Top 20 moments of 2013, #7: Mercedes "test-gate"

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Motorsport.com selected the Mercedes "Testgate" saga as its number 7 selection for the too 20 moments of the year.

Gaining an edge in Formula One is important, especially with the incredibly high budgets and innovative thinking the teams have.

Mercedes was able to gain an advantage, picking up three days worth of data on Pirelli tires during a three-day test session at Barcelona May 15,16 and 17.

When news of the test was released, many teams were unimpressed with the news but it was the dominant Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari that lodged protests with the FIA on June 5.

The advantage gained by the team was quickly evident, winning its first race on May 26 at Monaco, then taking two more victories, one of which was indefinitely directly related to their tire management.

German Nico Rosberg won Monaco and Silverstone, while Lewis Hamilton was able to pick up a win at the Hungaroring.

Race winner Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates on the podium
Race winner Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates on the podium

Photo by: XPB Images

Mercedes argued that the FIA gave the team the go-ahead to test their car with their race drivers with Pirelli via email, while Pirelli said that because they are the only tire supplier in Formula One, the FIA doesn’t have to sanction the tests.

In the end, the team was reprimanded along with Pirelli for the test, and omitted from the three-day young drivers test, where teams are allowed to test with rookie drivers.

“The Decision of the International Tribunal confirmed that the team acted in good faith regarding the Pirelli Tests, never intended to obtain any unfair sporting advantage and had no reason to believe that approval for the Pirelli Tests had not been given,” Mercedes said in a statement after the ruling.

“Mercedes accepts the proportionate penalties of a reprimand and suspension from the forthcoming Young Driver Test that have been decided upon by the Tribunal.”

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About this article
Series FORMULA 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Nico Rosberg
Teams Ferrari , Red Bull Racing , Mercedes
Article type Special feature
Tags crashing, hamilton, mercedes, rosberg, testgate, testing, tires, winning