Mercedes F1 Team will undergo a vigorous investigation by the FIA International Tribunal in the aftermath of the ‘tyre-gate’ scandal which engulfed both them and the F1 tyre supplier, Pirelli, following news that a secret three-day test was held in the days after the Spanish Grand Prix.
The test saw the 2013 Mercedes car racking up 1,000 miles to help Pirelli test various new compounds as the current Pirelli tyres have been suffering some big problems, particularly with Mercedes who have endured several de-laminations.
Pirelli were allowed to have up to 1,000 miles of testing due to a prior agreement with the FIA but broke several key elements of the agreement. Firstly, the FIA were not informed that the test was taking place. Secondly, the agreement with the FIA states that a test is allowed, given all teams are given equal opportunity to test – which they weren’t as the remaining ten teams knew nothing of the test. Indeed, it was through a slip of the tongue of a Mercedes engineer who mentioned the test in a pre-race briefing at Monaco two weeks ago that the FIA discovered the test.
Red Bull and Ferrari launched a protest to the test, saying that Mercedes could have gained a huge advantage as a result of the test. Post-race, the stewards called Mercedes, Pirelli, Ferrari and Red Bull to meet them individually and subsequently ruled against Mercedes and Pirelli. The item has now been referred to the International Tribunal which could spell huge consequences for both parties.