Mercedes face points deduction as Pirelli avoid teams showdown

Lotus boss expects the Anglo-German outfit to be punished for wrongly helping tyre supplier

Montreal

Pirelli again created the headlines at a grand prix yesterday, when motorsport director Paul Hembery pulled out of a post-practice press conference on the advice of the company’s lawyers.

The Italian tyre manufacturer has been beleaguered ever since they  organised a test after the Spanish Grand Prix last month in which Mercedes participated on their behalf, supposedly testing 2014 tyres.

A lively debate was in store in the conference as McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh, Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali and Red Bull’s Christian Horner, were expected to grill Hembrey and fellow team principal, Ross Brawn of Mercedes, about the test, in the wake of the governing body FIA decreeing last Wednesday that the Anglo-German team must face an official investigation. Hembrey, however, withdrew minutes before it was due to start.

The investigation was ordered after Red Bull and Ferrari protested against Mercedes’ use of a 2013 car to assist Pirelli in the 1,000km test, something which Lotus team principal Eric Boullier had earlier in the day said breached the rules.

And he believes that when the International Tribunal decide on Mercedes’ fate – a meeting could be convened on 20 June – they will punish the team for breaking sporting regulations. Should the team be found guilty, a range of penalties is open to the tribunal. These range from a heavy fine through deduction of world championship points to exclusion from a race or even the championship. The middle option is the most likely.

“It’s good to have a hearing, parties talking officially, and then we will see the outcome of this,” Boullier said. “But there is clearly a breach somewhere, and then you expect to see a sanction.

“Fundamentally for me there is a big issue, which is a breach of the sporting code. Testing is banned. You have a sporting code and a testing agreement signed by all the teams. Clearly, testing today is key in some way. Limited mileage forces you to change the process by which you design your car, the way you race. For many years performance was just aero [aerodynamics]. Now, you still need aero, but for the first time you need to consider the management of the tyres to make your weekend a success. So by doing testing you have a serious gain of the understanding of the tyres, and that’s something which is not fair.”

Boullier also pointed out that Pirelli’s data on their 2013 tyres was made available last year to every team, and that Lotus [together with Ferrari] chose to optimise their car around the rubber it would run, whereas others chose still to focus more on aerodynamics.

He also said that he had no problem that Ferrari, who also conducted a test in Barcelona with Pirelli and were initially asked to assist in the FIA investigation, had been let off the hook as they complied with the regulations by using a 2011 car, even if it was driven by third driver Pedro de la Rosa.

“I think Ferrari pushed the envelope,” he said, “but they are not in breach. They respected the regulation, and if you do that, then fine. With Pirelli it’s different because they are supposed to be fair and treat everybody equally, which is borderline with their contractual agreement.”

The feeling in the paddock is that the situation with Mercedes needs to be resolved quickly in everyone’s interests, so that the teams can all then sit down with Pirelli and discuss a way forward. “We can still trust them, but we maybe have to sit down again and remind everybody of their needs of the agreement,” Boullier said.

On the track ahead of tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix,  Fernando Alonso snatched the fastest time from Lewis Hamilton in yesterday’s second practice After Formula One’s most underrated driver, Paul di Resta, had excelled to beat Jenson Button to fastest time in a wet-but-drying morning session, Alonso wound up his Ferrari for a lap of 1min 14.818sec as the track stayed dry throughout the afternoon.

The Spaniard, who could not better seventh place recently in Monaco, said: “We need four or five consecutive races on the podium or close to the podium to recover some of the points we have missed. This weekend, we must score good points.”

Hamilton was happier with the braking performance of his Mercedes, comfortably setting the pace with 1:14.830 before Alonso upstaged him with  1:14.818 as Monaco winner Nico Rosberg managed only fifth on 1:15.249.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders