Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 20th June 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day GMT 02:00 11:31 13:39 14:09 14:39  17:28 18:30

Lauda – I knew nothing

Its D-Day for Mercedes and Pirelli as they attend the F1 International tribunal in Paris. AMuS is reporting that Niki Lauda is now distancing himself from the test claiming the first he knew about it was “when the wheels were already turning”.

Lauda insisted in Monaco that proper permission had been obtained from the FIA by Mercedes.

Brawn said in Canada, “It was my decision to do the test, so that’s a fact. Let’s see what occurs at the tribunal and go from there.”Yet Toto Wolff has since insisted that the Brackley management are all in this together and that Ross Brawn’s job is not at risk.

Lotus No. 1?

TJ13 reported on Tuesday the makeup of the investors behind Infinity Racing which has acquired 35% of Lotus F1. Manssor Ijaz who has a 20% stake appears to be emerging as the spokesperson for the group.

Mr. Ijaz has an interesting background and was the subject of a report into ‘memogate’ in 2012 by the BBC

he appears very confident on the impact he and his consortium will have on F1 when speaking to Sportspro he claimed, “I say it simply, flatly, completely — we’ll be number 1 in 12 months.”

The major shareholder in the group is believed to be the Sultan of Brunei, but on this Mr. Ijaz was more circumspect. “I will not comment on the Royal family, whether it’s Brunei or not — I’m not going to comment on that.”

Curiouser and curioser Ijat claims, Infinity is entering F1 “to bring our technological capabilities”, but wouldn’t be drawn on what this was adding, “I won’t go too much into that today because I want to keep some elements of surprise in terms of what we’re going to do to win the championship, but we have enormous technological capabilities that we can bring and we’re going to make Lotus the number one team for sponsorship within the next year.”

He said his younger brother Mujeeb will be “an important part of the story.” The press release yesterday referred to KERS technology and Ijaz adds, “I would say we will be integrally involved in the technology development side, as the engines change next year, as technology comes to the front.”

Indian GP organisers rubbish rumours of funding troubles

There have been reports in the past couple of days that the Indian GP is under threat due to funding. Jaypee Sports have issued a statement stating, “Some international news organisations are trying to spread rumours that JPSI may not host 2014 Indian GP. This is totally baseless and malicious.

Our agreement with Formula One Management is to hold F1 races at Buddh International Circuit (BIC) till 2015, and we are fully committed to do that. There is no reason for us to give up hosting F1 races.

In fact, JPSI is keen to get some more international car and bike races to BIC, besides F1 and the World Superbike Championship which will be held this year on November 17.

We are fully committed to promote motorsport in India in collaboration with local government and global and local motorsport organisations.”

Yet the premier of the regional government who was an advocate of the Sports City project has been ousted in elections, and it is believed public funding for the project is under threat.

The Buddh International Circuit is the centre piece for a development described by Jaypee marketed as follows.

“Jaypee Greens Sports city is to be India’s first Urban Integrated City, spread over 2000 Hectares and features India’s first Formula one circuit – Buddh International Circuit

Choose to reside in a one-of-its-kind city in India. The 2000 Hectare (ha)* Jaypee Greens Sports City comprises of perfectly crafted homes with breath-taking views of perennial lakes and canals. Social clubs, Motor Racing Track, Cricket Stadium and other international sports centers add to the splendor.

With all modern facilities, the city offers regular water supply, 24 hours electric power supply, centrally monitored 3-tier security system, medical & education facilities. It does not get any bigger than this”.

Much of this dream is as yet undeveloped and behind schedule and is certainly more of a village than a city.

Lewis angst continues

Following the Monaco GP and having watched his team mate win the race Lewis told reporters, “I just have to focus on myself and try and get my shit together.”

Following his third place in Canada, Lewis appeared downbeat yet he told the pen reporters, “What I’m projecting is not disappointment. I’ve just got stuff on my mind.”

Lewis has been criticised for his apparent obsession over a new dog and the XIX celebrity events he is being scheduled to attend, and his focus on being an F1 driver has been questioned.

Yesterday, Ron Dennis took a swipe at his former prodigy telling La Repubblica, “Some people lost sight of what the objective is,” he said. “When you lost sight of what you are doing, then you lost sight of what it takes to be a world champion.”

Having won just one WDC Lewis appears to be ruing missed opportunities as he told the Times, “Time is slipping away, It’s been five years since I won the World Championship. When I was in the lower categories I would win a championship every year or every other year.

There are a lot of drivers that haven’t won a World Championship, so I feel at least grateful that I have one, although one is less prestigious now because so many people have won a championship. Now the people who have two or three or four: [that’s what] makes you special.

