The FIA insists that Mercedes and Pirelli were never granted official permission by the governing body to run its 2013 car during the post-Spanish Grand Prix test. Furthermore, it claims that that any indication of approval Mercedes had to use its current car by F1 race director Charlie Whiting was "irrelevant."
As the hearing into whether or not Mercedes and Pirelli breached the rules in running a 2013 car for a tire test at Barcelona got underway in Paris, motorsport's governing body laid out its reasoning for bringing the matter in front of the International Tribunal. With one of the key issues of the case believed to relate to approval it may have had from Whiting, the FIA's legal representative Mark Howard made it clear that only the World Motor Sport Council would have the right to waive the rules.
"Whether or not Whiting consented, it is irrelevant, because testing in relation to Article 22 is a breach, unless it [a rule change] is granted by the World Motor Sport Council," Howard said.
Howard revealed that Whiting was first called by Mercedes team manager Ron Meadows on May 2 about the possibility of running a 2013 car, with team principal Ross Brawn holding a follow-up conversation later in the day.
Howard added: "Whiting was asked a general and non-specific question – the general question on the permissibility of using a 2013 car. His preliminary response was that such a test would comply with Article 22 providing purpose was for Pirelli to test its tire and he would check."
Whiting e-mailed FIA lawyer Sebastian Bernard the following day to enquire about the situation, and was informed that such a scenario could be possible, but would be subject to Pirelli inviting all the others team to test and demonstrate that it has done so. Howard said that Whiting informed Brawn of the FIA's legal position, but reiterated that it was not a binding stance.
"This communication was not an agreement by the FIA - it was nothing more than Whiting and Bernard's interpretation of [article] 22."
The FIA argues that rival teams were not invited to take part in the Barcelona test with a current car subsequent to the Whiting discussions, even though Pirelli had offered other teams the possibility to test back in 2012.