Pirelli insist they fall outside the FIA's jurisdiction and they can test any kind of car
But FIA insist tyre supplier "confused and have missed the point"
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 20/06/13 5:12pm
Pirelli have argued that the FIA doesn't have the power to impose any form of disciplinary punishment against them in the Testgate affair during a robust defence of their position in their International Tribunal appearance.
Following a morning of fascinating submissions put forward by both the FIA and Mercedes in relation to the contentious three-day Barcelona test, F1's tyre supplier took the stand in the afternoon to put across their side of the story.
All eyes had been on how Pirelli would approach the hearing and respond to their charges given they are a supplier, rather than an F1 competitor, and their lawyer Dominique Dumas immediately made clear that "we do not come under the jurisdiction or authority of the FIA".
Indeed, Dumas cited the FIA's 2009 'Crashgate' case involving former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore as evidence of how the FIA have no power to discipline a third party, Briatore having later had his ban overturned in the French civil courts prior to the governing body introducing licences for team personnel.
During the morning session the FIA's lawyers had argued that although Pirelli's contract with them permitted up to 1000km of testing with any of the teams, the deal also stipulated that they are bound to the FIA's own Sporting Regulations as well, which forbid in-season testing with a current car.
However, as part of Pirelli's defence case, Dumas argued that their FIA contract contained no restrictions about what car can be used for the firm's permitted F1 tests.
Responding to Pirelli's submissions, the FIA's QC Mark Howard claimed the tyre firm's statements "are confused and miss the point" with the governing body adamant that both the Italian supplier and Mercedes have breached the sporting regulations.
Reporting direct from outside the Tribunal, Sky Sports News' Craig Slater added: "They [the FIA] say that Pirelli's contract is subject to the Sporting Regulations and they can't be ignored, especially if they are involved with a current team. [According to the FIA], it is one thing for Pirelli to test tyres, but quite another to involve an entrant - and if they do that, it is effectively an in-season test, which is banned.'