I’m getting older and I don’t have forever in this sport. So I definitely start to think what I want people to remember me as: I just want to be known as a hard, out and out racer.

I got to F1 and nearly won in my first year, then I won in my second year. I’ve never had a car to really compete since then. The car makes such a big difference so you’re just wasting away your best years.”

Maybe Lewis needs to stand in front of a mirror and read the words he had painstakingly tattooed on his back. ‘Still I rise’.

See TJ13 article on the inspiration behind these words here.

TestGate UpDate #1

Good to see a busy courtroom. Welcome all. TJ13 will be providing updates here in the daily news throughout the day.

Arrivals

Brawn arrived this morning and declined to speak with the media. Some appear a little surprised Christian Horner is present, but then Red Bull did lead the protests.

FIA

The FIA have opened proceedings and suggested, ‘There is very little factual dispute about this case. We know when the test took place, where it took place and with what cars and drivers it took place.’ The FIA lawyer is Mark Howard QC, who has been described as having the ability to “destroy opposing counsel with little more than a look”.

Mark Howard, said that “there was some communication between Mercedes and the FIA, there was no outlining of when the test would happen or under what terms.’

So the lack of ratification of the test is still the FIA’s position. Howard concedes there was contact between Mercedes and Charlie Whiting, in which the team requested permission to take part in the test, took place in the form of a telephone call.

Whiting then took advice from the FIA’s legal department who expressed the opinion that their participation could be allowed IF all the other teams were copied in to provide their acquiescence and had an equal opportunity to test. The FIA position is the same as in Monaco – all teams were not offered and ‘equal opportunity’.

TJ13 Opinion: … Pirelli and Mercedes will surely argue it was impossible for all teams to attend such a test – it’s all going to be about whether ‘confirming the equal opportunity’ to the FIA’ was a pre-requisite for the waiver permission granted… 

Pirelli are indeed in the dock properly. The FIA stipulates that they are also bound by F1’s rules, in effect meaning that in that regard there is no way round the regulations for them either. It hadn’t been clear prior to today exactly why F1’s tyre supplier were being charged with given they are not a ‘competitor’ in the championship like Mercedes. Breach of Sporting Regulations is the charge against Pirelli too

Lauda ‘FIA offered a deal’

Niki Lauda, Mercedes’ Non-Executive Chairman, via the German press says that the FIA offered the team the chance to ‘cut a deal’ provided they pleaded guilty to the charges levied against them by the Tribunal. This hearing would have been cancelled and then some punishment would have been meted out.

Lauda says, Team Principal Ross Brawn and Toto Wolff said ‘no, we want this to go to trial, go to the tribunal and take our chances in the court’.

Logic???

FIA are refuting Mercedes argument that they learned nothing from the test. Clever arguement, ‘I’m afraid you can’t give that excuse because even if you didn’t learn anything, you’re learning something, because in a way there’s nothing you need to change on the car’. So even by not learning anything in a way you are learning something.

FIA about to wrap up their outline of the case for prosecution.

Testgate UpDate #2

Mercedes commence their defence. They strongly maintain it was a Pirelli test and it was Pirelli alone who set the parameters of the test. Mercedes acknowledged they did have access to telemetry during the test but that was ‘immaterial’ because the data was essential to the safe running of the car.

And here it is folks……. Mercedes claim that because the test wasn’t theirs, it was not ‘essential’ they received permission. However, because Ross Brawn showed an ‘abundance of caution, he thought he should check with Mr Whiting and the FIA’s legal department. They said yes, end of story.

Mercedes admit asking their drivers to run with ‘unmarked helmets’ was wrong. They argue if they are to be charged with article 151c, then so should Ferrari as their test because there is not a ‘substantial difference’ between their 2011 and 2013 cars. The FIA counter Ferrari didn’t break any test rules therefore cannot be charged under 151c.

Mercedes accuse Ferrari of testing other components for the 2013 car during the test. They claim their test was tyres alone.

Mercedes defence is that this wasn’t a test by an entrant and regulation 22, which refers to in-season testing, is not relevant because this wasn’t a test by a team. It was a test solely by a tyre manufacturer.

Article 22 states, Track testing shall be considered any track running time not part of an Event undertaken by a competitor entered in the Championship, using cars which conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year. The only exception is that each competitor is permitted up to eight promotional events, carried out using tyres provided specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier, to a maximum distance of 100kms per event.’

Brawn takes the stand.

