Heads expected to roll as Mercedes faces D-Day in Paris

17 June, 2013

Ross Brawn with Mercedes engineers in Barcelona

Ross Brawn with Mercedes engineers in Barcelona

All eyes will turn to Place de la Concorde in Paris this Thursday, as the very fate of Mercedes’ Formula 1 foray may rest in the hands of the sport’s governing body, the FIA.

It is at president Jean Todt’s new international tribunal that some sort of penalty is expected to be levied against the German carmaker, after sanctioning a highly-controversial ‘secret’ Pirelli tyre test at Barcelona recently.

“I fear a hefty penalty,” commentator Christian Danner told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “Without functioning regulations, a sport like Formula 1 cannot exist.”

Danner admitted that he is also expecting further consequences, “Depending on who has made the mistake, heads will roll – either at Mercedes or the FIA.”

That corresponds with speculation that Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn, who according to Welt newspaper will not be accompanied to Paris by fellow bosses Niki Lauda or Toto Wolff, might be the Brackley based team’s fall guy.

Toto Wolff (AUT) Mercedes AMG F1 Director of Motorsport and Ross Brawn

Toto Wolff with Ross Brawn

There have also been reports that Charlie Whiting could also be in trouble, with the Guardian newspaper saying that Brawn has an email from the FIA race director that incorrectly permits the test.

“We have nothing to hide,” Wolff told Welt. “We have prepared our documents, on Thursday the judgement will come, and we’ll see if we can live with it.”

“We are not targeting this outcome or another; we do not even say that there necessarily must be an acquittal. There is no judgement that we are expecting. Our belief is that we have done nothing wrong.”

Nonetheless, it is rumoured that if the FIA acts harshly against Mercedes, the very fate of the Brackley based team is at risk.

The ‘tyre-gate’ scandal has given some shareholders of the parent company Daimler fresh ammunition to call for the end of Mercedes’ Formula 1 foray.

Niki Lauda with Toto Wolff

Niki Lauda with Toto Wolff

“The group’s [multi-] million spending [on Formula 1] brings nothing to [any]body,” said Michael Muders, of Union Investment.

“In our opinion, not a single car has been sold because Mercedes is represented by a team in F1,” he added.

Mercedes-powered McLaren driver Jenson Button, however, is not rushing to judgement ahead of Thursday’s hearing.

Asked if he thinks the team got an unfair advantage by testing in Barcelona, he answered: “Both drivers (Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg) have said no.

“If they did [get an advantage], they’d have to be lying,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “So I believe them.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.


  • hillside

    Niki will loose his bet

  • Junior Johnson

    Man what is goin on I try to write something and then its gone.Who keeps deleting my writings?

  • Richard Piers

    Jenson is too nice a guy. Of course they learned something. Ross is going to pay, having said which it was a damn fool thing to do. It was bound to be found out and could only end in tears.
    No winners in this exercise.

  • not Junior Johnson

    @Junior Johnson…your so-called ‘writings’ are mercifully being scrapped because of your inability to spell; kindly refrain from posting anything more for the sanity of the rest of us.

  • AlonsoFan

    “In our opinion, not a single car has been sold because Mercedes is represented by a team in F1,” ..that is just lame,it shows that they only entered F1 as a Marketing Exercise just like Redbull did,they can never ever have the passion or history like Ferrari or Mclaren or even Williams with that sort of attitude.

  • Mercedes knew the rules and chose to break them

    Mercedes knew the rules prohibited using anything other than a 2 year old or older car. Mercedes broke that rule when they brought not only their 2013 car but used both their current drivers as well. Not only that but they tried to disguise their drivers by using plain helmets and Hamilton sent out a misleading tweet trying to make it look like he was in Orlando, Florida.

    Mercedes needs to be banned from the constructors championship as well as both drivers banned from the drivers championship.

    Nothing less will correct what Mercedes has done.

  • Matthias O’keeffe

    @Mercedes knew the rules and chose to break them

    I think GrandPrix247.com need to ban you from this page..

  • Not Bernie

    Pirelli are allowed to do a test with a 2013 car, but ask yourself where would they get such a car? Obviously from one of the current racing teams.

    It now turns our that Pirelli asked both Red Bull and Ferrari if they’d like to supply Pirelli with a 2013 car; both of them said no. The continued through the grid, offering the tests, and it was Mercedes who said they’d supply a car.

