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Who's at the International Tribunal?

20 June 2013

With the FIA International Tribunal hearing into Mercedes' 'secret' tyre test with Pirelli at Barcelona last month using 2013-specification equipment, we now know who will be attending the day's proceedings.

Chairing the tribunal is Edwin Glasgow QC, who is an FIA Court of Appeal judge aswell as a judge on the FA Premier League panel. He is also a member of the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel.

The judges include Grand-AM founding partner Chris Harris, UK's Motor Sport Council Tony Scott-Andrews, Patrick Raedersdorf from Switzerland and Monaco lawyer Laurent Anselmi.

Attending for Mercedes is team principal Ross Brawn, the man whom many believe has his job with the F1 team on the line after he publicly stated that the it had been his decision to go ahead with the controversial test in May.

He will be supported at the hearing by chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin and team manager Ron Meadows, as well as barrister Paul Harris QC - the same man who successfully defended Brawn in 2009 in the row over double diffuser legality.

Brawn has a good track record on winning FIA hearings in the past, having also emerged victorious in the row over Benetton's traction control in 1994 and Ferrari's 'bargeboard' controversy of 1999.

However, Mercedes' director of motorsport Toto Wolff and non-executive chairman Niki Lauda are not present in Paris today to stand alongside Brawn as he testifies.

Paul Hembery is representing Pirelli, and Charlie Whiting will be putting the case on behalf of the FIA. It's been rumoured that Brawn is in possession of an email from Whiting effectively authorising the private tyre test at the Circuit de Catalunya after the Spanish Grand Prix last month, which if true could put Whiting himself in an untenable position.

"We would not have done the Pirelli test unless we believed we could do the Pirelli test. When we get to the tribunal, you will have your answers," said Brawn at the Canadian Grand Prix. "I am comfortable and confident that once we get to the tribunal, the facts will become apparent and people can make a better judgement."

There have been rumours in Italy that former Ferrari man Giorgio Ascanelli is being lined up to replace Whiting in the event that the long-time FIA technical head is forced to stand down over the row.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has also arrived at the FIA's headquarters in Place de la Concorde this morning for the hearing, accompanied by the team's chief engineer Paul Monaghan. It's not clear whether they are present purely as observers or whether they expect to provide any testimony to the hearing.

Red Bull originally raised the matter of the tyre tests with the FIA and have been leading calls for Mercedes to be heavily punished for their breach of the sporting regulations.

However there are fears that if the Tribunal imposes the most severe penalties for the infraction - which could even see Mercedes excluded from the championship - then the motor giant might decide to pull out of the sport altogether. The company's investment in developing the new 2014-specification V6 engine suggests that it a remote possibility, however.

Equally there is a big question mark over just what sanctions the Tribunal could possibly bring against Pirelli if the case against them was deemed to have been proven, given that the tyre manufacturer is not a competitor bound by the same sporting regulations as Mercedes but is instead working under a commercial contract.

And the Tribunal could be seen as just as crucial a test for FIA President Jean Todt, whose stewardship of the motorsports' top body has been seen as somewhat lacklustre since he took over from Max Mosely in 2009. A high profile controversial loss in the FIA's new appeals process would not be what the former Ferrari team principal needs ahead of his bid to win a second term in the post.


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