The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) today penalized Mercedes and Pirelli for their roles in a Formula One tire test conducted in May. An FIA tribunal reprimanded the German F1 team and Italian tire manufacturer for their conduct and mandated that Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 skip the Young Drivers test at Silverstone July 17-19.
The controversy stemmed from a test that saw Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg run a Mercedes-Petronas F1 W04 for 1000 km over three days at Circuit Catalunya immediately following the Spanish Grand Prix. FIA regulations prohibit teams from conducting in-season testing using their current model cars, a key consideration given that Ferrari also conducted a recent tire test, albeit with a 2011-model chassis.
Mercedes and Pirelli maintained the test was conducted to evaluate tire safety rather than for performance reasons. Mercedes further argued they discussed their plans with FIA Formula One technical chief Charlie Whiting prior to the test. However, the FIA tribunal ruled those discussions did not represent a formal approval and the test violated the F1 sporting regulations governing in-season testing.