    Mercedes also checked if this was allowed, and was given permission from someone in the FIA. According to reports I’ve read the FIA even had a representative at the test.

    For some reason the media has been trying to retire Brawn for many years now, and now it’s like a dog with a bone. Except they want to take the whole of the Mercedes company with him!

    Wait and see what Mercedes shows as evidence they had permission. Until then this really is a load of nonsense.

  • =El Presidente=

    @Hillside : lol. probably yes.

    @Mercedes knew the rules and chose to break them :

    “Mercedes needs to be banned from the constructors championship as well as both drivers banned from the drivers championship.

    Nothing less will correct what Mercedes has done.”

    I think you have to start to get used to the fact , that that will not happen.

    OT : I think MB does have some leverage (in case they are found guilty) towards the FIA. If MB retreats from F1 this will have noticeable consequences, for everyone in the F1.
    And if it’s true that CW gave his permission for the test, .. well that would be a nice twist :D

  • Wel

    If nothing happens or a small fine is applied, watch RBR and Ferrari do the same kind of tests with 2013 cars.

  • M451

    They (FIA) will have to do something to stop other teams from jumping at the chance, but whether they have the guts to do anything to Mercedes is a different matter. Also, Jenson is only defending the drivers because he is close friends with Hamilton, and because McLaren need Mercedes to be kind to them next year for engines.

  • Steve

    “According to reports I’ve read the FIA even had a representative at the test.”

    I don’t know why you keep repeating this obvious falsehood. There was no FIA representative at the test.

    “Mercedes also checked if this was allowed, and was given permission from someone in the FIA.”

    You don’t know if that’s true or not. Even it it is true, “somebody in the FIA” simply does not have the authority to override the regulations. If “somebody in the FIA” tells Merc that they can put 1200 BHP V12 engines in their cars – they still can’t do it, because the rules are not whatever “somebody in the FIA” says. The rules are the rules.

  • grimreaper

    The details are in the wording ”Pirelli tyre test” and ” Team tyre test” Ferrari would keep the data from their test earlier this season with a 2011 car. Mercedes did not receive the data using their 2013 car at the Pirelli tyre safety test. Ross Brawn, Mercedes and Pirelli will all walk out with heads held high and no further action taken.

  • Not Bernie

    @Steve,
    “I don’t know why you keep repeating this obvious falsehood. There was no FIA representative at the test.”

    Problem with trying to find that information again is how many other stories now appear! But at the time one of the reports said that a representative of the FIA was there, one of the Spanish ones. I’m happy to be proven wrong, so please if you have a source which states categorically that nobody from the FIA was present I’d appreciate it.

    As for who would have given authorisation for the test I think you must also appreciate that teams go to the FIA for permissions for various aspects relating to their cars. You hear about this all the time where a team checks with the FIA to ensure that their car meets the regulations. Similarly Mercedes will have checked with some of *authority* within the FIA for permission.

    However, all of this will I hope come out at the hearing. Certainly for us spectators we all want to know how this mess came in to being.

  • bamza

    Ross probaly got used to the fia being nice and compliant whilst at Ferrari with MS

  • Ross Bawn

    hamilton also needs to banned tweeting from the US of A when actually testing the tyres.

  • The truth of what Charlie Whiting told Mercedes

    The truth of what Mercedes was told by Charlie Whiting.

    Charlie Whiting told Mercedes sure they could test with their 2013 car but all the other teams have to OK it. Charlie Whiting knew the other teams would never give the ok so you can put that lie about the FIA giving their full blessing to Mercedes to test with their 2013 car to rest Not Bernie.

    Also Mercedes used their current race drivers in this test and tried to disguise them with plain white helmets and Hamilton sent the tweet saying he was in Orlando when he was in fact in Spain doing that illegal test.

    Then we come to the fact that it is being claimed that Mercedes would have learned nothing in a 1000 KM test with their 2013 car. It that is than Mercedes is the dumbest team in all of Formula One. Any time you run your car you are learning.

    I think the fact the pas two races the Mercedes has not burnt up its rear tires like it had been doing is proof positive that Mercedes learn a lot about how their car works with the tires. In fact it has been reported that Mercedes tested different suspension settings and even tested a new trans axle design with different suspension settings.

