Brawn to be the fall guy?


There is increasing speculation that Ross Brawn could become the fall guy in the infamous Tyregate saga.

Over the years, Brawn, who is known for pushing the envelope to the very limit, from his days in Sportscars and throughout most of his F1 career with Benetton and Ferrari, has sailed close to the wind.

However, with Mercedes now (seemingly) having more Technical Directors than tea ladies, some believe that the growing row over the team's Barcelona test could give his employers the opportunity to show him the door.

Brawn has increasingly appeared to paint himself into a corner, and his admission yesterday that he approved the test could ultimately be all that Mercedes needs to dispense with his services.

"I think there's been some rumours before and nothing's happened," Brawn told reporters at the official Friday press conference, a conference that Pirelli's Paul Hembery withdrew from on the advice of the company's lawyers. "I think we should say let's wait and see what the tribunal find and then we can take it from there. It was my decision to do the test so that's a fact."

The Englishman was keen to dispense with the term 'secret', insisting that the 1,000 kilometre, three-day, test was anything but.

"There has been an unfortunate branding of the ‘secret' test," he said. "It was a private test. It wasn't a secret test. Anyone who believes you can got to Barcelona and do three days of testing, or 1000km of testing, and not have anyone become aware of it is na´ve.

"It was a private test, not a secret test," he reiterated, "and sporting integrity is very, very important to us. Very important to Mercedes. And as I say I think when the facts become apparent then people can make a better judgment of the situation."

Also present at the press conference, Red Bull boss Christian Horner refused to accept that Mercedes did not benefit from the test, which is what the German manufacturer is claiming.

"With the amount of technology and with the amount of date analysis there is, you're always learning." he said. "So of course, even if you are testing a component for another supplier you are learning.

"Formula one has moved an awfully long way over the last few years to ensure fairness and equality to all of the entrants," he continued, "and I think if a team does carry out an extra 1000km with a current car then you are going to learn something."

Though not present at the FIA's press conference, elsewhere in the Montreal paddock, Lotus boss Eric Boullier was keen to share his thoughts on the matter.

“Fundamentally for me there is a big issue, which is a breach of the sporting code," he told reporters. "Testing is banned. You have a sporting code and a testing agreement signed by all the teams.

"Clearly, testing today is key in some way. Limited mileage forces you to change the process by which you design your car, the way you race. For many years performance was just aero. Now, you still need aero, but for the first time you need to consider the management of the tyres to make your weekend a success. So by doing testing you have a serious gain of the understanding of the tyres, and that’s something which is not fair.”

Asked about Ferrari's test, which, it has been revealed, was carried out by Pedro de la Rosa in a 2011 car, and as a result will not be investigated by Tribunal, Boullier admitted that the Italian team sailed close to the wind bbut had ultimately not done anything wrong.

“I think Ferrari pushed the envelope,” he said, “but they are not in breach. They respected the regulation, and if you do that, then fine. With Pirelli it’s different because they are supposed to be fair and treat everybody equally, which is borderline with their contractual agreement.

“We can still trust them," he added, "but we maybe have to sit down again and remind everybody of their needs of the agreement.”

Meanwhile, back in the official press conference, asked if he might become the scapegoat, Brawn replied: "I think there's been some rumours before and nothing's happened. I think we should say let's wait and see what the Tribunal find and then we can go from there.

"It was my decision to do the test," he added, repeating his earlier claim, "that's a fact. So let's see what occurs at Tribunal and go from there.

Check out our Friday gallery, here.

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Published: 08/06/2013
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