Mercedes, Pirelli reprimanded for unauthorized tire test
Paris, France (Sports Network) - Formula One's governing body, the FIA, announced on Friday that Mercedes and Pirelli be reprimanded for an unapproved tire test held last month at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
Furthermore, Mercedes has been suspended from participating in a scheduled three-day young driver training test session next month in Silverstone, England.
After learning of the private session in Barcelona, Red Bull and Ferrari filed a protest that Mercedes used its 2013 car, the W04, to test the current Pirelli tire. Red Bull and Ferrari argued that Mercedes and Pirelli violated F1 regulations in regards to the test.
During a day-long hearing on Thursday in Paris, the FIA's International Tribunal heard testimony from Mercedes, Pirelli and the FIA. The tribunal determined that Mercedes violated Article 22.4h of the F1 sporting regulations, which states, "No track testing may take place ... 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."
The tribunal noted that Mercedes had no intention of obtaining any unfair sporting advantage, and neither Mercedes nor Pirelli acted in bad faith at any time. But the tribunal did point out that Pirelli failed to offer other teams a similar opportunity to test.
It also was determined that the test would not have been carried out by either Mercedes or Pirelli had it not been given approval by FIA race director Charlie Whiting. The actions taken on behalf of the FIA by Whiting, who having received advice from the FIA's legal department, were in good faith as well as with the intention of assisting the parties and consistent with sporting fairness.
After the tribunal announced its decision, Mercedes released a statement, saying it "acknowledges and accepts the decision of the FIA International Tribunal published today.
"The decision of the International Tribunal confirmed that the team acted in good faith regarding the Pirelli Tests, never intended to obtain any unfair sporting advantage and had no reason to believe that approval for the Pirelli tests had not been given.
"Mercedes accepts the proportionate penalties of a reprimand and suspension from the forthcoming Young Driver Test that have been decided upon by the tribunal."
The tribunal ordered that Mercedes, Pirelli and the FIA share the cost equally for both the investigation and hearing. In addition, the FIA will cover all of its own legal costs.