TJ13 comment: Just thinking, all this fuss and high drama and $100,000’s in legal bills would have never happened had Nico not let something slip to Vettel in the GPDA meeting – or did it really ‘slip’ out? What we need to know is which FIA rules trump the other rules which are contradictory – then we’ll be done….

Brawn states, “Charlie Whiting is the reference point on all matters concerning the Sporting Regulation. We often don’t follow up such enquiries with Charlie in writing”.

The tribunal is told by Paul Harris of Mercedes that the team sought advice from the FIA, via Charlie Whiting, over the regulations governing the running of the 2013 car. Charlie then had an exchange with the in-house legal team at the FIA. The submission from Charlie Whiting to Sebastian Barnard, who’s the FIA’s legal advisor, was to the effect, ”in my view any such testing could not actually be undertaken by competitors, it would be argued that this was done by Pirelli”. He asked Bernard if this position is valid.

The response from Sebastian Barnard was again in effect, ‘yes we could take this position, it is not an undertaking from the ‘competitor’. In other words this sits outside of article 22’s definition of a competitor testing.

Advice appears to have been given by the FIA that this test could take place because it would be a Pirelli test governed by their commercial contract with F1 and it wouldn’t involve the competitor Mercedes. Therefore they would not be in breach of the regulations for competitors.

The FIA argued earlier the only way this exemption to the rules can be granted is from the FIA World Council or the Tribunal themselves.

Next up Pirelli – the Tribunal is already running behind schedule – judgements may not be today.

Testgate UpDate #3

TJ13 Opinion: This is beginning to look as though the remit of the tribunal may be the deciding factor on how this goes. If they can only make a black and white decision – ‘breach or no breach’ then Mercedes may be undone – whatever Pirelli have to say.

Charlie Whiting looks to be off the hook as he is a conduit of information rather than a provider of expert opinion.

Interesting re-reading my opinion given on the morning after the Monaco race in. “Pirelli & Mercedes development test leads to F1 Hysteria & FIA headless chicken impersonations” (Still that may be a bold assertion prior to hearing what Pirelli have to say).

Pirelli bluntly open their defence. “We do not come under the jurisdiction or authority of the FIA”. They cite the 2009 F1 case against former Renault boss Flavio Briatore as proof the FIA can’t take action against third parties/non-licence holders.

Pirelli are not covered either by the recently introduced FIA  ‘senior team personnel’ license holder arrangements.

Dominque Dumas, Pirelli’s lawyer has a swagger in his demeanour and also points out that there are no regulations in Pirelli’s 1000km test agreement with the FIA about what car can be used for its permitted tests.

TJ13 comment: And of course Pirelli are not governed by the sporting regulations

UPDATE: Sri Lanka have slumped to 167-7 in the 48th over of their champions trophy semi final against India

Okay we’ve had a lot of legal wranglings – akin to the importance of what it is to know anything – and can anything really be known by humanity at all .. or something like that…

Ross Brawn says whilst knowledge was indeed gained, this has not given them competitive advantage.

The FIA have accused Pirelli of submissions that are “confused and have missed the point”. They say their understanding is that Pirelli’s contract is subject to the Sporting Regulations [according to the FIA – no evidence provided] and they can’t be ignored, especially if they are involved with a current team.

The FIA argue – It is one thing for Pirelli to test tyres, but quite another to involve an entrant – and if they do that, it is effectively an in-season test, which is banned.

The FIA thank Ross Brawn for his “frank and truthful” testimony and in the same breath suggest that it has “given the game away”.

Mercedes replied they thought the FIA were living in “An Alice in wonderland world” and had no clue how the day to day matters of Formula One was transacted.

Edwin Glasgow QC closes the tribunal, and confirmed there will be no verdict before tomorrow.

The FIA representative would like to discuss what exactly tomorrow really means (that was a joke 🙂 ).

Comments after the event

Ferrari sent a legal team, but no one else, yet Christian Horner was present from Red Bull though he took no part in the proceedings.

When asked was he persuaded by Mercedes arguments, Horner replied, “Not really but it’s down to the tribunal now.”

It was suggested to him the FIA had contributed to the problem and didn’t come out of this particularly well and Horner said, “There’s perhaps a degree of ambiguity, but the rules are very clear”.

Preliminary Conclusions

The remit of this tribunal appears to be narrow, that said this is the inaugural sitting and the independent nature of the judges may give them the belief that they can make an all encompassing ruling.

If this were the case, there is no doubt Sebastian Bernard and Charlie Whiting – as officers of the FIA – have given Mercedes the green light to take part in a legal Pirelli test with a 2013 car.

