Daily #F1 News and comment: Friday 21st June 2013

::This page will be updated throughout the day GMT 00:10 09:32 09:55 11:43 12:41 13:05

Further Reflections on the International Tribunal Hearing

TJ13 gave a preliminary conclusion last night on the key points of argument presented to the tribunal in the Daily F1 News and Comment if you missed it. The biggest potential consequence is that the day to day running of F1 may well now fundamentally change forever (click here).

The FIA were ferocious today in their pursuit of Mercedes over the alleged breach of article 151c. This clause prohibits “any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition to the interests of motorsport generally”. This is the clause that cost Honda a 3 race ban and McLaren a $100m fine.

This persistent line of attack over ‘bringing the sport into disrepute’ appeared to greatly surprise a number of those attending the tribunal when it was believed the focus of the attention would be on breaches of article 22. “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 question has to be asked, why were the FIA so determined to press for a big penalty for Mercedes. It is common knowledge that Mercedes and Ecclestone are not comfortable bedfellows, and that Todt and Ecclestone have had bitter disputes over the amount FOM pay to the FIA. Yet the principle “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” was clearly not in play in Paris.

Interestingly we learned that the FIA disciplinary committee had offered Mercedes a ‘deal’ – the terms of which we do not know – should they have pleaded guilty to article 22. Mercedes declined the offer and it may be that this refusal was the reason the FIA attempted to throw the book at them – nailing them under the far bigger charge of 151c.

Christian Horner attended the Tribunal, Ferrari just sent a team of lawyers and Dominicali was conspicuous by his absence back in Maranello. Horner appeared particularly subdued when interviewed. The contrast was stark in comparison to other occasions when he has spoken on Mercedes alleged crime.

When asked whether Mercedes should receive a sporting penalty if guilty, he replied “That’s down for the tribunal to decide, it’s not for us to comment on what the penalty should be”. This is a clear shift in rhetoric from the demands for a sporting penalty both he and Helmut Marko have demanded on numerous occasions.

Further, when asked whether he now felt Mercedes had been mislead by the FIA, Horner responded, “I think there’s perhaps a degree of ambiguity” then added, “but the rules are very clear and the teams know what the rules are”.

Maybe hearing the detail of how opinion was sought and given on the regulations, Horner is coming to the realisation he pressed his thermonuclear red button in haste by making a formal protest before the race in Monaco.

This option has been available to other teams on a number of occasions in recent years when they wished to question whether Red Bull were in breach of regulations relating to the legitimacy of their car.

Of course under the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ other teams chose to make ‘informal’ requests for clarification and then allowed Charlie Whiting to resolve the matter. It must be remembered some of those enquires led to a Red Bull having FIA tape covering what were obviously illegal holes. No tribunal was enforced.

Horner could be concerned his warhead launch will see many more coming in his and Red Bull’s direction over the coming days.

Yet most of the focus from the media has been on Mercedes. What of Pirelli? Why were they charged and what with?

We know Pirelli have a contract that allows them to test 1000km with any of the teams during the season, and did so last year and this with Ferrari.

Yet they are charged with a breach of the sporting regulations, though the FIA note posted on a wall in Monaco stated clearly they could perform one of these tests with a 2013 car subject to certain informally communicated and additional criteria to those stated within the contract.

Pirelli opened with a startling defence which shocked a number of those present. Their QC began by stating, “Pirelli do not come under the jurisdiction or authority of the FIA”.

The FIA counsel later refuted this, but cited no supporting articles or clauses. 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”. You would then think this legal beast would have a little more in his arsenal than merely accusing Pirelli of making submissions which were, “confused and have missed the point.”

This charge appears to be frivolous and TJ13 has learned Pirelli are serious about suing the FIA should they be found guilty or are hit with a heavy penalty.

The FIA must surely realise that should Pirelli bring a $100m lawsuit against them, any hope they have of awarding the 2014 contract to anyone else will be long gone. This may explain the kid gloves approach to the prosecuting of the Italian tyre manufacturer in the Place de Concorde yesterday.

