Red Bull and Ferrari protest Mercedes over tyre test

2013 Monaco Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2013Red Bull and Ferrari have launched a protest against Mercedes following the team’s tyre test after the Spanish Grand Prix.

“We’ll feel it’s not in line with the rules so that’s why we’ve protested before the race irrelevant of what the outcome of the race is,” said team principal Christian Horner. “We just want clarity.”

“I think it’s important to be brought to a head. I don’t think we’re probably the only team to that feels that way but I think that’s just the situation.”

“It’s not Pirelli’s fault. I think Pirelli need to sort their situation out. The problem is the manner in which this has been dealt with has not been right.”

Mercedes’ non-executive director Niki Lauda said Mercedes sought and obtained permission from the FIA to conduct the test. However the FIA Sporting Regulations forbid testing during the season.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn explained: “We were approached by Pirelli and asked about a tyre test. They were very concerned about some of the problems they were having recently. They didn’t feel the car they’d been using was representative.”

“Within their agreement with the FIA there’s a provision to ask any team to do a 1,000km tyre test. We ran that past the FIA, made sure they were happy with it, and they were. And we conducted the test after the race in Barcelona.”

“We didn’t know – when you do a Pirelli test you get codes, you don’t know what they tyres are. Each day there was a batch of tyres, we still don’t know what the conclusions from that are.”

Brawn denied the test was used to test new parts on the W04 and said they did not attempt to keep it a secret from the other teams:

“I don’t think it was secretive. While we were setting up to do the test all the other teams were still there. Why didn’t they see that our trucks weren’t going home. There was no attempt to make it a secret test.”

“It’s up to Pirelli to inform people if they wish to conduct a tyre test. It’s not our responsibility to advise people. So there was no attempt to make it secret.”

The FIA stewards confirmed the details of the hearing as follows:

“Protests have been lodged by Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari concerning an alleged breach of Article 22.4 h) of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.

“Both teams allege that the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team has conducted three days of track testing using a 2013 car on the 15th, 16th, 17th of May in Barcelona, i.e. between the period which precedes the start of the first Event of the championship and 31st December of the same year.”

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63 comments on Red Bull and Ferrari protest Mercedes over tyre test

  1. Rigi (@rigi) said on 26th May 2013, 16:17

    what a boring race that was, proves the fact that DRS does make f1 way more intresting!
    also the f1-tv-direction was absolutely awful, i want to see the cause of a yellow flag immediately and not 40 seconds after the incident, even i could direct races better…

    perfect drive from rosberg, definately driver of the weekend, kudos to perez and sutil for actually trying to make a move

  2. 5150 (@) said on 26th May 2013, 16:19

    Something really stinks in F1! I can’t believe this is happening!
    All these rules and restrictions and BS happening all over again. And with the blessing of FIA!?
    I think they (FIA and teams) aren’t aware that there’s a limit to peoples patience.

    This would be one too many controversy for me.

  3. q85 said on 26th May 2013, 16:20

    if what they have done is illegal, by that i mean they havent used a brilliant loop hole then they could be in big trouble. A few race ban at least would be the only punishment based on past incidents.

    Remember this team got banned for a few races in 2005

  4. W-K (@w-k) said on 26th May 2013, 16:24

    From what I have read and heard, it was Michelin that conducted the test, not Mercedes. Mercedes was one of the few teams that said they would help in tyre testing if Michelin organised one, which leads me to ask have Red Bull said “yes” in helping. If they are one of the teams that failed to answer the Michelin letter then they have absolutely no reason to complain, and the FIA should just throw out the protest and refuse to discus it.

  5. pH (@ph) said on 26th May 2013, 17:19

    According to Mercedes, they obtained no data on tires from Pirelli. The right question is, did they obtain any data on their car? Since they are not dummies, I expect that they were careful not to even try. If this is confirmed, then I can really see anything wrong done here and the whole affair should end quickly.
    I am curious concerning the car, though. In the days of limited resources and penalties for out-of-order gearbox changes, 1000 km is quite a lot. What car were they running? Some spare? Or were they due to engine/gearbox change anyway and decided to give the old one a good run down?

  6. I can`t believe FIA, Pirelli and Mercedes did that. What did the bunch of think the fallout would be? Pirellii has a problem with the 2013-spec tyres related to both durability and safety. They at least have to solve the safety issue.

    so what do the geniuses do? They test the new spec tyres on a 2013-spec car. It doesn`t matter if Mercedes got any data from the test or not as we can be pretty sure that the new spec-tyre is going to suit the Mercedes pretty well. Oh my God, what on earth were they thinking!!!

    So what is going to happen now? Will all the teams be offered a 1000 km test with different spec potentiial new tyres? Will all eleven teams have a saying in what spec tyres will be used in the next races? Or will Pirelli have to make yet another change and go for the 2012-spec tyres to avoid any hint of wrong-doing or tainting the championship. Or will Pirelli have to stick to the original 2013-spec tyres and hope there isn`t a big accident down the road.

    I still can`t believe professionals could make such a huge blunder of testing new-spec 2013 tyres on a 2013-spec car. Unbelieveable..

  7. Alonshow said on 27th May 2013, 23:21

    This is certainly no trivial issue, but the key is to realize that the FIA broke their own rules the very moment they signed that contract with Pirelli. Actually, it’s pretty clear: They have a rule that says that testing is not allowed. They signed a contract that says that testing was allowed. That contract is illegal by their very own rules. Then they broke those rules again by allowing Mercedes to test. The FIA is guilty and deserves a big penalty. The problem is, of course, that the FIA is the organization responsible for handing penalties for regulations infringements. If they break the rules themselves, what kind of penalty are they going to give to themselves? No points for the right answer, obviously.

    Regarding Mercedes, there’s not much to discuss. The rules say they can’t test. They tested. End of the story. The contract between Pirelli and the FIA is not even their business, and the fact that the FIA broke the rules doesn’t mean that it is OK that they break it as well. They also deserve a big penalty.

    Pirelli is guilty as well, although to a lesser extent. They knowingly signed an illegal contract and they helped Mercedes break the rules. They acted as wrong as Mercedes and the FIA, but they have the mitigatint circumstance that they only broke the rules by proxy. Still guilty, anyway.

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