On Thursday this week, Mercedes AMG Petronas and Pirelli both face an International tribunal in Paris, after conducting what was possibly an illegal tire test in Spain, causing some heavy controversy for the motoring giants. If you haven’t heard about “tiregate” currently filling the news in the world of Formula 1 racing already, then here’s an update.
After the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 12th, Pirelli took Mercedes back to the track to conduct some tyre tests, which were paid for by the tire manufacturer. Tire tests are allowed and are sometimes carried out within Formula 1, however the controversy arose because the team tested the tires in a current 2013 vehicle, which outraged other F1 teams competing this season, particularly the aggressively competitive Red Bulls. Current FIA regulations strictly prohibit the use of a car from the current season when conducting these tests and Red Bull had already turned down an approach from Pirelli earlier in the year, as they were not comfortable with testing the tires in a current seasons vehicle due to the strict rules.
Originally, Ferrari were also in the firing line for a tyre test conducted with Pirelli just after the Bahrain Grand Prix, but after proving the tire test was carried out in a 2011 F1 car, the FIA decided to drop the case against them. However they are continuing the investigations into Mercedes tire tests through the tribunal. Both Mercedes and Pirelli feel that they have done nothing to break the regulations and Mercedes have now stated that they will be watching the developments over in Paris very carefully. If they feel that the proceedings are damaging the Mercedes brand reputation, then the German car giants could walk away from Formula 1 racing for good.
Interestingly this is not the first time that Mercedes AMG Petronas have been reported to be quitting Formula 1. Earlier on in the year they were also reported to have been closely watching the legal developments involving Bernie Ecclestone relating to the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery case. And in 2012 there were rumours circulating that Mercedes were displeased with the terms included in the new “Concorde Agreement” which is a document that ties up Formula 1 teams and the FIA with commercial rights.
The general consensus between Formula 1 fanatics seems to be united. Most feel that come Thursday, Mercedes AMG Petronas will be charged and face a penalty of some kind. Where this leaves the future of Mercedes Formula 1 racing is anyone’s guess, but just like the British summer this year, things are not looking bright.
Article Written by Hayley Reeve on behalf of DDR Surrey.