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Mercedes 'gained advantage' from Pirelli test

21 June 2013

The FIA's International Tribunal had ruled that Mercedes did – unintentionally – 'obtain some material advantage' from its tyre test with Pirelli.

Following an extensive hearing in Paris, the Tribunal elected to reprimand both Mercedes and Pirelli for carrying out the test, while Mercedes was also banned from taking part in this year's Young Driver Test.



The hearing had centered on whether or not Mercedes had breached F1's testing regulations in conducting the test, which saw Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg spend three days on track with Pirelli after the tyre company asked for assistance with tyre development work.

The main issue was that the Mercedes test was conducted with its 2013 car as opposed to an older specification car, as was the case when Ferrari carried out a Pirelli test of its own earlier in the year.

Explaining its findings, the Tribunal accepted that both Mercedes and Pirelli had acted in good faith and that the team hadn't made a deliberate attempt to gain an advantage, but stated that regulations had still been broken.

The Tribunal also insisted that an advantage had in fact been gained from the running that took place which was behind its decision to now prevent him from taking part in the Young Driver Test.

“The track testing, which is the subject of these proceedings, was not carried out by Pirelli and/or Mercedes with the intention that Mercedes should obtain any unfair sporting advantage,” the Tribunal findings revealed. “Neither Pirelli nor Mercedes acted in bad faith at any material time

“Both Pirelli and Mercedes disclosed to FIA at least the essence of what they intended to do in relation to the test and attempted to obtain permission for it; and Mercedes had no reason to believe that approval had not been given.

“Notwithstanding the above findings…Mercedes did obtain some material advantage (even if only by way of confirmation of what had not gone wrong) as a result of the testing, which, at least potentially, gave it an unfair sporting advantage, to the knowledge and with the intention of Pirelli.

"In the light of the data which Pirelli did in fact pass to Mercedes by way of the confidential email referred to under paragraph 37.8 above [relating to trackside engineering reports], it is plain beyond sensible argument that Pirelli had intended confidentially to pass some data to Mercedes, which Pirelli expressly regarded as being of high importance even if, as we accept, it was in fact of limited value to Mercedes because it was unaware of the tyre(s) to which the report related. (vii)

"Both Mercedes and Pirelli, accordingly, did act in breach of articles 1 and 151 ISC."

The Tribunal also ruled that Mercedes, Pirelli and the FIA should all pay a third of the costs of the investigation and procedure, while the FIA was responsible for its own legal costs.

The full ruling can be read by clicking HERE.


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