PARIS (Reuters) - Mercedes would be willing to miss a Formula One young driver test at Silverstone in July if a tribunal decides to punish them for allegedly breaking the testing rules last month, their lawyer said on Thursday.
Paul Harris, representing the British-based team at a hearing in Paris that could impose a range of sanctions including exclusion from the championship itself, said Mercedes should be cleared.
If that was not to be the case, he suggested a reprimand would suffice.
“If there is to be anything more severe...a message can be sent as to sporting sanction but in the circumstances of Mercedes it should be suspended,” he declared.
Harris said that as a last resort, the young driver test could be used to ‘level the playing field’ by barring Mercedes from three days of testing.
”That is a three day test and it’s a car test over which the teams have full control,“ he said. ”It’s a truly meaningful and beneficial test.
”If...we are in this sort of territory then it is open to the International Tribunal to impose exclusions actual or suspended from events that are under the FIA jurisdiction such as the young driver test.
“If you think there is a need to do that then the young driver test is an apt opportunity to impose a proportionate redress of what on this hypothesis is competitive imbalance,” said the lawyer.
Mercedes are charged with gaining an unfair advantage by making their current car and race drivers available for a 1,000km Pirelli tyre test over three days at the Barcelona circuit in May.
Formula One rules ban teams from track testing during the season with a current car, but Pirelli can undertake private tests and also argue that they are not a competitor subject to the same restrictions as teams.
The tribunal, made up of four judges under British lawyer Edwin Glasgow as president, withdrew to consider the evidence. Glasgow told the hearing that a decision would be produced by Friday. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)