Mercedes banned from young driver test after FIA Tribunal hearing

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Mercedes and Pirelli have both been reprimanded for their role in the tire test after the Spanish Grand Prix, as determined Friday in a verdict by the FIA International Tribunal.

The biggest hit in the verdict is that Mercedes has been banned from competing in the upcoming three-day young driver’s test.

Otherwise Mercedes, Pirelli and the FIA were all asked to pay one-third of the costs of the investigation and procedure, with the FIA being asked to pay all its legal costs.

The Tribunal found that the testing itself was “carried out by Pirelli and/or Mercedes with the intention that Mercedes should not obtain any unfair sporting advantage.” Neither party acted in bad faith and disclosed their intent to the FIA, with Charlie Whiting’s blessing to allow the test to happen “consistent with sporting fairness.”

Notwithstanding that, the FIA said there were still violations committed. Because Mercedes did run its 2013 car, the W04, it acted in breach of Article 22.4 of the Sporting Regulations. It did obtain “some material advantage,” which then “potentially, gave it an unfair sporting advantage”. The FIA said “it is plain beyond sensible argument that Pirelli had intended confidentially to pass some information to Mercedes.”

Ferrari’s test with its older car, the FIA determined that it “would appear to be equally unsatisfactory” but the Tribunal itself had no evidence to place any similar penalty on the Scuderia.

The full 19-page verdict is linked here, with the summary from the FIA website here.

Related posts from Thursday:

FIA Tribunal arguments focusing on “the code”

Updates from the FIA International Tribunal on Mercedes’ test

Toro Rosso boss hopes to see Kvyat return to Formula 1

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Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost hopes to see sacked driver Daniil Kvyat return to Formula 1 in the near future, saying the Russian “deserves” a place on the grid.

Toro Rosso dropped Kvyat twice through the 2017 season due to poor form, with his final dismissal coming after the United States Grand Prix in October.

Kvyat is no longer part of Red Bull’s motorsport program and is exploring options both inside and outside of F1 for 2018, and Tost feels he could be energized by some time away before returning.

“I am still convinced that Daniil has a very high natural speed. He was sometimes even faster than Daniel Riccardo, but somehow last year and this year he couldn’t show the potential that is within him,” Tost told the official F1 website.

“He was involved in many incidents, but in his defence I also have to say that he had many reliability issues and that didn’t help build up confidence. Being the victim of too many incidents killed the performance he would have been able to show.

“Maybe a short break – to get organized again – and probably we will see Daniil back at his usual performance level with another team.

“Sometimes he was too aggressive at the beginning of the race. The first corner was his weak point. He wanted too much in the first hundred meters – success by any means!

“That puts you under pressure – unnecessary pressure – and that never works.

“I hope for him that he gets another chance, as I think he deserves to be in F1.”