Red Bull’s star driver Sebastian Vettel has added to the condemnation of Mercedes’ “secret” tests with Pirelli ahead of the Canadian Grad Prix in Montreal.
Mercedes’ have been the talk of the Formula 1 world over the last week for all the wrong reasons as it was alleged that they performed a series of illegal tyre tests with Pirelli earlier this year. “In season testing” has been banned from the sport since 2009 and Red Bull and Ferrari have lodged a complaint claiming that Mercedes have gained a competitive advantage by testing their 2013 car with the tyre manufacturer. The FIA have now set up a tribunal to investigate these claims.
Red Bull’s driver, Sebastian Vettel, agrees with the stance that his team have taken by saying: “I don’t know exactly the tyres they used, but I think you always learn when you are on the track.
“At some point you use tyres that you have already used or that you will use in the future, so in that regard every lap matters.
“We all know how important testing is in the winter. The quality of the testing is not the same because the conditions are different.
“The cars are very early in their development so if you have the chance somewhere in the middle of the season to have a test, or three days, then it’s a big help.”
He went on to support the FIA tribunal: “It’s the way it has to go from a formal point of view.
“Surely as a driver you are aware of the rules on track when it comes to flag signals, etc.
“But we are not aware of the all the rules written in the sporting regulations. It was very surprising when we found out on Saturday afternoon.”
Ahead of the tribunal both Mercedes and Pirelli have claimed their innocence with the German racing team saying: “We welcome the opportunity to explain the full facts of the Pirelli test in an open and transparent manner at the International Tribunal.
“Sporting integrity is of primary importance to Mercedes-Benz and we have the utmost confidence in the due process of the FIA.”
Whilst Pirelli are allowed to perform 1,000 kilometres worth of testing on the marquee team, they distanced themselves from any controversies linked with the testing of the 2013 car: “The use of the car utilized by Mercedes, in particular, was the result of direct communication between FIA and the team itself.”
“Pirelli did not ask in any way that a 2013 car be used: not of Mercedes nor FIA nor the teams which, during the year, were offered the opportunity of participating in tests for the development of tires for 2014.
“Pirelli, in development testing with teams carried out in 2013, has not favored any teams and, as always, acted professionally, with transparency and in absolute good faith.”
Ahead of the tribunal, experts have claimed that there are three likely outcomes to the tribunal. A) Mercedes will face financial penalties. B) Mercedes will face financial penalties and have Constructor Championship points docked. C) Mercedes will have all of their Constructor Championship points docked and disqualified from the team competition for the rest of the year. This would see a massive loss in prize money.
The most likely outcome is the first option and whilst this is the most lenient of the penalties the damage that the tests will have done to their reputation, in their first year, could be irreversible.
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