Mercedes was not found ‘guilty’ of breaking the rules, Niki Lauda insists.
The German team has been banned from the forthcoming young drivers test at Silverstone, and was officially reprimanded for running its 2013 car and race drivers in a secret test with Pirelli at Barcelona last month.
“There was no rule violation,” triple world champion Lauda, the Brackley based team’s chairman and a co-owner, told Austrian broadcaster ORF.
“We got a warning — not even a yellow card which could lead to a red card. We were excluded from the young driver test, which is a judgement that we can live with absolutely.”
Lauda said the international tribunal made its verdict with the ‘sport’ – as opposed to the political intrigue that has filled the headlines in the past days – in mind.
“All the intrigue and the stories were not fair, because everything was done correctly in the sense of how we came to do this test,” he insisted.
Lauda therefore slammed those who were heavily critical of Mercedes’ behaviour, like Red Bull who reportedly wanted a $100 million fine and hefty points deductions.
“Red Bull went with this story very aggressively,” he said, “interpreting everything that could be interpreted into it.
“The paddock is a snake pit but the FIA tribunal is a court, which clearly decided that it was not a rule violation, but a different interpretation of various regulations.”
However, Lauda said the outcome of the tyre-dominated situation in F1 this year is that Pirelli is now unable to adjust its tyres.
“They wanted to bring new tyres to Montreal, and then they should have been in Silverstone, now they are not.
“So if it gets really hot at Silverstone, which can sometimes happen, the problem with the many pitstops will likely continue,” he insisted.
“So I don’t understand this rule,” said Lauda, referring to the need for unanimity in the paddock before changes to the tyres can be made immediately.
“If Pirelli says we want to have a different tyre because it’s better for us (Pirelli), for the cars, for everyone, then someone is always going to say no.
“So this rule is a disaster,” he charged.