Mercedes rivals considering protest over ‘tyre test’

2013 Monaco Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Cataunya, Barcelona, 2013The team which occupies the front row of the grid for today’s Monaco Grand Prix is at the centre of a technical row ahead of the race.

Mercedes’ rivals believe they infringed Formula One’s testing rules by covering 1,000km in a three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya following the Spanish Grand Prix.

Autosport claim Mercedes believe the test was legal as Formula One’s official tyre supplier Pirelli is allowed to conduct a test with one of the teams if it deems it necessary.

Pirelli has been under pressure to change its tyre compounds due to the high degradation seen at some races as well as a spate of tyre delaminations. Mercedes have been trying to understand why their car’s race performance is much worse than it’s one-lap pace in qualifying.

Formula One teams are banned from conducting testing during the racing season. But Mercedes’s non-executive chairman Niki Lauda says the team obtained permission from the sport’s governing body:

“It is very simple. We were asked by Pirelli, Mercedes. We asked the FIA are we allowed to do this. The FIA confirmed it and said ‘yes’ so therefore we did the test. I think other teams have been asked too.”

“There was one team that tested earlier. These tests can always come in cases of emergency. So Mercedes did absolutely nothing wrong. We asked the right people for permission and we got it.”

Article 22.4h of the Sporting Regulations states no track testing may take place “between the start of a ten day period which precedes the start of the first event of the championship and 31 December of the same year”.

The rule gives two exception to that limit:

“One three day young driver training test carried out on a date and site approved by the FIA following consultation with all teams. No driver who has competed in more than two F1 world championship races may take part in this test and all drivers must be in possession of an International A Licence.

“Four one day aerodynamic tests carried out on FIA approved straight line or constant radius sites between 1 February of the current year and the start of the last event of the championship. Any of these days may be substituted for four hours of wind-on full scale wind tunnel testing to be carried out in a single twenty four hour period.”

Last year’s Monaco Grand Prix pole sitter was also involved in a technical row ahead of the race. Red Bull were accused of infringing the rules with the design of their car’s floor.

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82 comments on Mercedes rivals considering protest over ‘tyre test’

  1. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 26th May 2013, 11:02

    This is outrageous, if Pirelli really has a special rule that allows it to conduct an ‘emergency’ test with one of the teams, this is not in the good spirit on the ban of in-season testing. Does anyone now what kind of tyres where tested? Pre or post Canada tyres?

  2. kkierann said on 26th May 2013, 11:15

    who was driving? that’s what I’d like to know…

  3. Dragon (@dragon88) said on 26th May 2013, 11:23

    It doesn’t matter who team concerned is – or whether there have been other teams before.
    This is just silly.

    The FIA sets a rule that in-season testing is banned (except straight line testing) and then gives Pirelli the chance to ask teams for private testing. Can’t they see that the two rules completely clash with each other?

  4. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 26th May 2013, 11:25

    The least you can call this (legal or not) is competition forgery!

  5. Ean (@ean) said on 26th May 2013, 11:43

    If Mercedez improves a lot today we know they gained an unfair advantage due to the test

  6. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 26th May 2013, 11:45

    So why didn’t Red Bull think of this?

  7. nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 26th May 2013, 11:49

    Gets me as to why everyone is moaning at Mercedes for doing it.. Mercedes were asked by Pirelli. You telling me that if they had asked any of the other teams they’d have said ‘no’

    I didn’t think so.

  8. sushant008 (@sushant008) said on 26th May 2013, 11:51

    So a Penalty in the making???

  9. Chema Carrasco (@chemakal) said on 26th May 2013, 12:08

    It seems clear that having the test been allowed by FIA, no penalty will be given. Why was it kept secret and only offered to Merc?
    If the Mercs perform well today then the championship has clearly and artificially been altered, there will be big protests from other teams, media and fans and the FIA will have to book MontmelĂł again for the rest of the geams to test

  10. frogster said on 26th May 2013, 12:14

    Redbull have confirmed they have officially launched a protest.

  11. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 26th May 2013, 12:28

    The other interesting point about this is that while Pirelli are saying publically that the FIA is running out of time to give them a contract for next year, they’ve clearly started developing tyres for next year. Which doesn’t seem like the actions of a company who are imminently about to announce their retirement from the sport, does it..

  12. karter22 (@karter22) said on 26th May 2013, 21:42

    PIRELLI, making tyres designed to team specs since 2011!!

    Really disgusting. People can criticize Bridgestone for producing “boring” races but every team knew the product and Bridgestone didn´t behave like Pirelli has. This is utterly frustrating!!

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