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SBD Global/June 17, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Mercedes To Reveal E-Mail From FIA That Gave 'Permission To Test' Pirelli Tires In Barcelona

Mercedes "will turn the tables on the FIA at Thursday's hearing in Paris by producing written evidence that they had permission" to test Pirelli's tires, according to Paul Weaver of the London GUARDIAN. The test "enraged the other teams, particularly Red Bull." Contrary to FIA regulations, Mercedes used its current '13 car rather than one at least two years old, as favored by Ferrari in another testing session. But Mercedes "is ready to play its trump card," in the form of an FIA e-mail -- allegedly from its Race Dir & Safety Delegate Charlie Whiting -- granting the team "permission to test." It is difficult to believe that Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn "would have gone along with the test unless he felt sure of his ground." He said in Montreal last week: "We wouldn't have done the Pirelli test unless we believed we could do the Pirelli test and I believe when we get to tribunal you'll have your answers." If Mercedes or Pirelli "are found guilty they are likely to go the FIA's international court of appeal in an attempt to get the verdict overturned." There is even an outside chance that Mercedes "could walk away from the sport" if it feels it has been "dealt with harshly, although that is unlikely given their recent level of investment" (GUARDIAN, 6/15). NBC MOTOR SPORTS TALK's Tony DiZinno reported F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that "Mercedes was purely at fault for its secret test at Barcelona." Brawn essentially "fell on the sword" when he said in Montreal that the tire test of Pirelli's '13 compounds, on this year's Mercedes W04, "was his decision." Ecclestone said, "Pirelli were doing the right thing, obviously. They couldn’t get out of a tire problem, if there had been proper testing, which there should be, they wouldn’t be in this problem." He added, "What is right, is right, you know. The one thing an unmarried girl has got is the right to say ‘no.’ You would have to reckon that Mercedes were in that position…" (NBC MOTOR SPORTS TALK, 6/13).
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