Tyre row: What the drivers say

2013-06-07 08:43

MONTREAL, Canada - Mercedes has welcomed the decision by Formula 1's governing body to call the team before a tribunal for allegedly breaking in-season testing rules and said it would explain facts "in an open and transparent manner".

The team said in a statement issued ahead of the 2013 Canadian F1 GP: "Integrity is of primary importance to Mercedes-Benz and we have the utmost confidence in the due process of the International Automobile Federation (IAF)."


Mercedes took part in what was allegedly secret 1000km test with F1's tyre supplier Pirelli, in Barcelona in May 2013. The test was conducted after the 2013 Spanish GP and came to light following Nico Rosberg's win at the 2013 Monaco GP.

The federation announced that the matter had been handed to its international tribunal, a body which can impose tough penalties if Mercedes is found to have broken rules that ban teams from testing with current cars during the season.

Mercedes described the event as a Pirelli test and Rosberg  said the tyre-maker was in complete control of track activities.

Rosberg said: "It was a full-on Pirelli test - they dictated what we did. We had no say whatsoever - they say 'you are doing that, that, that and that' and the engineers that they have run our programme.

"It was not for us to learn anything or to decide on anything that we did."

The question of who organised and ran the test is important: Article 22.1 of F1's 2013 sporting regulations defines testing as "any track running time that is not part of a regular GP weekend" and "undertaken by a competitor entered in the championship, using cars which conform substantially with the current F1 technical regulations, in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year."

Pirelli, as sole supplier to all 11 teams, is not "a competitor entered in the championship" whereas Mercedes is.

Ferrari, which took part in another Pirelli test in April 2013, was cleared of wrongdoing because it used a 2011 car run by its customer division rather than the race team.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said Red Bull and Ferrari, which both filed a protest about the Pirelli/Mercedes test, had assured his company that "their claim is not against the tyre test itself".


The FIA said in a statement after the Monaco race that "Pirelli and Mercedes-AMG were advised by the federation that such a development test could be possible if carried out by Pirelli, as opposed to the team that would provide the car and driver".

It added, however, that "such tests would be conditional upon every team being given the same opportunity to test to ensure full sporting equity".

Pirelli says it chose the date of the test and booked and paid for the use of the Montmelo circuit with procedures defined and determined by Pirelli.

Hembery clarified: "It was a Pirelli test, performed to our standards and to our regulation, and to how we wanted it done."

Mercedes is likely to compete in the next couple of races with the matter hanging over the team. The tribunal, whose members are elected by the federation's general assembly, is unlikely to hear the case before mid-July.

Mercedes, which has maintained it had federation approval for the test, will have at least 15 days to submit its observations once notified of charges.

The prosecuting body then has a further 15 days to respond, with another 15 days elapsing before any hearing, although the tribunal president can reduce or extend the time limits.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix weekend.