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Mercedes: We didn't test - Pirelli did

Mercedes has opened its defence at the FIA International Tribunal by claiming that the private test that took place last month was Pirelli's undertaking, not the team's.
Mercedes has outlined its defence against charges that it undertook an unauthorised private track test using 2013 equipment at the Circuit de Catalunya last month on the grounds that it was not they who were testing, but Pirelli.

"The only sensible conclusion is that what happened on that day, whether one calls it a test or track running, [is that it] was conducted by Pirelli," argued Paul Harris QC, the barrister appearing on behalf of Mercedes.

"The people who were present on the day all unanimously give the same evidence about what was going on, who was doing it, and who was in charge of it. It is undeniable the testing was undertaken by Pirelli.

"If the test wasn't undertaken by Mercedes, there is no case," he added. "They are the critical words in the text of Article 22: 'undertaken by.'"

Harris also argued that the test was lawfully undertaken under clause 4.2 of Pirelli's commercial contract, which the Mercedes advocate said was not the same as the testing banned under Article 22 of the Sporting Regulations.

And Harris also revealed the much-rumoured emails from Charlie Whiting, the FIA's technical head, which the team felt gave them the leeway to participate in the test session, ostensibly as a 'third party sub-contractor' to Pirelli in the matter.

"In my view, any such testing would not actually be undertaken by the competitor," Whiting's email to FIA lawyer Sebastien Bernard reads. "Do you think we would be able to take this position to allow Pirelli to undertake a meaningful test?"

"Indeed we could take this position," Bernard replies. "[That it is] not an undertaking from the competitor [Mercedes.]"

Harris insisted before the tribunal that Mercedes had "acted in good faith throughout, conducting a test to the benefit of all F1 participants."

The Mercedes representative also raised the issue of a prior test conducted by Ferrari on behalf of Pirelli, which the FIA has decided not to pursue to a hearing as the hardware involved in that case was 2011-vintage.

Related Pictures

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12.05.2013-Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
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12.05.2013-  Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138 leads Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
24.11.2012- Free Practice 3, Pirelli Tyres
Mercedes, Red Bull
Nico Rosberg - Mercedes W06
Nico Rosberg - Mercedes W06
Nico Rosberg - Mercedes W06
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Valtteri Bottas - Williams-Mercedes FW37
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Esteban Ocon - Force India-Mercedes VJM08
Pascal Wehrlein - Mercedes W06
Pascal Wehrlein - Mercedes W06
Pascal Wehrlein - Mercedes W06

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June 20, 2013 1:17 PM

If they let Mercedes get off on this one the other teams will start testing like crazy. There goes the no testing during the season. As long as a third party runs the testing they can do as much as they want.

Sasha Alexandrovich

June 20, 2013 12:58 PM

So, Mercedes, it would be ok for Ferrari to run 1000km when the test is undertaken by an electronic manufacturer of steering wheel components to check if all systems work fine under all conditions. Or the brake manufacturer runs a 1000km test with Lotus to check how the brakes operate under certain conditions. Or for all I care Red Bull Drinks undertakes the test and hires RBR to check if the system that provides the driver with fluids will work for at least 1000km. Can of worms.

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