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Verdict in the Mercedes process: mild penalties for Mercedes and Pirelli

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Verdict in the Mercedes trial
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M ercedes is guilty, but only receives a warning and is not allowed to take part in the three test days of the 'Young Drivers' in July. Pirelli also received a copy. The FIA ​​can theoretically appeal the verdict.

Court follows Mercedes' proposal for punishment

There are again Niki Lauda, ​​Toto Wolff, Ross Brawn and the entire Mercedes team Got away with a black eye. Instead of the feared record fine in the double-digit million range or the withdrawal of World Cup points, there was only one warning and the exclusion from the so-called Young Drivers Test, which will take place in July.

The court, chaired by Edwin Glasgow, followed the motion of Mercedes attorney Paul Harris, who had put exactly this in the room as an appropriate punishment if convicted. Pirelli also has nothing to fear. The Italian tire manufacturer also went out of the proceedings with a warning. In theory, the FIA, in its role as plaintiff, can appeal the judgment. But that is hardly to be assumed.

What did Mercedes save in the process?

The tribunal found Mercedes both in the case of Article 22.4. as well as guilty of Section 151c, but acknowledged that one acted with good intent after obtaining information 'from a qualified source'. This means the approval of the test by Charlie Whiting and FIA attorney Sebastien Bernard under certain conditions.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes that the involvement of FIA race director Charlie Whiting and the test drives by Ferrari are also involved a 2011 car before the Spanish GP could have played a role. 'Ferrari has spared Mercedes the strict conviction for paragraph 151c. Otherwise the FIA ​​would have had to initiate investigations against Ferrari. Under Article 22.4, Mercedes benefited from the fact that FIA employees like Charlie Whiting and a lawyer approved the test under certain conditions.' Horner also said that the exclusion from the Young Drivers test Mercedes caused less damage than the three-day test with Pirelli had benefited them. 'Two regular drivers bring better results than Formula 1 newbies.'

What paragraphs was the Mercedes trial about?

The lawyers spent a day and a half over a mountain of files and thatFIA rulebook broken. The basis is the international sports law of the world association. It's about Article 4.1. and 4.2., in which test drives are defined. Point 4.1. describes the test drives that are carried out by the licensees, i.e. the teams. So the twelve days before the season, the three so-called 'young drivers' days, the four aero test days and the eight promotion days.

In paragraph 4.2. Tire test drives are specifically excluded. They are subject to a separate contract that Pirelli has concluded with the FIA. Under certain conditions, the tire manufacturer may, upon request, carry out test drives at the FIA ​​to develop its products. One of the conditions is that all teams are given the same testing opportunity. It is not explicitly regulated which car or which drivers this test is used with. Pirelli has to clarify that with the FIA. But it is also about paragraph 22.4. in which a test with the current car is expressly prohibited during the season. And it is about Article 151c, which prohibits fraudulent acts or unfair advantage to the detriment of sport.

Mercedes has been accused of two offenses

Mercedes had to answer to the arbitration tribunal for Articles 22.4 and 151c. Attorney Paul Harris believed the allegations were unfounded. They took part in a Pirelli tire test, which is subject to different rules than normal test drives. Pirelli was the organizer of this test, and Mercedes did everything possible to not comply with Article 22.4. to become delinquent.

Mercedes refers to the security provided by FIA race director Charlie Whiting: 'We have done everything we can to avoid making us criminal,' said Harris. FIA Prosecutor Mark Howard contradicted: 'Even tire test drives are subject to the Sports Act and thus Article 22.4. Charlie Whiting can only give an opinion, but not override the Sports Act.' Pirelli doubted this interpretation: 'According to this interpretation, we are not allowed to carry out tire test drives with current cars. For relevant results, however, we need relevant cars.' Tenor: There is nothing in our contract with the FIA ​​that prevents us from testing a current car.

The sticking point was that 'Information from qualified sources'

The FIA ​​continued to accuse Pirelli and Mercedes of not having met the conditions for the test set by Whiting. The other teams were neither informed nor invited to a similar test. However, Pirelli presented a general invitation from March 2012 and a reminder from June 2013. Mercedes declared that it was not responsible because Pirelli was responsible for a Pirelli test. However, attorney Harris noted, 'The team has checked with Pirelli as to the termsthe FIA. 'The court recognized this as an exonerating element. Judge Glasgow describes Charlie Whiting's competence in regular questions as the' qualified side ' ., Paul Harris rejected any involvement with Paragraph 151c.

On this basis, Mercedes faced a significantly higher penalty than for violating Paragraph 22.4. They did not gain an unfair advantage because the tires could not be assigned to the different test drives. This was refuted by FIA attorney Howard with the argument: 'Those who drive 1,000 kilometers learn more than those who do not. And when it's just about waste products like reliability findings. ”Harris brought Ferrari on board, who had previously run similar tests twice, but with a two-year-old car. 'If we are guilty on this point, Ferrari is twice already.'

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