Four Mercedes rivals say they had no test invitation

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2013In the round-up: Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Force India have denied being invited to join Mercedes in their secret tyre test ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.


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Mercedes rivals not asked about test (Autosport)

“Leading Formula One teams Lotus, Ferrari and Red Bull insist they were never asked about the possibility of testing a 2013 car for Pirelli after the Spanish Grand Prix.”

Merc rivals: No requests to us (Sky)

“Lotus and Force India have claimed they received no direct invitation from Pirelli to complete a tyre test amid the ongoing controversy over Mercedes’ ‘secret’ running in Barcelona.”

Test was ‘underhand’ – Horner (ESPN)

“What’s wrong is that a team, in an underhand way, consciously tested tyres that were designed for this year’s championship.”

Renault to work on reducing engine costs (Reuters)

Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn: “We are not going to drop the price for anybody for 2014. But our commitment is every year we will be working hard to make this engine more efficient, to reduce the costs and then try to pass part of the cost reduction to the users.”

Mercedes F1 W04 – dual gearbox casing (F1)

“The new building technique used by Mercedes this year… allows them to move their car’s rear suspension pick-up points – normally attached directly to the gearbox casing – without having to change the gearbox itself and thus incur a penalty.”

Coulthard: “Monaco Grand Prix was rubbish” (BBC)

“When you have drivers clearly racing way below the pace they are capable of, that’s not right.”

F1 noise doesn’t rattle Pollution Control Dept (The Nation)

“The noise of Formula One race cars should not have much impact to sites along [Thailand’s] race circuit, Pollution Control Department director-general Wichien Jungrungruang said yesterday.”

What was behind Mercedes and Pirelli secret tyre test? (James Allen on F1)

“Their recent pronouncements have shown that Pirelli are fed up with being the whipping boy and are getting tougher in their stance; on Thursday Hembery said that Pirelli might not be in F1 next year if the teams, Ecclestone and the FIA don?t get their act together. That would put F1 in turmoil as it would be difficult for a new supplier to come in and tool up to produce F1 tyres at short notice in time for February testing, especially if they too have no opportunity to test the products on a race track.”


Comment of the day

@Calum spotted an interesting Monaco Grand Prix statistic:

They won the Indy 500 in 1915, they won Le Mans in 1952 and again in 1989, and they had won the Monaco Grand Prix before the Formula One era in 1933, 1936 and 1937.

Now Mercedes-Benz can join McLaren in having a triple crown which includes a Formula One Monaco Grand Prix win!

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

However we can say happy birthday to Eppie Wietzes who turns 75 today. The Canadian driver started his home grand prix twice in 1967 and 1974, on the former occasion joining Jim Clark and Graham Hill in the works Lotus entry.

110 comments on “Four Mercedes rivals say they had no test invitation”

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  1. Well actually Alonso it matters rather a lot: if you aren’t moving fast you come last!

    1. I’m glad to see he’s back on the philosophical tweets :-)

      1. @tdog they’re a good laugh! :)

    2. In fact, physics proves him wrong: time = distance / speed, so if you decrease the speed (as distance is a constant) you increase the time and you come last! Silly Alonso ;) (I do apologise, I was in a fairly easy high school physics exam today)

      1. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
        28th May 2013, 3:14

        @ vettel1 ha!
        but I think in that tweet, he’s referring to Sergio Perez.

        1. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
          28th May 2013, 3:15

          ugh mistype, @vettel1

        2. @adityafakhri I think it was more of a dig at Pirelli saying everyone is driving slowly, or maybe the stuff that was caught in his front wing losing him a bit of time (not a huge amount though) – so if he kept driving he’d still scrape something from it!

          1. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
            29th May 2013, 3:12

            @vettel1, he was complaining to Perez. but not because their duel on Nouvelle chicane, it’s Perez slowing in Rascasse because he retired. in effect, Alonso lose another place to Button.

            I don’t think he was tweeting about the tyre since Ferrari doing better than RB and Merc.

      2. @vettel1

        His sentence only makes sense if everybody thinks the same or can’t go faster, otherwise, that’s probably the dumbest thing he said/wrote in a while.

      3. You were great at physics but you sucked at philosophy. You don’t even get the point.

        1. @psi I was being sarcastic. *sigh*

      4. point is that if you have some goal its still better to move toward it slowly then stop…
        no physics involved in this one

        1. Thank you.

        2. Well he certainly put the breaks on his championship progress last weekend! ;)

    3. Irony in that statement is that it is exactly what Rosberg did.

    4. “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”
      Says the man who got overtaken the most IN MONACO!!!
      (From the champ contenders, he was the only one being overtaken constantly)

      1. @mateuss
        yep, he could have done what Raikkonen did, but he chose to take the 6 points in end….We will see in the end if these 6 points are important or not..

        “champ contenders”–> to who you refere ??
        I personally see only 3 Vettel, Raikkoenen and Alonso….

