A swift decision was made by the FIA International Tribunal this lunchtime, as the result of the case brought against Mercedes AMG Petronas, which started via official protests from both Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari at Monaco, was officially announced after yesterday’s 7-hour hearing at Place de la Concorde, Paris.
Both Mercedes AMG Petronas and Pirelli were reprimanded in respect of the three-day test that was carried out using a F1 WO4 in Barcelona on May 15th to 17th, along with both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel, which Mercedes admitted was the case for the duration of the 1000 kilometers covered, with the Brackley-based squad regretting the decision in using their current line-up.
Further to this, Mercedes was not excluded from any of the remaining races of the 2013 season, but have been forbidden from participating in the Young Drivers’ Test that will be taking place at Silverstone on the 17th to the 19th of July.
The intentions of Ross Brawn and his team were clearly out not to gain any type of “unfair sporting advantage,” via the use of the current 2013 car, as both parties were shown via conclusive evidence that both Mercedes and Pirelli were acting in good faith, within the scope of the current regulations imposed by the governing body.
However, the clear lack of any subsequent further communications by both parties with the FIA after the initial consultation, as well as not consulting with the other 9 participating teams in the act of fairness, meant that there was no reason other to determine that both had breached articles 1 and 151 of the International Sporting Code, as well as Article 22 of the Sporting Regulations. The latter prohibits the running of an illegal in-season test that was not sanctioned by the governing body, as well as said tests being carried out using a current car.
As the information was revealed about Race Director Charlie Whiting’s involvement was underway, it was becoming clear to see, that he was there as always to provide a welcome opinion to see whether the test was feasible, but would check what stance or bearing the FIA’s legal department would have in respect of it.
But in light of the fact that the FIA was not fully clear of any wrong-doing in its own respect, the legal costs of the Tribunal case are to be shared by all three parties, meaning that a tightening of the regulations regarding testing from a standpoint of the FIA is clearly on the card sin the immediate future, so as to reduce the risk of any further confusion of what ‘qualified’ permission is used in the future regarding such matters.
After the decision of the Tribunal case was announced, Mercedes AMG Petronas themselves issued the following statement regarding the affair: “The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team acknowledges and accepts the Decision of the FIA International Tribunal published today.
“The Decision of the International Tribunal confirmed that the team acted in good faith regarding the Pirelli Tests, never intended to obtain any unfair sporting advantage and had no reason to believe that approval for the Pirelli Tests had not been given.
“Mercedes accepts the proportionate penalties of a reprimand and suspension from the forthcoming Young Driver Test that have been decided upon by the Tribunal. Mercedes would like to once again restate its firm belief in proper due process and commend the FIA for the principle of an independent disciplinary body.
“The team would furthermore like to thank the International Tribunal and its President for the fair hearing it received yesterday. In the best interests of the sport, the team does not intend to avail itself of any right to appeal the Decision.
“Mercedes looks forward to working with the FIA and its fellow competitors to establish a more rigorous procedure for testing in the future, particularly to support the appointed tyre supplier.
We now wish to bring this matter to a close and focus on the forthcoming British and German Grand Prix, both of which are important home races for the team.”
With no full official statement from Pirelli as of yet, it is still unclear as to what is to transpire regarding the future of tyre supply within the sport for the upcoming and fast-approaching 2014 season, where a lot of changes will occur faster than the blink of an eye.
Mercedes, however, will not be able to use the Young Drivers’ Test as they hoped, as will not get some time in the W04 around the “Home of British Motor Racing,” having accepted this as part of their punishment already beforehand .
But by the FIA making this decision, it shows that Mercedes is here to stay in the world of Formula One as a welcome party in the long-term scheme of things, as a pull out by the team would have caused significant ramifications that would have shook the sport to its core. Formula One would have felt the ripples in the pond for years to come, but is relatively stable now that the decision has been made, but it does show that even governing bodies cannot always be 100 percent infallible…