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Horner questions Mercedes sanction

Christian Horner questions if the punishment fits the crime over Mercedes' F1 tyre test
Christian Horner has questioned the sanctions handed down against Mercedes after its appearance before the FIA's International Tribunal last week in Paris.

Mercedes was reprimanded and ordered to miss this year's Young Driver Test after conducting an in-season tyre test with its 2013 car at Barcelona, with the team spending three days on track with Pirelli to aid with tyre development work.

The fact that Mercedes will sit out the three-day long Young Driver Test will mean the team now misses out on the opportunity to conduct additional testing alongside its rivals, but Red Bull boss Horner said he felt the punishment didn't fit the crime and that the sanctions imposed should have been greater.

"The verdict, I believe, was right," Horner was quoted by Sporting Life. "They [the International Tribunal] found them guilty of breaking the sporting regulations and the sporting code. What is slightly confusing is the leniency of the penalty, which I would have thought was met with a huge sigh of relief at Brackley.

"They even suggested the penalty they would like to receive, which they duly received, and that's it. That's what it is. By breaching (article) 151 of the sporting regulations, it's clear a team is gaining an advantage, and by doing that there should be some kind of sporting penalty that reflects that.

"The problem with the penalty such as the one Mercedes have been given is that it is not a particularly strong deterrent to break the sporting regulations."

Horner said that the FIA now needed to work to clarify the rules regarding any testing carried out by teams regardless of what car is used, with Ferrari having been given no penalty for running with Pirelli using a 2011-spec car.

"The most important thing moving forward is to get clarification on what you can and can't do, not just with the 2013 car, but also the 2011 car and tyre testing in general," he said."That is what also came out of this whole thing, that Ferrari, within the regulations, run that car (2011).

"But is it right for a competitor to be doing over 1,000 kilometres of testing on tyres you are potentially racing with in the heat of a championship battle?

"There is no clarity. It's something that needs tidying up because at the moment, yes, they (Mercedes) breached the rules, but as mentioned the penalty associated with that is not a deterrent.

"The most important thing is to achieve clarity from the FIA because they've deemed it illegal to test, but the sanction for doing that test doesn't, in our opinion, fit the crime."

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June 26, 2013 5:33 PM

Christian Horner forgets all the times his team have bent the rules to suit Red Bull. The FIA took a pragmatic view of the situation, the guidance given to Pirelli and Mercedes was unclear. As a result if a stronger sanction was given it would have gone through the courts with the likelihood that it would been overturned. Being banned from the young driver test is a gesture. What is more important is that the FIA have agreed to clarify the regulations about testing. Hopefully this will include a review of testing that includes some tyre testing days offered to all teams. I suggest a Monday after one or more GPs.

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