Surely the judgement will involve some rapping of the knuckles, because it appears anything other than this will cause seismic ructions emanating from Germany or Italy which will fundamentally damage Formula One.

There may be those wondering what course of action is open to those wishing to prosecute the Sport’s governing body for incompetence and being in breach of their fiduciary duty to run F1 in a proper manner.

Mercedes divisions emerge

A rather startling story is emerging from Germany suggesting there have been fundamental disagreements between Brawn, Lauda and Wolff over how they should handle the charges brought by the FIA as a result of Red Bull’s protests.

Lauda said before the tribunal he knew nothing of the test until ‘the wheels were turning’ and now he reveals there is a split in the senior management in Brackley.

Niki is now claiming he never wanted matters to get as far as the International Tribunal. He tells Bilde, “I tried the whole weekend in Montreal to avoid the process. Red Bull lodged the protest against us with Ferrari, agreed an out-of-court deal with Bernie Ecclestone and to make it happen it needed a letter from Mercedes to FIA boss [Jean] Todt. But our bosses Toto Wolff and Ross Brawn refused. Now they have to live with it.”

That somebody may disagree with Lauda is no surprise to anyone who realises that night follows day. However when Brawn – unprompted – in Canada informed the press it was his call alone to go testing and almost demanded to be held responsibility for the outcome – TJ13’s eyebrow was raised in an instant.

To stay with the analogy of the Alice in Wonderland world Mercedes accused the FIA of inhabiting – it is even more fantastic that the double act of the new Mercedes shareholders…Tweedledum and Tweedledee… have parted company and Wolff is aligning himself with Brawn.

It’s as though regardless of the outcome at the International Tribunal, Brawn knows something big is afoot. It couldn’t be that he is thinking of re-investing his millions Mercedes paid him for Brawn GP to acquire a significant stake once again in the Brackley based team.

Maybe we should have 3 week breaks between races more often.

Testgate Verdict #1

The minions who oil the wheels of bureaucracy are informing us we will hear the verdict sometime between 10:30-11:00pm GMT (Yeah right in time, on time???). Watch this space.

3 headed monster

Much of the chaos and disorganisation in F1 is becuase of what TJ13 describes as the ‘3 headed monster’. We have the FIA, Mr. E/FOM and the teams all who need to be contractually bound to each other to ensure the smooth running of the sport….. (excuse me I had to pick myself up from the floor – laughing too hard).

That’s the theory anyway, most of the problems occur when one party refuses to play ball. If there were just 2 parties, the opportunity for 1 to hold the other to ransom is diminished.

However, even then matters would not be so simple, because each of the heads can and does often go to war with itself. Yesterday we saw the FIA claim Whiting has no say in matters regarding the sporting regulations – when clearly in practice he IS Mr. sporting regulations. Teams fail to band together regularly against Mr. E and are divided over self-interest.

So, a new day and another head is battling the others. Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he and FOM have a long-term contract in place with Pirelli for 2014 and beyond. The problem as we suspected is that, “Pirelli haven’t got an agreement with the FIA (for 2014),” Ecclestone tells Sylt.

TJ13 reported 2 weeks ago that Pirelli have been lobbying the FIA hard to change their stance over in season testing, and Todt et al have refused – not wishing to be seen to raise the costs to F1 teams. This has taken the sport to the brink, and as yet we may see ‘Flintstone-esque’ rocks bolted onto the wheel rims of the new turbo era vehicles.

Michelin could yet step in, but they would have to create bullet proof tyres which would last for ever. The reason for this is the fine tuning required to deliver tyres with a targeted and specific degradation for the new turbo era has run out. Yet Bernie never reveals his hand unless he feels he should.

Ecclestone has revealed this to the world today because he is sending a message to the FIA ahead of the IT verdict. F1 now knows that the 2014 tyre deal is done and so do the F1 fans… ‘it’s you boys in France who are dilly-dallying’.

If yesterday failed to remind us that the FIA is a shambles, then Bernie is making sure we remember today and heaping ignominy on the Place de Concorde.

