Four Mercedes rivals say they had no test invitation

F1 Fanatic round-up

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.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

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.

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

  1. stert said on 28th May 2013, 10:40

    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 :-)

  2. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 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…

    • Eric (@) said on 28th May 2013, 11:03


      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?

      • Dizzy said on 28th May 2013, 13:39

        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.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 28th May 2013, 15:50

      @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.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 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…

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 29th May 2013, 16:25

          @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.

  3. Dafffid (@dafffid) said on 28th May 2013, 12:14

    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).

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 28th May 2013, 15:53

      @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.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th May 2013, 10:56

        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

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 29th May 2013, 16:28

          @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.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th May 2013, 16:33

            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

    • Sri Harsha (@harsha) said on 29th May 2013, 10:58

      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.

  4. AlonsoMcLaren (@alonsomclaren) said on 28th May 2013, 14:56

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

  5. brny666 said on 28th May 2013, 15:29

    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?

  6. Ben (@scuderia29) said on 28th May 2013, 15:54

    coulthard summed up the race in the exact same way i saw it

  7. RACERNORRISKI (@racernorriski) said on 28th May 2013, 19:14

    FERRARI and BRIDGESTONE testing, remember when BRIDGESTONE MADE tires based on MICHAEL’S driving style….. plus the fact that FERRARI got an extra 10 million bucks from Bernie or some form of the FIA just because ……. NEW SUBJECT: when tires/tyres are discussed more than the racing followed by driver tweets, F1 will be lucky to keep up with indy cards after they killed CART… RnR

  8. Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 28th May 2013, 22:30

    Monaco GP on NBC is most-watched F1 race in U.S. since 2007
    NBC’s live broadcast of the Monaco Grand Prix this past Sunday morning was watched by nearly 1.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched Formula One™ race on U.S. television in six years, and up 241% vs. last year’s race, which aired on SPEED, according to Fast National data provided today by the The Nielsen Company.

    The Monaco Grand Prix (7:59-10:30 a.m. ET/4:59-7:30 a.m. PT), which was broadcast live on U.S. network television for the first time, was watched by 1.456 million viewers and scored a 1.0 household rating. It is the most-watched F1 race on U.S. television in six years, since FOX broadcast the Canadian Grand Prix in the afternoon in 2007 (6/10/07, 1.494 million).

    Viewership for the race was up 241% vs. last year’s Monaco telecast on SPEED (427,000 viewers), and was up 40% vs. FOX’s four-race F1 average last year (1.038 million), all of which were broadcast in the afternoon.

    NBC tallied triple-digit increases vs. SPEED’s telecast last year among two key demographics, Adults 18-49 (461,000 vs. 127,000, up 263%) and Adults P25-54 (674,000 vs. 160,000, up 321%).

  9. karter22 (@karter22) said on 29th May 2013, 4:58

    hmmm seems Mr James Allen thinks the same as I do. The funny thing is I don´t see anybody calling him paranoid. I agree Canada is where we will see what Mercedes learnt.

  10. BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th May 2013, 10:52

    I only came to reading what Horner said, as well as what Button mentions today.

    Strange how no one notices, that the e-mail offering “clarification of what was and was not allowed” is in fact a FOTA mail. Yes, that is right – the organization that both Ferrari and Red Bull chose to leave last year!

    So they feel that Mercedes, not Pirelli, is in violation of an interpretation of the FIA rules from last year by an organisation they no longer felt themselves bound to? Now, I am all for clarification, but to me it certainly points to how the assessment of the situation by James Allen is the only right one.

    Lets hope it does achieve some positives though in getting some definition of what is allowed to test the tyres, and who should be running such a test and who is paying the bills. Then the small teams could run too, with Pirelli fielding the bill

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