Back Mercedes to triumph in Canada as Red Bull and Ferrari threaten legal action


A legal row is erupting over Mercedes' testing of new tyres. Ralph Ellis thinks Red Bull and Ferrari are running scared ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix...

When the big guys of Formula One call for their lawyers you know one thing - they are worried they might be losing out on the track.

That's the subtext to the row over "secret" tyre testing which has been dominating the build-up to this Sunday´s Canadian Grand Prix. If Pirelli had invited Force India to supply a car and help them experiment with a new rubber compound, the bosses at Red Bull and Ferrari would have patted them on the head and thanked them for helping solve the problem that´s been forcing them to make three or four pit stops. But they didn´t. They asked Mercedes.

When Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton then locked out the front row of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, and Rosberg went on to win it, the alarm bells were set off. And if somebody had spotted a possible way to penalise the Mercedes team who were threatening to gatecrash the top of the constructors´standings, then it was time to call the men in suits.

On the face of it, what Ross Brawn´s outfit did by supplying an up-to-date car to help Pirelli´s testing should not be a major offence. All the teams were agreed that the new tyre compound for 2013, designed to degrade quicker and create more tactical races, needed changing. In the heat of races the wheels were falling apart so fast that drivers were having to go slower to protect them rather than quicker to win.

But in a sport where the rule book is thicker and with more dense type than the average telephone directory, even My Cousin Vinny wouldn´t have a lot of problems finding a sub-clause or two in the regulations that had been broken. "It´s not fair", they have all been screaming, like a toddler who has lost a game of snap.

The forecasts of what happens now vary wildly. Some reports say Hamilton and Rosberg could find themselves banned for a race, two races, or even longer. Others, like Jenson Button, expect Mercedes to get no more than a slap on the wrists and a fine.

Whichever way it goes, there will be another set of lawyers wheeled out to appeal so don´t expect the issue to affect who competes, or doesn´t, this weekend. But do let it bring you back to the original point of this - Red Bull and Ferrari are only so concerned about whether Mercedes may or may not have broken the rules because they are scared of the pace of their car.

Four consecutive pole positions tell you everything about the power behind the wheel of this year´s Mercedes. But curiously Betfair's market still doesn´t seem to have caught up with the engineering progression that Ross Brawn has made. Hamilton is only third favourite at 5.0 to be the race winner, with Rosberg an even longer price of 6.0.

The odds are generous enough that, just as we did in the last race, the best bet is to back Mercedes to be the winning team rather than try to decide which of their drivers will be the one who gets the chequered flag. This could be the weekend for Hamilton to win his first race - his record in Canada of two wins in the last three races underlines that it is one of his favourite circuits. But on the other hand he's admitted himself that he hasn't got the feel of his new car's brakes honed to perfection yet, and on a track where his late braking style is normally rewarded that could count against him. Rosberg, meanwhile, is in the form of his life and the confidence from winning the last time out will take him further.

The squabbling lawyers prove that Mercedes are now up among the big boys. Another Grand Prix success would simply ruffle their feathers even more.

Recommended Bet
Back Mercedes to be the winning car in the Canadian Grand Prix at 2.64

(Source: Betfair


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