        Vettel was never under threat from Webber (if you didn’t know they drive the same car…)
        Raikkonen decide to defend and finish 10th
        Alonso let them through and finish 7th..
        But as he said, he could have done what he did in 2008 and 2009: drive for fun, change front wing and have fun…go re-watch the Monaco gp 2008

        1. @nomore Yeah, I mean the top drivers in the standings or top runners generally, from Rosberg to Kimi (before the contact I mean). I say that, because I am not aware of all the overtakes, a lot of things we miss on the live feed, like VDG being overtaken (and the moves made by Kimi as well which is a shame). So it is basically not to imply that he got overtaken the most out of all drivers, because there might be some mid or backfielder who got overtaken more, I don’t know, it is a shame we don’t see everything at least in a statistical way.

          I don’t see how your example with Kimi contradicts my point (if you intended it that way). Sure, Alonso did the smarter thing for sure, but what Kimi did was not go faster, but defend and go even slower when he was already relatively slow.

          I think the statement Alonso made still is ironic and wrong, made funnier still by the fact he just won a couple of weeks ago in Spain by going fast and stooping more then some…

          Maybe he meant something else, maybe he just is playing some politics or mind games, maybe he just made a silly statement or excuse. But we don’t know that and have to take the text for what it is.
          Maybe he ran out of available characters, don’t expect good thought out philosophies in 140 characters.

    5. statement refers to his small points haul in Monaco being better than no points..only positive I guess with Vettel coming second

  2. On another note, I do hope Murray has a speedy recovery. I’m sure his determination will get him back on his feet quickly and he’ll be back to his usual self!

  3. It appears Alonso has been hanging with Narain Karthikeyan

    1. @d3v0 or that collared dove that kept sitting on the track and nearly getting hit!

    2. Or he found a hippie community

  4. “The new building technique used by Mercedes this year… allows them to move their car’s rear suspension pick-up points – normally attached directly to the gearbox casing – without having to change the gearbox itself and thus incur a penalty.”

    Then why did Hamilton have the five place grid penalty in Bahrain?

    1. @hunocsi because the gearbox was broken on that occasion. This applies only to the mounting points for the suspension on the gearbox casing, which usually can’t be changed without having a new and different gearbox!

      1. It is impressive how many incidents last year for a “Faulty Gearbox” were only due to things RELATED to the gearbox, and not the said component, itself.

  5. Happy to hear DC say it

    1. Think its also worth pointing out that DC has been one of the biggest defenders of Pirelli (And DRS) since 2011 when it comes to people on the TV broadcasts.

      The fact that both DC & Martin Brundle (Who has also been a big defender of Pirelli & DRS) are now starting to speak out against Pirelli (And DRS in Brundle’s case) having been so Pro both until now perhaps shows that things have definitely gone way too far & that the balance between show & racing is now skewed too far the wrong way.

      1. Last year the tyres were so inconsistent no one was able to really stay on form, therefore it was hard to judge exactly what we were seeing.

        This year we basically have precession racing again with DRS simply allowing everyone to keep shuffling the deck lap after lap. It’s really not racing a t this point. With these tyres you could probably do way with DRS completely and we would have some pretty exciting racing.

    2. I said yesterday, and I stand by it. It was BORING!

      1. @celeste …As all the Monaco GPs, what else can we expect from 72 laps constantly turning sharp and nowhere to overtake properly without “pushing” rivals?
        The Monaco score, which looks to be 7.5 or around, takes into account the borefest it usually is.
        If I go to a fast food restaurant, I don’t expect silver fork and knife (Alons-esque quote :P)

        1. The Monaco score, which looks to be 7.5 or around

          Luckily, not.

          Even though the 7s and 8s seem to carry it, the 1-5 section is much stronger than usually (quite a lot of people actually realized that mayhem in the midfield is not equal to good racing, while the leaders lap slower than the backmarkers).

          So we will probably have a more realistic, though slightly still too strong, 6 point whatever.

    3. Did DC not watch Monaco GP’s of previous years?

      2012 & 2011 were identical to Sunday’s: one-stoppers lapping slowly to avoid the potential of making a second stop.

      2010 was just as uneventful: Tyres that could last the entire race distance with no degradation.

      It’s Monaco. Surely everyone who follows F1 knows what to expect?

      1. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
        28th May 2013, 6:39

        but if you’re looking more previous races like 2004 and 2005 Monaco, DC’s view is completely justified. the sad thing about Monaco is, the kind of duel between Senna and Mansell is never gonna happen again.

        1. that duel was all about one person having fresh tyres and the other not.

          whats the difference.

        2. Well, it sort of did happen: Kimi had to pit for fresh tyres in the end, like Mansell, but he was able to overtake other cars.

          1. Kimi showed us what we are missing this season with the silly Perelli tyres: real racing, even at Monaco.

      2. So what? DC is talking about Monaco 2013, does he have to mention alla Monaco GPs ever held that were “rubbish” to be allowed to share his opinion?

    4. Well he is part of Redbull’s stable…

      1. Oh please, we all know you like Ferrari this is getting boring now.

    5. The only reason I really liked that Monaco GP was: a) it’s Monaco and b) the re-start was actually quite good: the conservation wasn’t too drastic that it detracted from the racing (although I suppose that can be put to the fact we started from a clean slate).

      I do think these tyres still need changed though, as it shouldn’t all be about tyre conservation, that should just be an element. That is why I think the benchmark should be a two stop with the possibility of a one stop, which should in theory be slower.

