Button predicts “slapped wrist” for Mercedes

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Jenson Button expects Mercedes to get no more than a “slapped wrist” for breaking F1’s testing regulations.

The FIA is investigating Mercedes after Red Bull and Ferrari protested them for conducting a three-day tire test in the run-up to the Monaco Grand Prix.

However Button does not believe it helped them win the race: “Mercedes have done a great job and even without that tire test I think they would have won the race,” he told The Guardian.

“I think the teams that protested are more surprised that it happened. I can’t see the result changing. I don’t know what they can do, if anything at all.”

He suggested any punishment would be “maybe a slapped wrist”.

“I think the teams that protested just wanted clarification because we’d all love to do 1,000km to understand [the tires] a bit more because we’re all so limited on testing.”

Article 22.4h of the FIA Sporting Regulations forbids testing “between the start of a ten day period which precedes the start of the first event of the championship and 31 December of the same year”.

Mercedes and Pirelli say they approached the FIA for permission to do the test and obtained it. However the FIA says it instructed the team and F1’s tire supplier to invite other teams to the test, which did not happen.

However Lewis Hamilton, who was present at the test with team mate Nico Rosberg, said he was not concerned about a response from the FIA: “We were required to do some work, we did some work, it was good fun.

“Right now I’m not concerned about it, that’s for the team to worry about. I just have to focus on myself and try and get my act together.”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

Audi Sport
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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”