June 7th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - On the Friday of each race weekend, there is a press conference that affords members of the media the opportunity to throw questions at some of the Formula One team principals. In Canada, it was all about the tyres, which was anticipated by Pirelli's lawyers, who advised Pirelli boss Paul Hembery not to attend.
Mercedes and Pirelli are to answer to the FIA International Tribunal after conducting a three day, 1000km test in Barcelona following the Spanish Grand Prix. The Tribunal is set to determine whether or not the test was legitimate and if not, what the consequences should be for Pirelli and Mercedes.
Ross Brawn, team principal of Mercedes, came under fire during the press conference, where he was grilled on everything from the motives for the test to the possibility of him leaving Mercedes if his team is found to have contravened the regulations. He avoided answering most of the questions, preferring to wait for the verdict of the Tribunal, which is understandable in the circumstances. Nonetheless, he did attempt to make it clear that, from his perspective, the test was carried out for the benefit of Pirelli and in the interests of improving tyre safety, which is a hot topic after a series of high-speed tyre delaminations in recent races.
While the other team principals were clear that they were disappointed at the lack of transparency surrounding the Pirelli / Mercedes tyre test, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali used the opportunity to emphasise, as he has done on previous occasions, that Ferrari are in favour of a return to in-season testing. He was supported, surprisingly, by Sauber's Monisha Kaltenborn, who runs a team that does not have an enormous budget, and therefore would stand to benefit much less from in-season testing than the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, simply through a lack of ability to spend as much time on track as Sauber's wealthier rivals.
No date has yet been set for the case to be heard by the FIA International Tribunal.