Yet, the FIA are not in the dock, and as such whether the tribunal can rule officers of the organisation have mislead a competitor which then lead to a breach of article 22, I believe to be outside their remit.

Even so, Pirelli have argued their testing arrangements are agreed with the FIA and this agreement does indeed allow them to run a 2013 car in these tests. However, the conundrum is that no team can supply them with such a car under article 22.

So, is the Pirelli contract outside the jurisdiction of the FIA?, Well Pirelli themselves asked the FIA for clarification and as the note posted on a wall in Monaco revealed, the governing body agreed to a 2013 car being used in their test with the caveat that all teams be given an “equal opportunity”. No mention was made today of the second condition in that note that the FIA be informed this offer to all the teams had been enacted.

So Pirelli look to be in the clear. Further, the opinion expressed by Sebastian Bernard and Charlie Whiting then is valid.

If this line of reasoning holds sway ie “it is a Pirelli test – not subject to article 22”, then Mercedes should be in the clear.

However, Ross Brawn conceded it was wrong to have Lewis and Nico drive in unmarked helmets and it is to this which the FIA counsel were referring when they accused him of “giving the game away”.

What is clear, if the ruling goes against Mercedes – setting aside appeals etc for now – the many informal resolutions of sporting regulation issues such as holes in the floor and engine mappings will no longer be dealt with by way of Charlie and Sebastian’s opinion.

We will see a return to regular formal protests of the nature Formula 1 used to suffer in yesteryear.

The teams agreed to refrain from these protests a number of years ago and to use the more informal channels now available. This consensus approach will die an instant death.

At the time of the formal protest from Red Bull I commented that this was a bold step, because they could have sought ‘clarification’ without making a formal protest and that prior to the race. Yet they chose to set the wheels in motion that have lead to today’s hearing.

It is ironic that the team under scrutiny more than any other team in recent years for design regulation informal queries has been Red Bull. However none of these matters have resulted in formal hearings such as today.

Will it be the case that Newey will face a barrage of formal protests every time there are strange tyre hopping marks seen from the RB9/10, holes in the floor, switches that appear to have no apparent use or adjustment devices capable of being operated during pit stops.

Whatever happens, things in F1 will change from hereon. If Mercedes are cleared, testing will become almost unfettered. Should Mercedes lose, a raft of formal arrangements will be required for matters currently negotiated informally and under the ‘gentleman’s agreement’.

Whatever happens, once again the FIA look like the shambles of the bloated organisation they really are; characterised by bureaucratic pomposity and incompetence and incapable of serving the purpose for which they exist.

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82 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 20th June 2013

  1. I can certainly forgive Lewis his navel-gazing, or whatever it is. One certainly would’ve expected him to win more than 1 WDC by now. But he’s still awesome.

    As for Indian F1 … I don’t wish anyone anything but success (or I’d just not wish ’em anything rather than to wish ’em failure), but it is somewhat disappointing to see F1 migrate away from traditional European venues to cookie-cutter Tilke-tracks in emerging markets w/ no tradition of motorsport (at least that’s how it seems in the case of India and Korea, for example).

    I’ve been to Interlagos, and I’ve been to Korea, and there’s no comparison! For as new and sanitary as is Korea (and the Indian circuit?), there’s no comparing the sense of epic history, passion, tradition and F1 community one gets in Brazil.

    Maybe these emerging-market tracks can succeed in F1 over time. Who knows…

  2. Before taking swipes at Lewis, if that is what Ron was doing, Ron Dennis should look at his and McLaren’s failures.

    Question to ask Ron: Do you remember Australia “liegate” and why you resigned?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/apr/16/ron-dennis-mclaren-martin-whitmarsh-formula-one-lewis-hamilton

    Lewis would have won the first title in his first year in F1, except for the mistake Ron made in keeping Lewis out too long in China. Going for a win when just a few points was all that was tactically required. Big big fail, Ron.

    Lewis could have won more races and maybe the championship in his 3rd and 4th years too, except for the tactical and technical errors made by McLaren.

    • Spot on! The only year Lewis holds the blame for below par performances is 2011. If you count in 2007 and 2012 Lewis should have been a 3 x WDC by now.

  3. Korea and India shouldn’t be on the F1 calendar, not because the venues are not good enough (in India’s case though it is nowhere near good), but precisely because the locals are not that invested in F1. If we actually promoted their drivers and a few of them actually made it successfully at the very top level, by winning championships, then there would be sense of hosting GPs there.