      1. Yeah, I felt that after the restart we got some interesting on track action with Perez and Sutil going for it, Di Resta also did his fair share of overtaking, and in the end we (didn’t see but hear about) Kimi catching up to get back to 10th.

    6. Who Red Bull David Coulthard?

      1. Exactly. Red Bull loved the tyres in previous years so Coulthard defended them. Red Bull won the previous Monaco Gp’s so they were great no matter how boring. Now the tyres aren’t good for Red Bull and Monaco was won by a Mercedes, obviously this tyres are bad and Monaco sucks.
        Now lets go and collect that Red Bull paycheck.

  6. I think the “secret” tyre test story was saved for the weekend to give us something of interest to talk about.

  7. In other news, Mercedes’ Toto Wolf asked FIA for permission to go to the toilet. 4 teams didn’t hear about it, so they took out all the toilet paper as a punishment,

    1. lol the situation is getting very childish

    2. @omarr-pepper

      Except having more experience with the toilet paper may give Toto the competitive edge. And given that practice runs are meant to be offered to all the teams, so they can try all at the same time. It’s no wonder they are upset at not being asked.

      1. There are no “practice” runs. They’re all pretty serious.

        1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          28th May 2013, 8:17

          You can’t have any “practice” runs when going to the bathroom (toilet) is involved. They often end up very messy!

      2. I believe that these were all straight line runs, so what’s the problem. I’d be more worried if he’d put it down as a filming day.

    3. What is childish about breaking the rules

      1. Childish are the rules. Telling Pirelli to make artificially weak tyres so that we have pit stops but not so much that it limits the cars’ performance and make them test them with obsolete cars? Even reading this sentence is funny. I say break the rules and let FIA deal with it until they realize that F1 should be ran with the high end of technology available at the time. The best tyres on the best cars available. When they limit something for safety, that’s one thing. Limiting something just for the **** of it so people see pit stops, that’s balls. Give them all the testing they want and stop the ‘levelling the playing field’ rules. You got more money you have the better car. It was like that in the 80s and we all loved it. Sometimes a Schumacher comes and you get 5 years with the same winner. Tough luck. But I don’t think that even with rules you can stop that. Either let them build whatever they want or just give the same car to everybody and we’ll see formula ford.

  8. Three cheers for Pirelli and Mercedes for doing the right thing.
    Does the world really think building such advanced tech with stringently limited testing is wise and sustainable?

    F1 has increasingly degenerate and contrived rules (options+primes, single tyre supplier,
    gearbox rules, engine rules, limited testing). These at times run counter
    to safety (limited rookie running, don’t change that part and run until it breaks in race, can’t
    find out why tyres are failing, can’t even change tyre supplier).

    They’ve been living on borrowed time until a situation such as this arose.
    It is a safety issue, and the rules have been getting in the way of addressing the delamination.

    I can’t imagine the FIA seriously imposing anything other than a token huff-fine, because this has been
    clearly a safety issue with the Mercedes 2013 car the standout tyre shredder. Even a huff-fine is dumb —
    the FIA should also consider the legal implications of preventing teams and or tyre suppliers for addressing safety issues, since what if someone were to get hurt in an avoidable way in future?

      1. cynicism

        Who can argue against more safety?

        1. @boylep6 they are not arguing against safety they are arguing about cheating and deception

          1. quite the point.

            RB, Ferarri will argue about sporting advantage, while Pirelli and Mercedes
            will counter that with the safety trump card. The test was after all initiated by Pirelli, and Merc selected because of the delamination issue, and believing they could at least make the case they thought they were operating within one interpretation of the rules & contract.

            I don’t think it can go that badly because it will degenerate into he said she said in terms of the approval of a test and selection of merc.

            bottom line though is if you can reasonably say there was safety issue and you acted in the best interests of safety, esp when initiated by pirelli who held terms roughly like this with FIA, they are bound to get away lightly.

          2. @celeste anytime they aren’t the ones that are at the top end of something they’ll complain. Doesn’t that justify their reasoning for complaining which is easily chalked up to, self-centered ideals. When the shoe is on the other foot it’s fine and don’t worry about us, but the moment someone else does it, pots and pans crash just so the FIA is well aware.

          3. @magillagorilla who are you talking about? Willis

          4. RBR mainly, but Ferrari do it too, and McLaren usually only do it when RBR are winning too much. @celeste
            In this case I was mainly going on about RBR.

    1. Ferrari as a team has so much power, (more than all the others, you know) that in the end their complaint (together with RedBull, Lotus and Force india’s) will effectively deliver some punishment for Mercedes, and with that, it will make this championship a little lacklustre. If they dismiss Rosberg as the winner, so then the winner will be Vettel… would be so ironic for Ferrari to help Seb in that way. They should just let it go. The teams are warned about the “extra” test, don’t do it boys! being more energetic will only help Ferrari’s rivals.

      1. @omarr-pepper race result won´t be touch even if Mercedes is found guilty. What is in discussion is penalties for the rest of the season and something that will give all the teams the opportunity to game the same information and learning that Mercedes and their drivers got during this 3 day test.