It’s up to Webber

TJ13 reported 6 days ago that the ‘Kimi to Red Bull’ rumour had run it’s course and that Mark Webber was to be offered a contract for 2014. The trigger for this appeared to be the surprise timing of Vettel’s decision to renew his contract which came hot on the heels of the strong indication from Dominicali that Massa would be in a Maranello red machine in 2014.

A source close to Red Bull confirmed to TJ13 that Webber would indeed be offered a contract. It was around this time last year when he signed for a further 12 months with the Milton Keynes team.

Webber has been speaking to Australia’s Sky Radio and claimed of his future, “The ball is pretty firmly in my court, which is nice. I have to of course continue to keep driving well, otherwise that ball will go out of your court and other people will roll into that seat because they’ll probably be more attractive to a team like Red Bull.”

Webber has always dealt direct with Red Bull supremo Dietrich Mateschitz – not Marko – on matters relating to his contract and he confirmed that relationship remains “very good”. He adds, “I’ll continue to be in touch with him on where my thinking is at, where my energy levels are, and where my motivation is for still operating at this level.”

Interestingly, from Webber’s perspective he is in no hurry to sign a contract saying, “I still need to have a bit more time, and we can leave it reasonably late I think.”

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TestGate: The Verdict

(This section will be continually updated live as the verdict comes through)

Ross Brawn fears the worst – a 2 month sentence of community service to be served working for the FIA 🙂 Some humour while we wait…

Apparently there was gridlock outside the Red Bull factory in Milton Keynes this morning as a convoy of Royal Mail trucks delivered the days post. Mercedes have apparently formally protested all 10,000 components of the RB9.

Whatever happens Pirelli and Mercedes both have the right along with the FIA appeal the verdict and take the matter to the International Court of Appeal. Therefore even were Mercedes to receive a race ban they would race at Silverstone under appeal until the appeal is heard.

FINALLY…. Here it is.

Pirelli reprimanded. Mercedes reprimanded and banned from young driver test. NO FINES – NO POINTS DEDUCTIONS

So the International Tribunal has clearly upheld both Pirelli and Mercedes claims that they acted in good faith. The FIA assertions that the caution which Brawn took by following the normative protocols and checking with Charlie Whiting must have been deemed acceptable. Hence Mercedes accusations that the FIA do not understand how F1 works and live in ‘An Alice in Wonderland world’ are given some credence.

The tribunal states it made consideration for “bona fide, but misconceived ‘qualified approval’ which was given on behalf of the FIA”. It rules Mercedes and Pirelli were in breach of article 22 but states this would not have taken place had, “qualified approval had not been expressed by the representatives of the FIA.”

The tribunal criticises the Ferrari tests in 2012 and 2013 as ‘equally unsatisfactory’ and de facto upholds Mercedes assertions that if they were guilty under 151c then Ferrari should be too, found sympathy with the judges.

Amusingly the tribunal notes that knowledge may have been gained by Mercedes and the was a ‘material advantage’. However, it cannot ascertain what that would be other than knowledge “by way of confirmation of what had not gone wrong”.

Pirelli appear to have been found guilty of failing to communicate to the FIA that all the teams had been offered similar testing opportunities. Hembery has maintained all along, each team received the same opportunity and notification in March 2012. Ferrari and Mercedes took advantage of this, the others did not.

Mercedes and Pirelli are ordered to “pay one third of the costs of the investigation and procedure – excluding FIA’s own legal costs”. The FIA are ordered to “pay one third of the costs of the investigation and procedure – and all of its own legal costs”.

In verdicts where there is no clear winner, cost orders are an interesting indication as to what the Judge actually thinks. The FIA have been gently reprimanded here because they act as the  ‘prosecuting party’, yet they must pay their own costs. It could be more usual in a ‘guilty verdict’ following a ‘not guilty plea’ for the defendants to bear the costs (in part or in full) of the proceedings which would include costs for the prosecution.

TJ13 wrote on evening after the Monaco GP this was a storm in a tea-cup in “Pirelli & Mercedes development test leads to F1 Hysteria & FIA headless chicken impersonations”. I’m no soothsayer, just been around F1 a long time.