    Lets look at what Mercedes violations:

    1. Tested using their 2013 car. Violation of the rules.
    2. Tested using their race drivers. Violation of the rules.
    3. Claimed the FIA gave them the go ahead. FIA say nope.

    Mercedes new ability to not burn up its rear tires after they completed that illegal test is proof that Mercedes learned much about their car from the data. The fact is Brawn knew this season was going to be another write off because Mercedes got it wrong once again so he said lets do the test with our 2013 car, we get banned for 2013 but in 2014 we will know what to do with the car. Brawn is also on the way out so he is the perfect scape goat for Mercedes to blame in their attempt to save face so they will release Brawn after they lose the hearing. Brawn will be compensated quietly by Mercedes and that will be the end of Ross Brawn in Formula One.

  • Lol.

    Matthias sure gets upset whenever anyone says anything bad about mercedes lol.

    Still stand by my previous statement; fine and exclusion from constructors title.

  • Not Bernie

    @Steve,
    don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s right that one team should be allowed to run this test at the exclusion of all others. Not at all. But however we look at it someone gave the ok and clearance for Mercedes to participate.

    Let’s for arguments sake accept that Mercedes were giving permission to offer support to Pirelli for their test. You’re then asking who it was that gave such permission. If Charlie Whiting said yes if every team was given the same, did Pirelli assure Mercedes that condition was met?

    Until we know the exact conditions under which Mercedes were satisfied that they could participate we’re all stabbing in the dark. I hope that we, the F1 fan, are given an insight into the inner workings of the sport such that our desire for sporting fairness is met.

  • Junior Johnson

    Mr not junior johnson please I dont want to fite with you. I know that you are not Bernie it is very ovious to me.I folow your writings all the time and I like them very much.I’m certaint that in real life we would be very good frends!i am reely sorry that i dont spell too good but Im reely trying hard that is too say my best if
    it has ofended you.We meet every Friday withy
    Frends on Face book and talk about all sorts of intresting things.If you can give me your details I think it would be nice if you can join.Maybe I could send you my writings first to check if you would help please.Anyway I would be pleesed to call you my frend

  • CHL

    Common guys, be nice to Junior! I think that he definitely ads an element to the discourse here!!!

  • Not Bernie

    @Junior Johnson,
    I post as Not Bernie, and nothing else.

    Am I right that English is not your first language?

  • I am BERNIE

    The germans are sending me to jail for tax fraud so I am banning mercedes fo rest of the season.

  • Butterfly

    hillside:

    Sorry to point this out, but it’s ‘lose’ not ‘loose’.

  • bamza

    @ i am bernie
    lol

  • Butterfly

    Actually, maybe it was bernie helping Mercedes with the test so the German prosecutors would cut him some slack. Maybe Merc have connections in high places?

    Or maybe not. :-)

    Either way, this sort of operation has Ross Brawn written all over it. After all, this was the guy that used to tell Schumacher to do all sorts of crazy, ridiculous stuff thinking that his interpretation of the rules are on his side.

    Lawyer-like mentality on Ross there.

  • MercFan

    We can speculate all we like but the fact is that we are doing so based on what we read from the media not the actual facts that will be clear tomorrow, guilt or not, nobody knows, I don’t even want to know or speculate without the facts. What is amasing is that RBR Horner is suddenly quite, maybe he knows the facts now and we fans should learn to know the facts first before making all the assumptions. Lastly just remember that Ross Brawn is not called “Big Bear” for nothing, the man has seen it all, been in the most challenging situations than this one and I can’t see him with all his experience lacking in defence on this, that is what you should be thinking about fellas

  • I am BERNIE

    I hereby fire my lawyer with immediate effect.
    Formula 1 is owned by me and i fire anyone who i dislike.
    BTW i am looking for a 20 something blonde to be my next wife.

  • Butterfly

    I hope Ross Brawn returns to Ferrari. Then he can help create a car so much faster than Newey and finally my beloved Alonso can win!

  • Ukwhite

    Simply put, punishing Merc is inevitable, they screwd up and they had known that beforehand. With or w/o Merc’s drivers or Ferrari’s ones or… in the next years Vettel is going to triumph as usual because he is just the best!

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