    Regarding Hamilton, it’s quite clear that his last 3-4 years were wasted at McLaren. It’s all so easy for Ron Dennis to take a swipe at Hamilton that he lost focus but McLaren have developed a long-standing history of under-achieving any way they can. I’m thinking especially about 2003, 2005 and 2007, when Raikkönen and Hamilton/Alonso could have won the title those years but somehow failed because their cars weren’t up to the task or were simply illegal.

    After 2008, I think 2012 was probably the very best chance Lewis had as his form was good, he was developing a nice run of poles and victories in the middle of the season to reel in on Alonso, only for his car to fail him in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, where he was in a winning position. Not to mention the horrid pit-stops and under-fueling in quali. Putting it all on the driver is pretty unfair. But this is all in the past now, one could recreate the Universe with ifs and buts.

    I won’t condone Hamilton’s regular partying and tweeting though, I would say that if he was dead serious about nailing more championships than he would get rid of all these silly distractions himself, I do think that he needs to have his father back as manager rather than have XIX because all they’re interested in is to make him a lucracious brand rather than an all-time F1 great.

    For 2013, it was expected that Hamilton wouldn’t come anywhere near race wins or even podiums, but now that Mercedes has emerged with a car that is genuinely quick (though not race-winning quick), Hamilton himself expects to get himself on the top spot and having seen Rosberg do it, he is beating himself hard and not having done it yet, even though he has been fairly consistent so far in terms of his finishing positions.

  4. Just read this point made at the Tribunal (confirms what I said in a comment on an earlier story here about I thought would happen):

    “….. The FIA says that despite the Charlie Whiting being contacted ahead of the test, his approval is “only the opinion of someone within the FIA; Mr Whiting is not in any position to provide a binding statement with respect to the rules”. …. “

  5. Your Honour,
    If Mark Howard QC, who has been described as having the ability to “destroy opposing counsel with little more than a look”, has to cross examine Brawn and Toto Wolff, who by all accounts can communicate entire sentences with ‘just a glance’, will the transcript for the Tribunal be done in a courtroom sketch style..?

  6. So Merc is throwing Pirelli under the bus and they will in turn throw Merc under the bus. Will the FIA throw everyone under the bus? I can’t imagine anything less will please Horner/Marko/Montezemelo and we will hear about it for weeks afterwards. I have a feeling that if the penalties are severe the FIA may shoot itself in both feet and they lose a team and a supplier in one fell swoop.

  7. Pirelli will claim they asked for a car ‘representative’ of the tyre issues and blame Merc for the selection of the 2013 model rather than 2011 as Ferrari did.
    I cannot possibly imagine FIA punishing Pirelli. They need them more than Pirelli need FIA.
    Merc will then get a small fine and ‘that’s all folks!’

  8. Three Letters ICA. There is no way this is the end of the road, regardless of the decision today. IT has no brief to interpret, only punish. The real conflict is between Pirelli’s contract and the Sporting Regs, and that more properly belongs to the ICA.

    I’m truly surprised that Mercedes doesn’t have a written opinion to base this on. Looking through the regs last night made clear Merc need to prove they weren’t present as a competitor, which is never defined clearly anywhere I could find. Surprising, given how many lawyers appear to be involved in the FIA. What was clear in the language is that the drivers were discussed apart from competitors, which should make their case easier to make. If I was Merc I would be beating the drum that the data flow and personnel present indicated that though there was equipment from 2013, Mercedes as a “competitor” was not present.

    Pirelli of course will argue that since they are not a competitor, and the regs only apply to competitors, plus they have a contract authorizing this testing, they shouldn’t be here at all.

    In order to nail Pirelli (at last, we know the real purpose of this and its name is Michelin) the FIA must demonstrate that Mercedes was present as a competitor, then Pirelli absolutely would be under the FIA’s jurisdiction.

    Pass the popcorn, the show’s just beginning.

    • How can Michelin enter the sport next year? It’s too late to start preparing tyres now. And Pirelli also supply WRC. Piss them off and they walk out of there too. Then you’ll have to look for another supplier for WRC too.

      • Not being Michelin I couldn’t answer for sure (but we don’t know exactly what they have been up to and they have been a supplier before), but you are certainly correct Pirelli might decide to leave both sports. Still, the offer of a deal to Merc makes it seem to me this is ver much a power play by Todt, who wanted Michelin and lost out to Bernie. Pirelli have a 2013 contract and I would expect them to fulfill it regardless. Think Todt is playing for 2014 and getting rid of Whiting, as again the deal offered Merc clearly (to me) indicates he Todt doesn’t want them angry.