This is a sensible result for Formula 1 regardless of partisan views. The last thing we need is a return to the times where the business of the day cannot be managed informally via very experienced members and officers of the FIA.

Here is the tribunal’s decision in full.

(1) 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.
(2) Neither Pirelli nor Mercedes acted in bad faith at any material time.
(3) 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 .
(4) The actions taken on behalf of FIA by Charlie Whiting (having taken advice from the legal department of FIA) were taken in good faith and with the intention of assisting the parties and consistent with sporting fairness.

Notwithstanding the above findings:
(i) by running its car(s) in the course of the testing, Mercedes acted in breach of Article 22.4 h) SR;
(ii) insofar as FIA expressed its qualified approval for the testing to be carried out, that approval could not, and did not, vary the express prohibition stipulated by Article 22 SR and neither Mercedes nor Pirelli took adequate steps to ensure that the qualification was satisfied. In this regard the Tribunal takes particular note of the fact that it was, very properly, not submitted on behalf of Pirelli, nor was there any evidence that, the assurance which it was not disputed Mr Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director, had given to Charlie Whiting (as set out in paragraph 5 above) had in fact been acted on at any material time;
(iii) the testing would, however, not have been carried out by either Mercedes or Pirelli if that qualified approval had not been expressed by the representatives of the FIA in the way in which it is admitted by FIA it was;
(iv) The Tribunal is unable to express any opinion as to whether or not the testing carried out by Ferrari in 2012 and 2013 was properly authorised but, it would appear to be equally unsatisfactory that this
consent was also given by Charlie Whiting, the Tribunal has no evidence before it which indicates that his opinion in that case had in fact been wrong.
(v) 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, 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.
(vi) No other team was aware of the fact that such advantage might be, or had been, obtained, notwithstanding the assurance which had been given by Paul Hembery to Charlie Whiting, as set out in paragraph 5 above; and the Tribunal notes that, when giving that assurance, Paul Hembery had not indicated to Charlie Whiting that the notification which Pirelli had already given to all teams in 2012 could satisfy the assurance which was being sought.
(vii) Both Mercedes and Pirelli, accordingly, did act in breach of articles 1 and 151 ISC.

SANCTIONS AND COSTS

41. Article 153 ISC provides for a scale of penalties, as set out under paragraph 12 above.
42. Based on all the circumstances of the case and: (i) with the specific objective that, insofar as it is reasonably practicable to do so, the other teams should be placed in a similar position to that in which Mercedes is in as a result of the breach of article 22 SR and articles 1 and 151 ISC and Pirelli of articles 1 and 151 ISC ; (ii) in recognition of the fact that the testing would not have taken place but for the bona fide, but misconceived “qualified approval” which was given on behalf of the FIA, the Tribunal decides that the most appropriate sanctions and orders are that :
• Mercedes be reprimanded in the terms of the findings set out above.
• Mercedes be suspended from participating in the forthcoming “three day young driver training test.
• Mercedes shall pay one third of the costs of the investigation and procedure, as provided for by Article 13.2 JDR, excluding FIA’s own legal costs.
• Pirelli be reprimanded in the terms of the findings set out above.
• Pirelli shall pay one third of the costs of the investigation and procedure, as provided for by Article 13.2 JDR, excluding FIA’s own legal costs.
• FIA shall bear one third of the costs of the investigation and procedure, as provided for by Article 13.2 JDR, and all of its own legal costs.

International Tribunal Conclusions (coming later…)

Lose-lose for Red Bull….

Ferrari save face….

Tyre supplier for 2014 still open to change….

48 responses to “Daily #F1 News and comment: Friday 21st June 2013

  1. Hmmmm…. Curiouser and Curiouser. If Bernie winds up in the dock then Mercedes is gone, they have been very clear about this. If Mercedes is gone and the music stops, I suppose at the moment it’s Niki who winds up without a chair to sit in. What happens to Paddy then? So many possiblities, way too much gin. Thanks for the excellent coverage today!