      2. @boylep6 Very well said in your above 2 posts, and I can only add that I too think this test was necessary, time was of the essence, and it is probably for the best that Pirelli didn’t use a top 3 team, such would be the hoopla far greater than it is. All the teams, including Mercedes, will have access and gain knowledge on whatever new effort Pirelli presents, at the same time, and I highly doubt anyone is actually expecting Mercedes to now be a threat for the Championships with what little inevitable knowledge they might have gleaned for what amounts to a short time advantage if any. Merc is likely just as in the dark about what the tires will be like for Montreal as any other team.

        They’ll still have to take the same tires as everyone else and make them work on a certain day under said day’s conditions, which cannot be predicted at this time. And their car has a rear tire issue that is likely not going to just reverse itself from one test where data was not shared, nor from new tires that won’t be meant to stray too far from the tires the teams were given data on last September for their current chassis to be designed around. Pirelli knows anything otherwise would be unethical aside from being unfair, and it’s too obviously much of a risk for them to take it wouldn’t be worth it. Or, thought of another way…if they thought they were taking a huge risk employing a team and a 2013 car and Merc, then that tells us the sense of urgency they must have felt.

        Ultimately I believe all teams, and the racing, should slightly improve with slightly improved tires, and with so many races to go everything will come out in the wash. I do not believe for a second that Pirelli would do anything underhanded…testing with any team was going to cause a stir for the other teams, and they all know that, and Merc was a pretty safe option…the most volative being RBR. Imagine how the rest of the season would go if THEY got to do the test, after being so vocal. So in the end I think it is posturing to bemoan not being asked to do the test, and the end goal is for everyone to benefit anyway. I’ll be surprised if anyone is actually slowed by revised tires.

    2. Though I do not agree with actions of Mercedes as per rule set, I fully support your sniping at the current F1 model. Limits should be off and competition should take care of the rest, with minimal regulatory involvement.

    3. Problem-solving: Is there someone that can fire Ecclestone?

  9. If Mercedes asked the FIA if it was OK to do the test and the FIA said there was no issue, I don’t think any penalty should go to Mercedes.

    It can’t be their responsibility to make sure Pirelli followed the correct protocol in setting up the test, can it?

    1. Any shady business that goes down in F1 is definitely Bernie’s brainchild.

      I think Mercedes will be hard to blame since FIA granted them permission. If FIA knew they were using the 2013 car, they directly ignored some of the rules they set themselves. So this makes maybe Jean Todt the scapegoat.. but I would be surprised if Bernie wasn’t the puppeteer.

      Maybe Bernie took another bribe from Mercedes

      1. This whole row is going to end up with almost all the blame, fairly or unfairly, being placed on pirelli and will probably be used as leverage by Bernie to get them out of f1 for 2014. I think the most Mercedes will get is a substantial fine, which will still be virtually nothing to them.

        1. @breesegp That would be the stupidest thing for FOM today, if they are actually trying to do so. Unless they can get a group to make a tire for F1 under the certain rules the FOM seem to want and in two to three months in time for testing??? I don’t see it happening. If Pirelli leave they’ll do it in a way that may leave F1 high and dry (if possible) and I don’t know what F1 can do in a crunch time if they don’t have tires to run on for the most technical changed season to date -2014.

  10. The last line of the James Allen article says it all:

    “This issue is not about testing, it’s about F1′s dysfunctionality at this moment.”

    The whole article is worth a read and the bottom line is too true. My guess is that Pirelli is forcing the issue to show how untenable the whole situation is. That way they can bow out somewhat gracefully with as much of their sullied reputation intact as possible when F1 fails to act prudently to address the tire contract for 2014. (Not to mention the 2013 issues.)

    F1’s dysfunctionality is setting the sport up for even bigger tire problems next season.

    1. Its a good read, and that last line hits the nail on the head.

      One good question from the comments on the JAonF1 article, is that somebody asked about what engine Mercedes used whilst testing. Did they use one of their 8 allocated engines, and for 3 races worth of testing, that’s going to cause a lot of wear!

      I would also ask the same about the gearbox.

      1. I just have a feeling that things will sort themselves out at least regarding tires. I thought Hemberey had already hinted that next year’s tires wouldn’t have to ‘contribute to the show’ as much (my wording) due to the fact that the totally new engine/chassis packages should be enough to shake up the field and make for variable winners from a wider variation in performance levels as teams deal with all the newness. And if the tires need to withstand way more torgue, then that just tells me they’ll be back to having more durable stable tires next year, which we know Pirelli knows how to make. And I would suggest this…if Pirelli might actually not be in F1 next year, and we armchairers are now privy to articles that imply that possibility, then I’m sure there are a few makers, like Michelin perhaps, that are poised as we speak to be available, and we know they too know how to make a durable stable tire, probably in fairly short order, such is their recent enough experience in F1. ie. tires should be one of F1’s easiest dysfunctionalities to tackle going forward, imho.

        1. Hemberey had already hinted that next year’s tires wouldn’t have to ‘contribute to the show’ as much

          actually what he mentioned @robbie, was that they couldn’t be soft and on edge, because no one would be sure of how the engines stressed them, so they would be max one stop per race kind of tyres (I would go for tyres that do not HAVE to stop).

