Motor racing: FIA accuses Mercedes of gaining from illegal test

PARIS (Reuters) - Formula One's governing body accused the Mercedes team on Thursday of breaking the rules by testing in Spain with tyre supplier Pirelli last month and benefiting from their involvement.

Mercedes, the team of 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton and Germany's Nico Rosberg, could face heavy sanctions if found guilty by a tribunal meeting at the International Automobile Federation (FIA) headquarters.

Mark Howard, the FIA's legal representative, opened the hearing by telling the four judges and tribunal president Edwin Glasgow that there was little factual dispute in the case presented to them.

Mercedes have said they tested at the Barcelona circuit after the Spanish Grand Prix with their 2013 car, but have stated that the test was organised by Pirelli - which is not a competitor - and they gained no advantage from it as a team.

They have also said they acted in good faith and believed they had secured the approval of the FIA.

Howard said their action was a clear breach of the ban on teams testing during the season with a current car.