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SBD Global/June 21, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
Mercedes will know its fate Friday "after coming out fighting" at an int'l tribunal against accusations that it staged an illegal tire test, according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. The team refuted charges that it had gained an advantage over its rivals by taking part in a 600-mile test with Pirelli, F1's tiremaker, and accused the FIA "of double standards in allowing Ferrari to get away with taking part in similar test sessions." Mercedes was in the dock at an inquiry into the so-called "Tyregate" scandal. If found guilty, "the team could face punishments ranging from a simple reprimand to heavy fines, a ban or even disqualification from the constructors' world championship." Tribunal President Edwin Glasgow said that "he would announce the verdict of the five judges" on Friday. Mercedes had turned defense into attack by telling the inquiry that Ferrari had conducted two similar test sessions -- "one last year and one in April before the Spanish Grand Prix" -- with Pirelli, yet escaped sanctions. Attorney Paul Harris also "dismissed arguments that the team did not have permission to carry out the test." He said that FIA Race Dir Charlie Whiting and FIA Legal Dir Sebastien Bernard "had given the go-ahead" (LONDON TIMES, 6/20).
RED HERRINGS: In London, Tom Cary wrote Harris said that the FIA had been guilty of a number of "red herrings." Harris: "This was not a test undertaken by Mercedes. The Pirelli test was not a test undertaken by Mercedes. It is irrefutable it was a test undertaken by Pirelli." Harris said that as the test was organized, paid for, and run by Pirelli, "Mercedes cannot be ruled to be in breach." He added that this view was backed by the FIA's own lawyer, Sebastien Bernard, who advised that Mercedes could indeed run its '13 car as, "for the purposes of the Pirelli test, it would not be judged a competitor's car" (TELEGRAPH, 6/20). REUTERS' Alan Baldwin wrote FIA legal representative Mark Howard opened the hearing by telling the four judges and tribunal President Edwin Glasgow that the action "was a clear breach of the ban on teams testing during the season with a current car." Glasgow: "There is not much room for doubt that the Mercedes 2013 car was a car covered by the regulations and that the car was subjected to track running time in Barcelona. Track testing is deliberately defined as track running time. It is a term used deliberately because it is unambiguous ... any running on the track is deemed to be testing" (REUTERS, 6/20).
At least 10 office staff members "have been made redundant" at Scottish Premier League side Heart of Midlothian as administrators begin a series of cuts aimed at "saving the stricken Tynecastle club," according to the BBC. There is "not likely to be a decision made on players leaving until Friday." Accounting firm BDO has "taken over the running of the Edinburgh outfit." Scottish Second Division Dunfermline administrator Bryan Jackson said, "Job losses are inevitable. We need to cut costs quickly." Trevor Birch, who will be working with Jackson, said that cuts could be "brutal," while details are expected to be announced at a 5pm local time media conference (BBC, 6/20). The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported Jackson, "who has performed similar roles at Clydebank, Motherwell Clyde, Dundee and Portsmouth," said that the situation at Tynecastle was "as bad as any that I've come across." He conceded that liquidation was "always a possibility." Jackson: "The biggest problem is the present cashflow, keeping the doors open. Obviously there will be redundancies and that's a nightmare situation for those people" (DAILY RECORD, 6/20).
WEIR LAMENTS SITUATION: In London, Phil Gordon reported former Hearts player David Weir "admits that he is not an expert on finance" but recognizes that Heart of Midlothian lost its way "when those on the payroll started to count for more than those in the stands." The big numbers that Weir remembers "are the 200,000 people who went on to the streets of Edinburgh to watch Hearts parade the Scottish Cup" in '98. By the time Weir returned to Scotland nine years later, his old club was "the talk of the game because of the huge wages being offered by Vladimir Romanov, the now-bankrupt owner." Weir said, "It is sad what has happened to Hearts. That day [the '98 Scottish Cup final] was one of my best memories. Hearts had not won a major trophy for 36 years. To beat Rangers in front of 50,000 fans at Celtic Park was a great experience" (LONDON TIMES, 6/20).
Romanian football club CFR Cluj has announced that it is "seeking fresh investment" as Owner Árpád Pászkány attempts to "establish the Transylvanian outfit as a stable member of Europe’s elite." The KPMG Sports Advisory group is managing the investor search process and Pászkány has revealed that "initial interest has already been shown from China and the Middle East" (SOCCEREX, 6/20). ... La Liga side Levante this week launched its season ticket campaign "with a very nice bonus for families" in what the club is calling the "Season for Children." For each adult who buys a season ticket for the '13-14 season, a child up to the age of 14 can get a free season ticket (INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL, 6/20).