The International Tribunal has met, listened to arguments and rendered judgment concerning the Mercedes and Pirelli private test on May 15-17. That verdict has been met with some criticism least of which came from Ferrari's Horse Whisperer column.
The Tribunal found Mercedes, Pirelli and the FIA equally culpable in the matter and offered reprimands for both Mercedes and Pirelli, demanded the expenses of the entire proceeding be divided three ways amongst them and finally that Mercedes would not be allowed to take part in an upcoming young driver test as proportional punishment for their infraction.
Now the man at the center of the testing controversy has offered firm words that the FIA will get to the bottom of all these testing shenanigans and will do so in short order.
Mercedes boss Ross Brawn says that the FIA will look into the testing issue more keenly aware of potential abuses telling AUTOSPORT:
"The FIA are now looking at the whole issue, and not just this particular issue," Brawn said.
"Teams have been doing filming days at Idiada - can you explain that one to me?
"The whole issue of testing has slipped over the years and now needs correcting, and we all need to have a clear picture for the benefit of everyone.
"The FIA will take this opportunity to rebase all the testing and other activities that teams do, although next year will be a little easier than at the moment as it is anticipated there will be organised full test days."
Idiada is a dedicated testing and proving ground for automobiles near Barcelona and it is an odd choice for a "filming" day when other, closer locations would suffice. In the end, Brawn believes that the return of in-season testing in 2014 will help matters but the FIA is determined to have more oversight in testing procedures and operations.
Brawn also believes that the FIA will take a closer look at other off-track activities as well such as windtunnel testing:
"The FIA will spend a lot more time looking at these areas, as they are an area of activity away from an event that needs to have scrutiny and checking - as do other things coming under the FIA remit like aerodynamic testing."
Formula One's return to in-season testing in 2014 will follow a similar model to the current MotoGP efforts in which teams will stay a few days after certain grands prix and engage in testing. This should reduce costs and make the event more manageable for the FIA.
What is not as clear is how the FIA will manage windtunnel testing and aerodynamic oversight as this is the black art that all teams guard with clenched fists and tongs. The 2014 regulations will see the biggest changes in years and there is a lot of room for error but perhaps the FIA will have a new system of oversight that will entail not only the regulations but all F1 team activities pre-, on- and post-event.
As for Mercedes and the punishment handed down by the International Tribunal, the team seem complacent with the reprimand and ban from the young driver test but that may not be a surprise as evidenced by a story in the Times in which the venerable boss of F1 says he knew the outcome of the Tribunal before it was ever read.
Ecclestone says he received a call from FIA president Jean Todt in which the Frenchman explained what was going to happen to Mercedes. Ecclestone say he promptly alerted Mercedes boss Toto Wolff of the disciplinary action being taken:
"That's great," Ecclestone told Todt. "Congratulations on conducting a good process, Jean."
'As he hangs up, a call comes through from his office to say that Toto Wolff, the executive director of the Mercedes team is on the line. Bernie says he gave him the good news telling he had got away with a reprimand. Mr Wolff then, according to Bernie, thanks him, tells him he is shocked and promises that dinner is on him at Silverstone'.
The words come as cold comfort to those who feel the International Tribunal was too forgiving of the infraction by the Mercedes / Pirelli private test.