      • I have tried suggesting this before, without response…:
        Brawn and Todt have history together…
        Brawn defended his engineering – Todt went along with it…
        Basically Brawn seems to be doing much the same thing now but Todt cannot be seen to be going along with it…
        However…
        If Mercedes fall, and Brawn falls with them, does Brawn have the low-down that would see Todt having to resign in disgrace…?

  2. So, briefly: the FiA really can’t afford to punish significantly Pirelli or mb, lest they lose their only realistic tire supplier or a team plus quarter of the engines on the grid (never mind the lawsuits wed expect from both of the above), so… Is there *any* chance the tribunal will admit the rules were badly written and that basically be the verdict? I mean, it’s not like the silent one sat down and wrote them himself! And it’s not the first time we’ve had a loophole exploited. Would that be the common sense verdict, with a revised set if rules to avoid a repeat

    • For people like you and me… Yes…
      But are ‘powerful’ (controlling…?) people actually able to follow common-sense maxims…?

  3. Once again, your analysis of the situation is much appreciated. Thank you for trying to read between the lines and bring some clarity to all of this. I would imagine that there’s so much more that’s yet to be told. I’m sure when that happens, you’ll be there to try to make sense of it all. Keep up the good work!

  4. I do hope the FIA don’t get organised as all these types of soap opera events will disappear! Just how easy is it for Merc to leave F1 and in what timescale?(both the race team and the engine side) I mean could they leave before the end of the season? Are they seriously going to consider throwing all their investment away because they have been ‘ill advised’ or ‘gambled wrongly’? I can’t see being thrown out of this years championship as being a massive problem, it’s not like they are really liking to win either. A big fine though would probably sting more.

  5. Pirelli do not have an FIA licence as such, only a supply contract, and as the Paris court pointed out at Flavio Briatore’s appeal, the FIA’s own statutes prevent them from punishing non-licence holders.

    • Good point – but it appears at present the FIA is unsure of what the rules er, what is remit is, how far its jurisdiction reaches – so anything may happen this morning.

      • On this side of the pond, it has become a veritable tradition to release very important news that is distinctly unpalatable as close to 5 on a Friday as possible. If this is a complete turd of a decision (odds, anyone) look for a 4:55 local time press release.

        RE the shoddy journalism, I find that the phenomenon is fairly well explained by Hunter Thompson, in his book “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail”. Basically as a condition of access journalists can’t write certain stories or they will lose all their access, hence their ability to write about the subject. Since F1 is the ultimate insiders game to be shunned in that way is basically to lose your job. Fortunately, we have TJ13 who is in a position to report on all that’s left unsaid by traditional media.

        BTW (for those who are interested) the story that got Hunter in trouble involved a bagman flying to Las Vegas with a suitcase full of money. Turned out to be true.

        I originally thought the timing was propitious as it occurred in the midst of a 3 week break, but now I realize it has been timed so the decision will be eclipsed by the spectacle of Le Mans, no doubt to help rehabilitate the FIA’s image after what they must have known was going to be a disaster for them.

  6. Thank you for the amazing coverage the last 24 hours. I have no idea how you pulled off getting that kind of inside information on the tribunal. I have not seen that anywhere else.

    • I was due to play golf with the head of MI6 and the Lord Chancellor at 1pm today… they assured me I would be back in time for the verdict, yet as a dedicated pro – I cancelled.

      MI6 bugging devices were handy yesterday though 🙂

  7. I’m looking forward to the interviews of Christian Hörner and Stefano Dominicali later today. And the press conference at Silverstone should be a lot of fun as well 😀

    Thankfully, common sense prevailed at the IT. Though of course, the political sub-plots and ramifications are immense. Ross Brawn pulled a master-stroke and it can be argued he has strengthened his position within Mercedes.

  8. So Mercedes are banned from a three-day test with known tyres and known car set-up but unknown drivers, for undertaking a one-day test with known drivers, known car set-up but unknown tyres!?

    My head’s spinning. Rumsfeld, come explain this to me please?

    • Hi Lloyd – Merc. also undertook a 3-day test… I’m presuming it’s tit-for-tat… 😉

      • Ah ha, thanks BJF.
        Still, what do you think is more useful? A test with unknown tyres or drivers?

