Mercedes F1 Team Draws Reprimand for Tiregate Incident
- The Mercedes F1 team received a reprimand and minor penalty for the so-called "Tiregate" test session.
- An FIA tribunal announced its decision Friday.
- Mercedes used its drivers and 2013 cars for the three-day session at the Barcelona circuit.
PARIS — A ban on young driver testing for the year and a reprimand are the penalties for the Mercedes F1 team for its conduct stemming from a tire-testing session that drew complaints from competitors.
The international tribunal handed down that punishment after a seven-hour hearing at Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile headquarters on Friday.
There was no immediate response from Mercedes or Pirelli.
Mercedes used its current-model F1 cars and drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the contested three-day session at the Barcelona circuit in Spain. Pirelli tested a variety of tires during the session, which the tire company organized and paid for. The controversy was tabbed "Tiregate" by observers.
FIA rules restrict test sessions by F1 teams, in an attempt to limit costs of competing in the global grand prix series.
Pirelli, the Italian tire manufacturer that is the official supplier of racing rubber for Formula 1, also got a reprimand from the four-member panel, even though the company had protested that the FIA had no jurisdiction over them.
The three-day test for up-and-coming drivers is slated for July 17-19.
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn had sought leniency from the panel, claiming that all data from the test was utilized by Pirelli and that the purpose of the session was to improve safety for all competitors via improvement of the tires used by all of them.
Edmunds says: Mercedes' claim that any gains it may have netted from the session are minor would appear to match the minor nature of penalties imposed, but there are no "little things" in the big-money world of F1.