  9. Re Ferrari if they tested 2013 parts they would not be in the clear because the wording of the reg is substantially different to current cars. The mention of the car from the previous year is in addition to. Ferrari technically need a ruling that the 2011 car is substantially different to 2013 car. Given static regs, not necessarily a slam dunk. Though I’m pretty sure the FIA wouldn’t bring them up, LOL.

  10. “Ferrari technically need a ruling that the 2011 car is substantially different to 2013 car. ”

    2011 pushrod suspension. 2012 – 2013 pullrod suspension. Is that enough for you.

    • Merc are not clever bringing up Ferrari, it’s as if they say “we’re guilty, but so are they”.
      Also the fact that some shareholders have come out and said that Merc will pull out if the hearing doesn’t go well, it doesn’t do them any favours either. They should have let these rumours slip through to FIA quietly rather than doing it publicly.

      • At the moment we are seeing a powerplay, call it parading your horses before a race and telling everyone yours is bigger and better.

        When it comes to the race though … a different matter. I agree though, some things are better said in the quiet of a room than using the press.

        This just points more to the powerplay and the fact that some parties believe they are right and will win… therefore dishing dirt on the others 🙂

    • Not down to me, down to FIA. And IF they had 2013 parts on the car very disputable. Most of this is down to shoddy writing in the first place by the FIA and ill defined practices and procedures, of which there is apparently a long history. xD

      • Similar downforce levels, same engine, 2013 parts oops, see how easy it is. Particularly if they walked away with data. The fact is the real problem is that none of the FIA’s terms are defined. And it IS clear that the car needs to be substantially different. But what is substantial? 50% of the pieces or more? Nothing manufactured after 2 years ago? The regulations never say. Likewise, they never tell us what a competitor is.

        Most proper legal documents start off with a definition, “for the purposes of testing a competitor shall be considered any of the following”. “For the purposes of testing substantially shall be defined as having” and so on. Even I know this and my only actual exposure to the legal profession was proof reading some legal documents 20 plus years ago and watching telly.

        The real villain here is the unbelievably shoddy job the FIA have done writing these rules. Which, given the fact that they were primarily written by lawyers who are supposed to be fairly sharp, leads one to the inescapable conclusion that they are either hopelessly incompetent at their actual jobs and that’s why they wound up here, or they wrote them that way on purpose so they could manipulate situations like these to their advantage. Your choice.

        In fact, I would bet dollars to donuts that the advantage gained by RB last year using their trick body work and engine maps far outweighed anything gained by Mercedes based on today’s testimony and for that matter if Ferrari were indeed using 2013 parts per Mercedes accusations, they would have gained as much if not more than Mercedes as well.

  11. Had this test and the controversy occurred last year the British press would not have bothered much with it. This year it’s a big deal to the Brits, I wonder why.

    • I am not so sure Cav – the world press is all over this like a rash. This stuff is the stuff that sells newspapers.

      Tomorrow you will have every newspaper (and their journalists) coming out with “Exclusive Interview with Ross Brawn/Niki Lauda/Toto Wolf/Paul Hembery/Charlie Whiting/Bernie Ecclestone (delete as applicable)” and it will all be the same story written differently.

      I must say, I am enjoying this. For me this is a master course in politics and powerplay battles. I am fascinated! 🙂

      • And then they go and make a movie about Hunt and Lauda (although of course I’ll watch it)!
        This would be a blockbuster! You wouldn’t have to be an F1 fun to watch this!

      • Exactly, it is ALL politics, no matter what people want to think. This is better than most soap dramas you’ll find on TV !

          • I’ll second that motion your honor. Though they do give a good run for their money, lol.

          • LOL

            No no :), but seriously, I’ve had my eyes glued to my screen since this morning. Though a disqualification for Mercedes could still happen, I can’t help but feel drawn to this. The political power-play is just too good to miss.

    • “…. This year it’s a big deal to the Brits, I wonder why.
      cavallinorampantef1 said this on June 20, 2013 at 13:10 … ”

      Are you saying the Italians and/or Germans are not making it a big deal?

      Whatever.

      F1 is a big deal to the Brits, and will be always.

      You only have to look at where the majority of the teams are based, and who the majority of personnel are.

      F1 is a British sport in which the italians and Germans like to take part.

      • “F1 is a British sport in which the italians and Germans like to take part.”

        What utter tripe. I could use many other words, like arrogance, conceit and xenophobia, but I think “tripe” sums it up best.

        Look back at the history of Formula One and before that Grand Prix racing. You will find the red of Italy dating back over 100 years and the white, then silver, of the Germans dates back to a similar point in history.

        Please will you give me any information that qualifies top level Grand Prix racing as a British sport?

