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Mercedes benefitted from test claims FIA

NEWS STORY
20/06/2013

As the FIA's International Tribunal gets underway in Paris, the FIA claims that Mercedes did not have permission to undertake its controversial test with Pirelli in Barcelona from which it clearly benefitted.

At the tribunal, attended by Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn, sporting director Ron Meadows and chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin, the FIA's counsel Mark Howard insisted that no official permission was given to the German team for a test from which it clearly must have benefitted.

Howard claims that on May 2, Meadows asked FIA race director Charlie Whiting whether testing with a 2013 car was allowed. Later the same day Brawn also asked Whiting if this was possible, albeit by telephone.

However, according to Howard: "Whiting was asked a general and non-specific question, the general question on the permissibility of using a 2013 car. His preliminary response was that such a test would comply with Article 22 of the sporting regulations providing the purpose was for Pirelli to test its tyre and he would check."

The FIA's legal department said such a test was permissible providing Pirelli invited all the other teams to test and was able to prove it had done so.

"What is very odd about all of this is that on the basis of the telephone calls, both Mercedes and Pirelli went ahead without getting back to Mr Whiting and making clear precisely ultimately what they were intending to do," said Howard.

"Without the knowledge, consent and participation of other competitors, Mercedes and Pirelli may have engaged in activity that was prejudicial to the competition."

"None of the other 2013 competitors were invited to participate in the test or observe. None of the other 2013 competitors was aware that the test was to take place."

Claiming that Mercedes clearly benefitted from the test he said: "Running the car for three days at least informed Mercedes that they did not need to change the cars. That in itself would be valuable information. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that some defect would have become apparent in the three days track testing, and it cannot seriously be suggested that Mercedes would not seek to remedy that defect.

"We would suggest that it is difficult to say Mercedes obtained no benefit from the test."

In Mercedes defence, its counsel Paul Harris claimed the German team did not break the rules because it did not conduct the test.

"This was not a test undertaken by Mercedes," he argued. "They are critical words in text of Article 22 of the sporting regulations - 'undertaken by'.

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