The FIA International Tribunal will deliver its ruling today after it finished Thursday’s hearing into the allegedly illegal three-day test session conducted by the AMG Mercedes Petronas F1 team and Pirelli in the days following the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Tribunal had its hearing in the FIA’s Paris headquarters on Thursday, where Mercedes and Pirelli presented their defence over charges that both outfits breached the FIA sporting regulations.
Mercedes has been charged over its supply of a 2013-specification car for the test, while Pirelli has been asked to address why it did not open the test session to other teams.
Mercedes has claimed in its defence that it has not broken any rules on account of the fact that the test session was organised and run by Pirelli. The team also claimed that the FIA’s race director, Charlie Whiting, had signed off on the test taking place.
Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn again underlined his previous position that the team gained no advantage from the test, which was conducted using unmarked, proposed 2014-spec tyres.
The team’s lawyer, Paul Harris, also used the hearing to attack the premise of the hearing, questioning why Ferrari – which had conducted a similar test with Ferrari, albeit using a 2011-spec F1 car leased out of its customer arm – was not also answering similar charges.
However, Mercedes did concede that its actions – such as its media blackout and equipping drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg with unmarked helmets – could be interpreted as secretive or suspicious.
It was willing to concede that it was willing to accept a sanction of being barred from next month’s three-day Young Drivers test session at Silverstone as punishment for its Barcelona running.
Pirelli, meanwhile, argued that it shouldn’t even be sanctioned by the FIA on the grounds that it is a competition supplier, and not a competitor or FIA member.
The FIA rejected many of the defence claims raised by Mercedes, particularly that the test session had been approved in the first place. It argued that the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council was the only body authorised to approve the test, which amounted to a sanctioned event outside of the sporting regulations.
It will be fascinating to see what ruling the Tribunal reaches, and what penalties and sanctions will be handed out.
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