Sebastian Vettel slams Mercedes over Barcelona tyre-testing session

Mercedes have been attacked by the world champion, Sebastian Vettel, for the controversial three-day tyre-testing session in Barcelona last month that will be investigated by the FIA's international tribunal.

It was Red Bull, Vettel's team, that led the protests in Monaco two weeks ago and now the world champion has picked up the baton. "It's a bit weird if the regulations don't allow you to test and one team goes testing," he said. "There's talk of an agreement and blah, blah, blah, but it's not good. What's the solution now? Does everyone have a go for three days or are they the only ones? It's just silly to come up with these discussions now."

Then, speaking to the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, Vettel added: "I see it as a critical issue. Each test kilometre is an advantage and Mercedes had the opportunity to test tyres that we will probably race at Silverstone. I think this is an advantage over all the other teams."

The FIA, the sport's governing body, announced on Wednesday evening that Mercedes and Pirelli had a case to answer concerning the 1,000km test, predominantly of next year's tyres, which took place after the Spanish Grand Prix; the case will be heard within the next few weeks.

The FIA said that the test may constitute a breach of its rules. No other team was involved in the session which used the current Mercedes car, one of the key issues. Ferrari have been let off after carrying out a separate test because they used a 2011 car.

In a statement on Thursday, Mercedes said: "Mercedes-Benz acknowledges the decision of the FIA to take the matter of the Pirelli test before the international tribunal. We welcome the opportunity to explain the full facts of the Pirelli test in an open and transparent manner at the international tribunal.

"Sporting integrity is of primary importance to Mercedes-Benz and we have the utmost confidence in the due process of the FIA."

The Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton – who had enough experience of politics with the "spygate" row in his years at McLaren – said he would not be attending the hearing.

He said: "I don't think I'll be required to do that. I've been there, done it before with McLaren, so I don't think I need to be involved in that area.

"I remember going the last time. Although I don't remember much of what exactly happened, I know it wasn't a good period of time. I just remember the good times."

He added: "I'm not focused on it. I'm focused on trying to get myself ready for this [Canadian] grand prix.

"This [the FIA calling the tribunal] is the first I've heard about it. I've not been reading about it or anything.

"As far as I'm concerned it's not a distraction for the team. The important people in the team are dealing with it in the appropriate way, and I'm just hungry to win." Hamilton has won here three times in six races, including his first win in 2007.

Powered by article was written by Paul Weaver in Montreal, for The Guardian on Thursday 6th June 2013 20.34 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © ph-stop