        • If I were Brawn I’d be more than happy… although a test with next year’s engine would be best…
          Plus… what Merc saves on the drivers test ought to cover the IT costs… Laughing all the way to the bank as well… 🙂

        • The 3 day young driver test would be significantly more valuable versus the tyre test.

          At the young driver test, the teams will be able to test whatever they want, such as various new bits, new set-ups, and new systems.

          The tyre tests, as you say, are on a single set-up, so it’s mostly an insignificant endurance test.

  9. Looks like the tribunal went for a face-saving verdict that enabled them to wriggle out of outright decision making and allow them to appear as though they have dealt with the protest! I don’t suppose they will, but why should Pirelli not reject the reprimand and payment of costs on the basis of their primary defence of being a contractor and not subject to FIA regs? In fact, why did they appear in the first place – except as witnesses if called?

  10. Oooh I like it when I’m right! Been saying it for days, Pirelli will walk unscathed and Merc will get a slap on the wrist. Now let’s go racing!

      • This is in fact a monumental verdict for a number of reasons – I will pen my conclusions later – hopefully for tonight. I do have the small matter of a meeting with the Lord Chancellor to fit in though 🙂

  11. Ross Brawn after studying the weather forecast for the days following the GP at Silverstone told his counsel to strongly suggest than Mercedes be banned from the Young drivers test taking place after the GP …

    Because Ross is banking on high probabilities for heavy rains and storms to occurs at that time thus providing minimal on track testing to all, as well Mercedes will be saving some money not staying there after the GP, could give some free time to their personnel and not lost any of the gain previously acquired in Barcelone’s Pirelli testing event.

    Ross is a really smart guy! 😈

  12. “Lose-lose for Red Bull….”

    If I was Red Bull I’d be delighted. Any of Newey’s questionable designs can be shrugged off with the phrase “we did it in good faith” and the most that can happen is exclusion from a young driver test. Then Red Bull get Toro Rosso to run whatever drivers they want to evaluate.

    The only question yet to be resolved is when the members of the IT get delivery of their new M-B cars.

    • I think that’s true for RB’s “issues” in the past, but this verdict may close the “good faith” window through which dodgy parts are dealt with, informally, via Charlie and a “clarification” of the rules. If that’s true, then we should perhaps expect that any time there is something questionable on their car a protest will be lodged – and, judging by how they have clearly been advised to change their car on several occasions, they would be found guilty of breaking the rules at a Tribunal.

      I think that’s why RB get the “lose-lose” verdict – they lost (in all practical terms) at the Tribunal with Merc getting a token punishment and they may have lost the flexibility on (pun alert!) rule bending that they have taken more advantage of then anyone else.

      • RB in the past had mostly parts that exploited loopholes in the regs. Like the double diffuser in 2009 or the EBD in 2011 parts were later ruled illegal, so they were sort-of-leagal at the time of use. And Ferrari & Co. will do nuff anything but ‘ask for clarification’. If they protest, FIA will rule the parts legal or not and that’s it, but if they ‘ask for clarification’ FIA has to deliver a technical description of what it is all about – that’s better than any spying, they just get the technical explanation delivered free of charge.

        This crooked verdict opens pandora’s box though. Expect RB, Ferrari and others to engage in shady business and then ride the ‘good faith’ horse afterwards. This tribunal is a bloody travesty. They submitted to blackmail and effectively rendered themselves obsolete.

        • The “good faith” argument is, I think, only there because the FIA were asked, through Charile and the FIA Legal Dept., whether the test was allowed. And they said yes – although they mentioned that was not a “binding” decision.

          Therefore, it’s reasonable to say if any team asks the FIA whether they can do something and are advised that yes, they probably can, that would also be good faith. When the answer has been no, you probably can’t, then the team has stopped doing whatever it was they were doing. That is precisely what has happened in the pas as you say.

          The point is that RB, by protesting and causing this issue to go to Tribunal, have probably killed off any “good faith” avenue in the future.

