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Mercedes gets away with a lighter punishment

By Jay
June 22 2013

The FIA's International Tribution gave the Mercedes F1 team a lighter punishment for illegally testing their car with the Pirelli tyres. They have thus been suspended from participating in this year's young driver test.

It emerged that the three-day, 1000-kilometre session had been run using Mercedes’ 2013 car, in contravention of the regulations, which prohibit the use of current cars for such tests.

Even though the tribunal found that Mercedes had broken Article 22 of the F1 sporting regulations, it said that there was no intention by the team to obtain any unfair sporting advantage and that both Mercedes and Pirelli had acted in good faith at all times.

The tribunal deemed that Mercedes had no reason to believe that FIA approval had not been given for the test following the team’s communications with the governing body’s race director, Charlie Whiting, but that Whiting’s actions on behalf of the FIA were taken in good faith and with the intention of assisting the parties and consistent with sporting fairness.

However, since the tribunal found that that Pirelli had failed to offer other teams a similar opportunity to test, which was a proviso given by Whiting when he was initially asked by Mercedes and Pirelli whether such a test might be possible.

The tribunal also determined that Mercedes did gain some material advantage from the test - even if it was only confirmation of what had not gone wrong - and that Pirelli were aware of this and that they had intended to pass some confidential data to Mercedes, even if that data was of limited use to the team since they were unaware of the tyre specifications being tested.

As such, the tribunal deemed both Mercedes and Pirelli to have also breached the International Sporting Code, since the test was prejudicial to the interests of competition.

This ruling is a setback to the protesting teams of Ferrari and Red Bull who were sure of Mercedes getting a harsher punishment for gaining undue advantage over its rivals.

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