  11. Re COTD – not sure why this GP is the one that gave Mercedes the triple crown: if you count the 1915 Indy 500, then why don’t you count the Monaco Grand Prix wins in the 1930s? Yes, it wasn’t a Formula 1 race, but I’d say that doesn’t really matter for the triple crown, does it?

  12. Curious how they’ll handle this. Right now I don’t see any compromise or way to handle this that wouldn’t cause further controversy or even cause a lot more problems for 2014.

    1. That’s where the cleverness of Mercedes’ move lies.

      The blame is of course on both Pirelli and Mercedes, BUT with different proportions.
      Pirelli’s Perspective, they need to improve the tire, they were being bombarded with bad publicity and negative reviews; they hinted at going to last year’s recipe and FIA did not allow them to – according to the regulations (and maybe some lobbying from Ferrari). They had to do something and went for the 1000KMS test but with a current car; they thought they would pinpoint the problem and save face. They’re interest in Mercedes doing the test is because Mercedes offered the 2013 car and here’s the big breach.

      Mercedes’ Perspective, trying to resolve the tire issue did not work for Mercedes and they got impatient, looking like amateurs; kings on Saturday and fools on Sunday. The next thing they did was a direct swipe at FIA daring them to accept what they now know or kick them out of the championship. Of course they would have loved for the whole thing to stay secret but the chance of getting out into the open was immense.

      What they know now cannot be unknown and Pirelli cannot change the compounds to something completely new again. So we are faced with either continuing with the current tires when Mercedes clearly breached regulations and demystified them – eventually for the benefit of all but mostly themselves. Or go back to the 2012 tires that everyone knows and Mercedes overcame over the summer according to them.

      So why is FIA is in a tough spot? The ruling body has been clearly disobeyed and while it would have been easy to disqualify Marussia, Mercedes is a big name in the sport and they represent the new big investment and (potential) success story after Red Bull. Bernie would not want them out at all. How hefty can a fine be? Hefty enough to bankrupt the team – it’s like disqualifying them. So my bet is that Mercedes created this standoff to put FIA on the spot and say: well now we know about the tires, what are you going to do about it?

      Of course all of the above is rubbish if they continue to struggle but something tells me they won’t struggle at least as much. Maybe now just as much as Red Bull; which brings me to the next point: what is Ferrari and RB going to ask for?

      While they have asked for the tires to change, they did not ask for the favor to be given to Mercedes alone. So now, in the sake of fairness, FIA has to organize 3 days of testing for everyone (I am sure Mercedes will argue that they need to take part as “they did not know what compounds they we’re testing”); is that feasible and when will it take place?

      Even this test will not erase the fact that Mercedes willingly defied FIA to put the ruling body on the spot; I am intrigued as to how FIA will handle this!

  13. I am starting to be fed up with the testing ban. It was introduced to reduce costs but teams will always find other ways to spend their way to victory. Its strange that the top category in motorsport cannot test on the track throughout the season (apart from some straight line tests). Everyone is complaining about the Pirtelli tyres, but i think they are doing an excellent job given how little testing they are allowed to do.

    Lets say that they do indeed quit F1. What a farce that would be when the next tyre manufacturer would not be able to test their product, and will be expected to produce a racing tyre by February. One that degrades just right to give us 2-3 pit stops and one that doesn’t delaminate, etc. Why would any tyre company even go there?

    I understand cost cutting but this is getting too much. The best way to cut costs would be to simply not bother with F1 at all. or just have fiat puntos driving around. What a bargain. And lots of overtaking.

    These controversies around secret testing, and artificial racing due to tyres is, in my opinion, costing F1 more than if they allowed the teams to test. If people tune in to watch a race and all they hear is tyre this and tyre that, and then after the race the result of the GP is pending a ruling by the FIA about a “secret” tyre test, there is risk that F1 will lose many fans and lots of money as a result. It does cut costs but revenues as well.

    Plus i think testing might actually be quite interesting for fans. Just look at pre-season. Fans who cannot afford a GP ticket, or dont have a race close to their country would be able to see F1 cars live. The media could talk about upgrades etc. Young drivers could get some experience. I think these things are worth the cost.

    1. I thought the whole point of not having testing is because it is expensive, particularly in this current climate and era of (attempting) RRA’s.
      The car, the parts, the team and staff (sometimes a separate “testing team”) all have to be flown or transported to the circuit being used, add in the accommodation costs and additional time spent away from the family, and it is a lot to ask in this politically correct time.

      However, I agree that they DO need in-season testing, and they already have the perfect opportunity to carry it out: directly after a race.
      If the FIA allowed, say, 3 test sessions per season and they were all after particular races, then the teams would already be there, so there would be no additional costs of ferrying the cars around (they would, in fact, be leaving a day or two later). In theory, the only additional cost would be staff accommodation.

      By having 3 set sessions, each team could choose whether to run or not. They would also be after certain races where there is a 2 or 3 week gap to the next race, running on the Monday after.

      They may have to look at engine / gearbox rules to accommodate these tests, although if they were left alone, then the teams could be forced into an interesting decision of either testing or looking after their engines and so keeping more power for the races (assuming it makes a significant difference).