  12. Mercedes pointing the finger towards Ferrari is basically a similar style of jab that the FIA threw at Mercedes, saying that “Not learning anything is learning something”. That’s true in law terms, it’s completely crazy but that’s how law works and why lawyers get ridiculous amounts of money.

    This is going to be a hell of show from the lawyers, Pirelli’s part is going to be the most interesting one. Mercedes have now shown written stuff going on between them and the FIA, where the FIA haven’t explicitly said that they couldn’t do the test, they have some explaining to do.

    This could go on and on for years, if not decades, and there would be no winner…

    • Well, we all know that Pirelli and Merc are in the wrong here irrespective of the outcome, forget the lawyers’ wordsmithing and finding loopholes in a couple of sentences in the regulation.
      Unfortunately, that’s how regulations work, or rather that’s how people try to exploit them whether it’s about the chassis, the engine, the aerodynamics, F1 on the whole, etc.

      • As i understand it,

        “Pirelli has been summoned as the test may have been “prejudicial to the competition” but that it isn’t accused of breaching its contract”.

        whereas

        “Mercedes is being accused of breaching article 151c of the FIA’s International Sporting Code, which states:

        Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally [shall be deemed a breach of the rules].”

        Ferrari are not accused of anything, and therefore telling the court that Ferrari should also be in the dock is of no consequence in this case. The court can only rule on the charges brought by the FIA. Even if Ferrari had done something illegal, until they are charged and brought to the court, it is no use saying in your defence “but somebody else did it too”.

        • That’s exactly why I think Pirelli will walk unscathed and Merc with a small fine.

          FIA 1: Oohh, we messed up, we can’t blame ourselves. Let’s punish them.
          FIA 2: We can’t punish Pirelli, they’ll walk out of F1 and even WRC.
          FIA 1: But we have to punish someone otherwise this Tribunal we created will be useless!
          FIA 2: Punish Merc? They’ll walk!
          FIA 1: Just slap their wrist gently and give them preferential treatment for the next 2 years.
          FIA 2: mmm, OK

      • Going to politely disagree here. Merc went fairly far to establish the grounds for this, and other teams had been given this offer. Certainly farther (as you point out) than many teams go when putting dodgy bits on the cars, often giving those teams far more advantage than Merc got in letting Pirelli use its equipment. The real villain in all this is the FIA, as it is their signature on the Pirelli contract, and their poorly written regulations that permitted this situation to develop.

        Whether or not you think it fair (and I can recall plenty of sports moments where technical advantage of the rules was taken) at the end of the day FIA legal could have said “nope, no 2013 equipment period” and then we’d have had nothing to talk about until Silverstone. For that matter, again, given all the lawyers, you’d think the regs would read no cars from the current previous or next year allowed to run outside of events. That way, no problem. You could also exclude drivers participating in this or next years event (might explain Schumi’s presence, had Merc or Pirelli decided drivers=competitors).

        Final point, I’m not commenting on the fairness of what they did, only on the ultimate responsibility, which I feel is down to the FIA.

        • On your last point I definitely agree. But a regulator will enver admit they’re in the wrong. Someone else will have to be blamed.

        • Agreed. Also, the FIA argument that “even if you learned nothing, you learned something; that you don’t have to change the car” is a bit of a silly statement. If Pirelli were mainly testing 2014 tyres (which I believe they have said they were) THAT car is going to have an entirely different power deliver to the 2013 car used in the test so OF COURSE they have to change the car!

          • 2014 car will also be “substantially different” to 2013 car making it acceptable under current regs

          • Ooops, begging your pardon m’lord, got a bit carried away.

          • In law terms, it makes sense to say that the fact that you learnt nothing actually means you learnt something, since you learnt that you didn’t learn anything. It’s totally crazy but lawyers can say some ridiculous outrageous things and win cases like that.

  13. Opening statement by Pirelli:

    “we do not come under the jurisdiction or authority of the FIA”

    AY CARAMBA! Where’s the armours? Cover up!

    • Opening statement by Pirelli:

      “we do not come under the jurisdiction or authority of the FIA”

      Why bother to attend even? Pirelli should have shown two fingers to the FIA weeks ago. Now, they can show the two fingers again with a victory sign, if their interpretation of Jurisdiction Rules is correct..

      • Maybe they attended to back Merc and show FIA that they can be ousted and be blamed as easily as Todt would’ve like to. And I’m pretty sure Bernie would want Pirelli to show FIA who’s holds the trump cards here.

        • He may not have gotten the message, I hear their communications can be a bit dodgy. xD

  14. “We do not come under the jurisdiction or authority of the FIA”

    BAM ! Eat this, Jean Todt ! lol

    • The gloves have come off.

