Mercedes has confirmed that new team co-owners and chiefs Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff will not be in Paris on Thursday. We reported on Monday that team boss Ross Brawn will be the sole representative of the management of the German carmaker's Brackley based team as it faces the wrath of the FIA over 'test-gate'.
A Mercedes spokesman confirmed Brawn's attendance, and the absence of director Wolff, and chairman Lauda, to the German news agency DPA. Brawn, who according to speculation could lose his job as a result of the 'secret' tyre test scandal, will be accompanied by lawyers as well as team engineers, the APA news agency reported.
Triple world champion Lauda might be staying away from Paris, but he insists Mercedes should not be penalised for testing at Barcelona with its 2013 car. "Mercedes got permission to test the 2013 car," he is quoted by the German broadcaster RTL. "The tribunal will show who is right."
Lauda has reportedly wagered 50 euros with Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko over the outcome of Thursday's hearing, with the latter saying: "If this test is without consequence, negotiations about limiting costs will end and Pandora's box will open."
Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, however, reported that the job of Pirelli's F1 boss Paul Hembery could also be on the line "depending on what happens in Paris". Correspondent Livio Oricchio said Brawn, Lauda and Wolff should also be worried. "Public opinion in Europe has extraordinary strength, and changing leadership is a way to respond," he wrote. (GMM)
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