      Going forwards, I think this is going to become a bigger issue going into 2014 with the new rules for the cars and engines, and also new tyres, so testing is going to be invaluable to the teams and I wonder if this whole row is also going to bring this to the fore.

  14. James Allen sums it up very well: Formula 1 isn’t functioning right. There are some fundamental flaws in the Formula 1 ecosystem which cannot simply be erased. What’s unfair is that Pirelli is becoming the punching bag of the F1 paddock, since it’s their tyres which seem to be causing a lot of trouble. I have been critical of Pirelli myself and to be honest the only two thing they appear to have done wrong is 1. make the 2013 tyre too aggresive, and 2. not notice Mercedes were testing a 2013 car in contrast to Ferrari – I mean, at least one person should have noticed that, right?

    Who’s to blame, then? You can point fingers to Bernie Ecclestone, the FIA and certainly the teams, but I’d say we have more or less grown into this unsustainable situation without any of those party having the sense of responsibility (or the guts) to speak up. As such, it has slowly become worse over time; the bomb bursting was inevitable.

    What I mean with that is that we have a classic Mexican standoff, with everyone pointing pistols at everyone. “If you don’t do this, then I’ll do this” “If you don’t comply, I will stop supplying”. The way forwards is the teams, the FIA and Bernie admitting that this situation is a mess and acknowledging the only way to solve it is to be more transparent and complient. F1 needs a new Concorde Agreement and a tyre supplier for 2014, but if parties don’t stop blatantly ignoring these issues I’m afraid it won’t happen.

    1. not notice Mercedes were testing a 2013 car in contrast to Ferrari – I mean, at least one person should have noticed that, right?

      I think you’ll find that Pirelli were perfectly aware of it. The decision to run the test makes the most sense if they appproached Mercedes because the F1 W04 is notoriously hard on its tyres. Theoretically, if they could solve Mercedes’ problems, then they have solved every team’s problems.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys But the thing I don’t understand is: why did Pirelli think this was legal while it’s starting to look like it’s illegal after all? Did they not check with the FIA? Poor communication with Mercedes?

        1. @andae23 – I don’t believe they would have carried out the test without believing they had a precedent for it.

        2. Because Pirelli have a contract saying they can test with a current car. And they asked the FIA if a 2013 car would be covered. Then the rest was probably as much about taking a bit of a gamble to force the issue as possible desperation that they wouldn’T get anything done otherwise (just look at the discussion about the new Canada spec being accepted/not accepted by teams – is it safety, is it not, who likes it, who does not) @andae23

  15. You’d think that the sensible thing to do now would be for the FIA to re-evaluate their rules. When you have situations such as this, because of contradicting rules, then it’s definitely time to sit down and sort everything out, otherwise more situations like this will pop up in the future and cause more controversy.

    By all means, look into the test to ensure that nothing under-handed was done, and no advantage gained, but please, the most important issue here is how much of a mess F1 can get itself into, simply because the rules don’t seem to be evaluated on a regular basis.

  16. Red bull use flexible bodywork for years an get away with it yet Mercedes get invited by pirelli to a tyre test and people are screaming for them to be eliminated from the championship, encased in concrete dropped in the Marianas trench :-)

    1. In that case, drop Red Bull there too just for good measure! :)

    2. You say “and get away with it” as if Red Bull broke a rule, which they didn’t.

      Whereas Mercedes may very well have broken article 22.4h of the Sporting Regulations.

    3. There’s a key difference between breaking a rule and exploiting one. Red Bull exploited the flexible bodywork rules, Mercedes may have broken the testing rule. If they haven’t though then fair play but I still feel every team should have had the opportunity to test: this situation has many key differences with Red Bull’s in that respect as every team had equal opportunity to exploit that rule, but many just didn’t spot it!

  17. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    28th May 2013, 10:53

    Another stupid Coulthard article to add to my collection. I have a whole folder of them now! And no point does that article hold validity. OK, four stops in Barcelona did make things hard to follow, especially because it was not uniform with some drivers opting into a three stop, but that was exactly the case in 2011, with those of three stops, Jenson Button for example, coasting for much of the race, whilst Vettel and Hamilton had to push harder in order to make their four stops work. This was precisely the dynamic we had between Alonso and Raikkonen in Spain, but whilst this year’s race was condemned as too extreme and hard to follow, whereas the 2011 race was held up as a “great race”, although that was probably some fans simply buoyed by the fact that it wasn’t one of the snore fests that 2011 had already hosted.

    And then we arrive at this year’s Monaco GP, a race of two halves, with the first half a tense game of chess between the main protagonists, a game cut short by a safety car, which also mixed up the order, resulting in an incident packed fight for track position in the later stages. I loved it. OK, as Coulthard rightly says, some of the poor driving standards from Perez and Grosjean cast something of a shadow over that second half, but as a spectacle unfolding before me, it was epic. As for Coulthard, I have do idea what he was expecting. The Monaco GP last year saw the tyres play an influential role, with all participants locked into having to do a one-stop and therefore having to look after them so they could make the distances, however what we didn’t see in 2012 was any of the side-by-side mayhem. So 2012, a race with no thrills or spills, was it described as “rubbish”? No, it wasn’t a classic by any means, but we, the fans, were all so swept away with the concept of six winners in six races, we all rather forgot the fact that it was a pretty poor race. And that is the crux of this issue; context.

