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
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'