      BTW ultimately the Swiss Courts that have jurisdiction over this matter, if it goes to extra innings (if someone cares to properly translate the idiom for non-colonials, go for it) and I suspect it will.

  15. I wonder, given that FIA have responsibility for what has happened, irrespective of the outcome, couldn’t Pirelli and Merc take FIA to an external court?

    • That could have tidal-wave effects on the sport… Has that ever happened in F1 history ?

      • If Pirelli are penalised I can guarantee you that they will sue their ‘backsides’ off!

  16. Arghhh, have to go to work now. One last thing, just a reminder that bringing this case is entirely down to JT, it’s very clear in the regs that the President of the FIA is acting as prosecution here, and as such this entire fiasco being settled in the open is down to his choice. He could just as easily have settled the regs, made Merc and Pirelli do some community service and called it a day, without involving the IT.

    This is definitely better for ratings though.

  17. An appeal winds up in ICA, also an FIA court, but in regs ultimately it’s the Swiss courts that will have jurisdiction if ICA fails to settle matter satisfactorily. Hint, they probably will, as they have power to ‘interpret’ regs that IT does not.

  18. Ross Brawn “given the game away”.

    What in the world is that supposed to mean???

    • He admitted that Mercedes “did gain some form of knowledge”, so I suppose that means the FIA thinks they can correlate this to gaining an *advantage* in unfair manner, to allow their article 151c to enter the fray with all the ridiculous penalties and so forth.

      How knowledge will exactly correlate to advantage though, that’s something one can meditate on for a lifetime and still not find a suitable answer. I think that’s probably the line the FIA are trying to play.

        • …and exclusion from WCC? Well, that won’t win him the WCC like it did in 2007, it’s RBR they need to fine 😉

      • its nonesense. The FIA should be in the dock too – answering some pretty tough questions. eg… Why do you invest vast sums of money flying Le Presidente around the world telling people to wear seatbelts, when the F1 regulations look like a bowl of spaghetti?

  19. Judge, as an independent honourable member of the judiciary system, what is your verdict?

  20. Clearly Mercedes broke the rules and need to be punished. I suggest that for the rest of the races this season Mercedes must drop, on a alternating basis, one of their drivers and replace that driver with Susie Wolff. Rosberg could be dropped for the next GP. Another British driver might help the dismal ticket sales for next weeks British GP.

  21. Mercedes will be in the clear, as will Pirelli. MGP will probably be given some sort of fine for using current drivers, although I don’t know what rules were broken for that, except a poor attempt to be sneaky!

  22. What seems clear to me, especially from the primary conclusions, above, is that Merc checked on a rule interpretation is exactly the same way that every team does and has done for some years – and they were given the go-ahead by the FIA (Charlie & FIA lawyer) in the same way that all teams have been on other sporting queries. Based on that, I think that they have a reasonable argument that they did nothing wrong.

    While the FIA can argue that official sanction was not given (true, it was only Charlie), their argument that only the World Council can change the testing rules is irrelevant – the answer that Merc were given was that they were allowed to do the test due to an interpretation of the EXISTING rules – thus, no rule needed to be changed.

    I think I’d argue that Merc either were allowed to test (if the rule interpretation is, in fact, ok) and are therefore not guilty; or that they are guilty but, seeing as they followed “normal practice” in checking and (they thought) getting approval, that they were at worst “inadvertently” guilty. If the latter, then a minor penalty only should be given – and I think that their suggestion of being excluded from the young driver test sounds about right.

    But then I’m not on the FIA tribunal so F*** knows what they will actually determine. 😉

  23. “There’s perhaps a degree of ambiguity but the rules are pretty clear.”

    Yep, there’s clear ambiguity, therefore no clarity. Typical of Hörner these days but you’d expect any opposition team manager to do that.

    I think it’s down to how the IT will feel about this, Mercedes have basically proved that the FIA is a walking mess as they came out themselves saying “Don’t trust our race director and legal department on any matter”… So why are they on your payroll then ? For decoration ? Or maybe it’s that thing on the shoulder which is supposed to serve as a decoration if you want to work at the FIA.

    The part I didn’t get is why they (the FIA) think that their individual contracts with tyre suppliers are subject to sporting regulations. I thought sporting regulations applied strictly to entrants of a competition ? Pirelli aren’t that… Or is it the IT which is supposed to determine this as well ?

    • It appeared to be a reposte of bluster – there was no substantiation of their assertion. Plus Pirelli are not going to kick off their defence with such a bold statement without being sure of their ground

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