Mercedes await Testgate fate with range of sanctions open for any guilty verdict
Threat of British GP ban still looms over Hamilton & Rosberg's team; Verdict expected to be announced later today
By Pete Gill and James Galloway. Last Updated: June 21, 2013 4:06pm
Kravitz looks at Testgate
A sleepless night awaited Mercedes after Thursday's International Tribunal into the 'secret' tyre test ended without resolution and the threat of a race ban for next week's British GP still hanging over the team.
During a compelling day of argument and counter-arguments in Paris, Mercedes were accused by the sport's governing body of breaching the Sporting Regulations by running in the three-day test, held at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalyuna the week after the Spanish GP.
The team's reiteration that they were passive participants because the test was conducted by Pirelli continued to cut no ice with the FIA, with the governing body's QC Mark Howard gleefully thanking Ross Brawn for "giving the game away" following his reluctant admission the team did gain 'knowledge' from the running conducted by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the team's 2013 charger, the W04.
Although a points deduction weighed down with a financial penalty is still the most likely punishment if Mercedes are found guilty when the Tribunal's ruling is delivered on Friday, the possibility of a race ban still clouds the team ahead of the upcoming British and German GPs - both of which are effectively the Anglo-German outfit's 'home' events.
Asked by Sky Sports News if there was any danger that Mercedes, and therefore star British driver Hamilton, could be forced to sit out next week's British GP, Sky F1's Ted Kravitz replied: "Yes, there is a danger. If the Tribunal finds against Mercedes, both in terms of breaking the sporting regulations and the more serious thing of acting in a way prejudicial to the interests of competition, they have every penalty available to them.
"They could ban Mercedes from the British Grand Prix. That would mean that Lewis Hamilton would not race at Silverstone. That is possible. I don't think that's likely, but it is possible.
"They could give Mercedes a very big fine, I think that potentially is likely if Mercedes are indeed found guilty, or/and indeed they could take away Mercedes' constructors' points. I think that's also quite likely.
"But we will see - anything is possible. Is it likely Lewis Hamilton will get banned for Silverstone? No, I don't think it is. But it is possible."
Speaking after the event, Red Bull boss Christian Horner - who was in attendance throughout the hearing - made clear that a financial penalty would not meet with the approval of the World Champions.
"It's for the Tribunal to decide, it's not for us to comment on what the penalties should be, but normally if you commit a sporting offence then it is a sporting penalty which goes with it," Horner told Sky Sports News. "That's down to the Tribunal, but the problem is that if it is only financial then that only becomes the cost of testing."