          Overall, the verdict seems perfectly reasonable to me and not crooked at all. Do I see your bias showing? 😉

          • This verdict is devastating to F1. The bottom line is – is you have the clout to threaten the tribunal with withdrawal, you can get away with everything. Ferrari, Renault and RB will have a field day with that. F1 can’t afford to lose either of them. With this verdict they basically got handed a carte blanche.

          • If you believe the Tribunal was affected by a Mercedes threat… then there’s nothing I can say.

            Horner’s negative demeanour is for a very good reason. See the next article just published….

  13. TJ, do you know what exactly was in the confidential email with data from the test that Pirelli sent to Mercedes and that apparently the IT cant get its head around (para 37.8)? One could argue that the 2013 benefit gained by Merc is rather limited, but if this data relate to the 2014 tyres that were tested in Barcelona then Merc might have gained a significant benefit for 2014…

    • But still they wouldn’t know which 2014 tyre they’ve tested, soft, hard, supersoft?

      • And I would assume the tyres will be different anyway. If I was a team boss I’d be queuing up to do the last test of 2014 with a “representative” car. The tyres will be the closest to what they will get next year and even if you dont know what they are, if you run tyres next year and the telemetry looks the same as the ones you tested this year… you know what I mean 😉

    • I believe the tribunal got it right in their weighting of the advantage gained arguments. Any prototype tyres for 2014 used in Barcelona will most likely be nothing like the final product.

      Hembery today is pressing for more testing to get them right.

  14. All being said, I don’t believe that Mercedes gained that big an advantage in the test because there is no evidence that they’ve resolved their tyre eating problem plaguing them for more than 3 years now. The tyres themselves aren’t the sources of their troubles, Force India, Sauber, Williams and Toro Rosso have been fine with the same. And as far as 2014 is concerned will Pirelli be the provider ❓

      • That would be very entertaining, having now heard the International Tribunal’s verdict to test would be a definite breach of 151c – “fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition to the interests of motorsport generally”.

        Charlie won’t give his opinion to Ferrari so favourably on this subject again 🙂

    • Interesting. The horse whisperer has clearly undergone a Dr. Who style ‘regeneration’, probably because the original incarnation has been banished to India.

      This communication style is as different as Tom Baker is from David Tennant – (not even from the same country).

      I think the horse Whisperer should be glad his team weren’t summoned to appear, because according to the Judges opinion… they may too have found themselves enjoying a short vacation whilst the other teams trudge around Silverstone doing a Young Drivers Test in the rain.

  15. Ok, sadly this all happened while I’ve had to be doing actual work so I haven’t been able to comment, but it has given me the chance to think. And this is what I think. This is all about 2014, specifically the tires.

    What car has been consistently best on its tires? That’s right, Lotus. Like it or not since their chassis provides the baseline data for the tires, the tires tend to work best for them. Inadvertently I am sure, but due to, you guessed it, testing restrictions, Pirelli have been lacking the data to design tires that are fair for the WHOLE grid.

    Now, think on this, last year Ferrari did a test for Pirelli and what happens this year, suddenly they are much better with the tires. And, delicious irony of delicious ironies (thanks Vortex) due to the IT’s decision the one team that has been whinging the most about tires, Red Bull, will now be unable to contribute to next year’s tire development due to their formal protest and the FIA’s utter incompetence. No wonder Horner looks so downbeat, he’s finally realized just how badly he’s screwed this particular pooch..

    One thing’s certain, Ross Brawn is not someone I’d play poker with for money. As soon as you’d turn up with 4 aces, he’d have a royal straight flush. Think on this too, he got exactly the “punishment ” (if you could call it that) he asked for. So at the end of the day, the IT is telling us, the test was mostly about exactly what Pirelli said it was, better tires for next year.

    Hats off to the IT as well, for making one of the more sensible decisions I’ve ever seen come from something related to the FIA. Now it’s down the FIA to sort the tire testing regs so Pirelli can properly test and design tires. Not that I see that happening anytime soon.

    I can hear the champagne corks popping in Brackley even as I write this but the fact of the matter is that no matter what happened with this decision, Brawn and Merc are going to be the big winners next year, along with Ferrari. And Red Bull will be left out in the cold with no one to blame but themselves.

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