    In 2011 we were so pleased by the fact that a driver in anything other than a RB7 could fight for the win, we all forgot the rather confusing natures of the Chinese and Spanish Grands Prix. And then Sky arrived, and even though the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix was terrible, Sky still had to fill x number of hours of analysis in their coverage, which they spent celebrating six winners in six races and making us F1 fans feel all warm and wonderful about ourselves. And then we were all spoilt by a brilliant 2012, and a gripping title fight. We arrived in 2013 expecting more of the same only to find that a certain German already had his towel on a fourth title, and with Sky searching to someone to blame we arrive with Pirelli, who have seemingly been the sole subject of Sky’s broadcasts. The purists pipped up as did the mainsteamers, and we ended up here, in this fine mess, where we can’t recognize a good race if it comes up and oversteers into our faces. However, fear not, that was just my signature optimist’s perspective…

    1. @william-brierty

      and with Sky searching to someone to blame we arrive with Pirelli, who have seemingly been the sole subject of Sky’s broadcasts.

      You do know Coulthard works for the BBC, right?

      1. If you were actually watching the Sky coverage you would see a good mix of opinions regarding the tyres.

        Brundle has been critical of them this year, David Croft has criticized them but also defended the effect they had on Monaco.
        Johnny Herbert has been extremely defensive of them, Damon Hill has been split & Ted Kravitz has been neutral.

        So out of everyone one Sky you only have 1 person (Martin Brundle) that really been critical of the tyres & even then its only the 2013 tyres as he’s said he liked how they were in 2011 but thinks they started to go a bit too far in 2012 & have gone way too far in 2013.

        The coverage of the Pirelli 2013 tyres on sky has been very fair I think.

    2. @william-brierty F1 is far too polarised is the main issue here: the option is not simply four stop races or no stop races.

      The Barcelona race was a shambles; four stops is excessive and only harms the racing, not improving it. I don’t buy the frequently thrown around excuse that it makes the racing “hard to follow” as it’s still pretty simple however that doesn’t mean I like to follow it as it is – tyre conservation shouldn’t dominate the races, only influence them. That was the case late last year and through much of 2011 which was a good balance so I don’t understand why Pirelli have felt the need to change that.

      I think 1/2 stops, with the possibility of a 0/1 stop which will naturally not allow you to drive at 100% but may allow you to gain track position and maintain it (a strategy which could be used by those starting further down the field) I feel is an ideal compromise. In order for that to happen DRS has to go, as it makes overtaking far too easy. The whole concept needs re-structured: I’d actually like to see DRS itself go completely and ERS take all the influence. In order for that to work though the FIA needs to go ahead with the initially proposed changes which limited the effect of dirty air on cars (ideally, ban front wings, only allow single plain rear wings and re-introduce restricted ground effect). That way overtaking is possible by being the last of the late brakers and getting a good tow but not ridiculously easy as it is with DRS, so you could make my proposed strategy work by another element which has gone from F1 with the advent of DRS: defensive driving.

      Really, I think the problem all stems from the F1’s idea that seemingly this is a black and white issue when in reality there is a rainbow in between. Indestructible tyres isn’t the answer but nor is cheese-ball tyres.

      We arrived in 2013 expecting more of the same only to find that a certain German already had his towel on a fourth title

      That could not be further from the truth: if anything, Red Bull are in the least commanding position they have been in since early 2012. The Ferrari is a much better car in the races and the Mercedes has taken their qualifying gauntlet, so they are very vulnerable to attack starting from behind the silver arrows but just ahead of the prancing horses and the, eh, flowers (referring to Lotus). The only reason really they are leading both championships by the margins they are is because Ferrari have encountered a few problems.

      I’m not saying Red Bull aren’t in a good position as they clearly are, but it’s far from a forgone conclusion that they’ll walk away with this championship.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        29th May 2013, 11:29

        @vettel1 – That is an excellent rebuckle, Max, but one that takes my previous post all too literally. My post is a condemnation of hypocrisy, pointing out similarities between races, and how differently they have been interpreted by the fans via several influencing factors. We expected more of the brilliance that was much of 2012, however we ended up we something of a warped F1 2013, with tyres becoming just too influential. However the reaction, such as that from Coulthard, has become all too overt and is forgetting the great spectacle the F1 races still continue to serve up to their audiences. You listen to “purist” F1 fans and it is as if, with DRS and these tyres, F1 has been raped beyond reversal, that it is nothing more than “Bernie’s Puppet Show! Sponsored by Pirelli”, but that is just insanity. Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen, Rosberg and, before long, Hamilton, are winners in 2013, so with the five best drivers in F1 winning in 2013, how is it anything less than a fair, yet entertaining, sporting competition? It certainly would be unfair if Pirelli were to overhaul the tyres mid-season thus disadvantaging those that developed their cars towards tyre management, but conveniently handing one team a handy advantage.

