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.
Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.
Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.
The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.
In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.
Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.
Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.
Last Five Seattle Winners
450s 2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto