestre decided everything). The idea was to put everyone back on equal footing, by ousting Mercedes from the young driver test. And in fact, trading a three day tyre test (in which you can’t really change anything on the car, to avoid skewing the test results) for a three day “young driver” test (where you can try any parts you like on the car) does, if anything, put Mercedes at a disadvantage. Which is as it should, IMO.

  • tom

    “The Tribunal didn’t get into the “whose test was it” argument too much.”

    That’s exactly what makes me wonder, because no matter how you slice it, even if it was all 100% against the regulations, you first need to identify the party responsible.

    Since analogies seem the way to go, let me provide one:
    Say Mercedes is a clerk at a shop and in comes a friend of the boss who says that he’s supposed to get his favorite breakfast cereal for free. So she calls the boss and asks if that is true and gets the OK to hand over the cereal.
    Turns out that the stock holders of the shop got wind of it and they didn’t like it at all. Instead, they want to take legal action for theft.

    Taking the cereal without paying for it was clearly illegal, but who was responsible. Was it Mercedes? Definitely not, even though it was Mercedes handing over the cereal. If Mercedes took the cereal and ate it herself, things would be different, but that’s not what happened.

    Same here. If it wasn’t Mercedes’ test, then no matter how illegal it was, you can’t punish Mercedes.

  • Still think the FIA gave Charlie a bit of a drubbing over this. Interesting. Sort of a case of, “gosh…you know, we all kind of screwed up on this one and we can just split the costs of us making a show of it and publicly admitting in a tribunal”. The biggest winners? The lawyers.

    • MIE

      I suspect it was Jean Todt trying to get at Bernie.
      Bernie has a contract with Pirelli for trackside advertising for 2014 (in advance of any agreement with the FIA to actually supply tyres). Charlie and Bernie go way back, and I wonder if the head of the FIA is trying to finally prise control of the sport away from Bernie.

  • tifosi77

    The punishment meted out by the tribunal here is every bit as insulting as Michael Schumacher being disqualified from his second place finish in the 1997 World Championship….. but he and Ferrari still being allowed to keep their points for career reckoning.

    If I were a team boss, this ruling would effectively say to me that the FIA is totally kosher with allowing me to test in-season. Whatever teams do not go and get at least one track day after this are fools.

    • sname

      I don’t defend MS, but remember that not to many years before Prost won a championship that way, and a year later Senna did the same? Why is Schumacher the only one still criticized for it? He was just following the footsteps of those other great drivers.. who were not charged with anything in their time, (I don’t defend him winning that way, but just cut the crap of making him the only bad guy of the all-time greats..)