Mercedes reiterate belief they had permission to run the W04 in 'secret' test
Team also insists nothing should be read into unmarked helmets
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 08/06/13 8:29am
Mercedes have reiterated their confidence they received the appropriate permission to run in the three-day tyre test at Barcelona that their F1 rivals believe was illegal and is the subject of a FIA investigation.
The hearing is expected to be held in Paris on Thursday June 20th, a week ahead of the British GP at Silverstone, as the sport seeks a swift resolution to a saga which has overshadowed the build-up to this weekend's Canadian GP.
At the heart of the investigation - which will be headed by Edwin Glasgow QC - will be who granted the team permission to run in the test and use their 2013 car, the W04, and in what form was any approval given.
A similar inquiry into the tyre test Ferrari also conducted at Barcelona after the Bahrain GP was dropped after the Scuderia reassured the governing body they used a car that was two-years-old with development driver Pedro de la Rosa behind the wheel.
Mercedes boss Ross Brawn remains confident that the team will be cleared and had the appropriate approval to run the W04.
"We wouldn't have done the Pirelli test unless we believed we could do the Pirelli test and I believe when we get to tribunal you'll have your answers," he said during his headline appearance in Friday's press conference.
While Brawn wouldn't confirm what form that approval took following speculation that an email from FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting was likely to prove central to Mercedes evidence in Paris, he denied the reason behind their decision to test was to try and alleviate their own well-chronicled tyre-wear problems with the W04.
"I can say that the decision was based in no way on the track performance that we had," Brawn insisted.
"I think everyone in Formula 1 is concerned about the delamination we're seeing so I think that's a worthy objective. But certainly [it had] nothing to do with the performance of the car because nothing was aimed at addressing that."
Brawn also took umbrage with the widespread interpretation by the media that the three-day test had been 'secret', instead insisting that it had simply been 'private'.
"There's been an unfortunate branding of a 'secret' test - it was a private test, it wasn't a secret test.
"If anyone believes you can go to Barcelona and do three days of testing, or 1000km of testing, and not have anyone become aware of it is naive. So it was a private test, not a secret test."
Mercedes have also insisted nothing sinister should be interpreted from the fact their race drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg completed on-track duties at the test, or the fact they both sported anonymous helmets.
According to the team, that latter measure was only taken as a means towards avoiding the distracting attention of fans.
"In terms of running the race drivers, in any form of testing apart from the young driver test, there's no control or limitation on the type of driver you have in the car," Brawn said on Friday.
"So it was natural for us to use the drivers we had. We wanted the most representative conditions we could for the Pirelli test. It's as simple as that."
Meanwhile, it's now widely believed that the 'secret' test was first divulged by race director Whiting at a meeting of the GPDA after qualifying in Monaco.