        And that leads me neatly onto Red Bull, a team with the points and power. They have what is probably the best car out there, a car that has some of the raw qualifying pace of the Mercedes but also some of the Ferrari race pace. All Newey needs to do is minimally improve the Red Bull management and they’ll have a clear advantage, and this a team that won the championship in 2012 without a clear advantage. They have a 29 point advantage over their only real championship rival, and that is a very comfortable margin in a reliable yet fast racing car. Red Bull have the advantage, and they are not the kind of team that’d waste it. Saying that, in the long term, I don’t think they are the team in the best position. I think Mercedes have approached 2013 perfectly, and have built a fast car and an excellent platform for 2014, but by their own admission are not capable of launching a sustained title challenge. That means, whilst Lotus, Red Bull and Ferrari are continuing the develop their 2013 packages to say in the title hunt, Mercedes can sit back and concentrate on creating a killer W05, a car that I fully expect to take Hamilton to his second title.

        Regarding your suggestion about maximisng ERS by reducing the downforce of the cars, I think that is the last thing F1 needs. We would have young bouncy drivers jumping out of their GP2/World Series Renault cars to find a chasis that has less downforce than the car they just left. If anything, F1 needs to get faster, not slower, to maintain its status as a championship on a completely different plateau to all others, and in order to maintain that status, the DRS is a rather neat little tool, allowing drivers to battle wheel-to-wheel in the fastest cars in the world. I don’t think it is the nature of the DRS that needs to be changed I simply think it is the application, so instead of the FIA hurredley rushing to apply it on the longest straights in F1 I’d like to see in in places that don’t normally offer overtaking, or perhaps to help drivers maintain close order through the twistier sectors of the tracks. For example, if I was Todt, I’d dramatically reduce the size of the DRS zone on the back straight at Canada, but perhaps have another one between the two chicanes in the middle sector.

        p.s. Sorry for my slow reply, I accidently found myself in Selfridges and rather lost track of time…

        1. @william-brierty absolutely the best drivers are still winning and I think that will always be the case, however the rules change. However, I don’t feel that is an excuse for the articiality – the racing hasn’t been very good recently I don’t feel and that I think must be changed.

          However, I do agree that the rules shouldn’t be changed while the game is being played. Absolutely the construction must be changed as that is a pretty serious safety concern – I dread to think of the consequences if someone had a delamination at Eau Rouge. The tyres aren’t safe.

          Compounds wise though I think this situation was just the fault of Pirelli being too bold but without the necessary data – as they’ve said the blown diffuser effect of these cars is far greater than they anticipated. That is why I think the compounds should be finalised well before the end of the previous season, so the teams have plenty opportunity to aid Pirelli and help themselves. As it stands though I just hope they suss them out quickly enough.

          Regarding ERS again though, I’m not so much suggesting that we completely cut aerodynamic influence, just change the philosophy. Remove the very aero-sensitive parts such as front wings and limit single-plain rear wings, the re-introduce ground effect.

          What I would do though all round is reduce aero dependency and increase the importance of ERS and engines in general as that can be more road relevant. Also, if cars produce 1000+bhp as they used to they’ll be far more difficult to drive which is what we want after all is it not? That way the skill set of a very good driver comes through even more and the cars will actually be faster likely!

          Besides, I’ve always found ERS to be a far less artificial way of enhancing the racing than DRS.

  18. Excuse my ignorance, but why did so many cars fit used Super-softs after the red flag and then drive 2 seconds beneath their top speed? Why not fit new Softs and go for it – they aren’t 2 seconds a lap slower? Or had they fueled so low that would be impossible (surely unlikely given the time behind the safety car).

    1. @dafffid I was really quite baffled by that as well: the only reasoning I can see behind it is that they were all gambling on their being a safety car period (which eventually turned out to be the case) or they were weary of the warm-up issue behind the safety car at the start behind the safety car, which may have left them vulnerable to attack from the guys on the supersofts on the opening few laps of the stint.

      I did think that myself though: of the main people that’d really benefit from that I thought the Red Bull’s would use the softs as they had been suffering from degradation but had few issues with warming up the tyres. I reckon Vettel would’ve been able to press Rosberg a lot harder than he did on primes than on the options.

      1. I think it was more that most of them feared having it take far too long to get heat in the softs (we had seen about 3 laps minimum for that all weekend), so they took the tyre that heats up faster so as not to be taken at the restart @vettel1, @dafffid

        1. @bascb yea I know but that’s why I’d have expected Red Bull to go out on the softs, as they seemed to have the worst degradation of anybody but almost no problems getting heat into the tyres. They may be a bit vulnerable on lap one but I reckon they’d have been fine after that and have been able to mount a charge on Rosberg.

          1. I think after their first pistop even they needed almost 3 laps to get the softs up to speed though, If I remember right @vettel1

    2. After the 1st pit stops they Saw that Primes are taking More time to get warm and which is a important consideration for the teams interest of going for Options. Also the Options last for 30 laps at the First stint with Heavy Fuel with Conserving the Tires, Which may be another reason that Tempted teams as they only needed to go for 30 odd laps from the Red Flag.

  19. McLaren is a solid midfield now as it does not protest Mercedes, even Force India does.

  20. If Pirelli leave I presume Hankook will step in. Is that not good for Merc as they already have a relationship with them from DTM?

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