F1 penalties await Mercedes at June 20 tribunal

Sat, 8 June 2013, 09:35

Jun.8 (GMM) There is a growing consensus in the paddock that Mercedes will be penalised when the FIA’s brand-new international tribunal meets to discuss the secret Barcelona test on June 20.

Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn, who entered F1 as a team lawyer, told Auto Motor und Sport: “A contract can’t overrule a law.”

She is referring to Pirelli’s defence that its deal with the FIA allows tyre testing with a representative car, therefore overriding the tightly-controlled test limits in the sporting regulations.

But Spanish sports newspaper Marca’s correspondent Marco Canseco reported rumours a fine in the order of EUR 5 to 10 million will be imposed against Mercedes.

Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko told Blick: “A fine and a points deduction would be appropriate.”

With the ‘testgate’ saga occupying the time and minds of most regular F1 journalists in the Montreal paddock, the details and rumours continue to flow.

Germany’s Sport Bild claims earlier rumours that Mercedes has proof – an email – of Charlie Whiting’s permission to use its 2013 car, was wrong.

That report said Whiting gave only conditional approval, “only if all the other teams are informed and agree”.

Pirelli’s lawyers advised Paul Hembery against attending the FIA’s press conference at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Friday.

Undoubtedly, that’s because many more questions remain outstanding.

One is why – if the test was not ‘secret’ – did Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg wear all-black helmets?

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff said the idea was to “protect the public”.

“We had no security and no press people on the spot and did not want fans storming the track,” he is quoted by RTL.

“If we wanted to make it a secret, our people would not have worn team uniforms, and we would have used neutral trucks,” he added.

According to Sport Bild, the ‘secret’ leaked out when the FIA’s Whiting mentioned it to Grand Prix Drivers’ Association directors Sebastian Vettel, Pedro de la Rosa and Jenson Button.

The lasting consequence of the Mercedes test is that the door might now be open to the return of in-season testing.

There are rumours Pirelli has demanded it if F1 wants the Italian supplier to stay beyond 2013, and last week FIA president Jean Todt ruled that Ferrari’s Barcelona test with a 2011 test fell outside the sport’s testing restrictions.

“So far, with our interpretation of the regulation, running with a 2011 car is not testing, as per the sporting regulations,” said Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali.

Another implication could be Ross Brawn’s job, after the Mercedes team boss admitted it was his decision to run the Barcelona test.

Told that rumours about his future have re-emerged, the Briton said in Canada: “I think there’s been some rumours before and nothing’s happened.

“I think we should wait and see what the tribunal find and then go from there.”

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