FIA expands tyre test investigation to include Ferrari

2013 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2013The FIA has brought Ferrari into the investigation of tyre tests conducted by teams for Pirelli.

Ferrari had joined Red Bull in protesting Mercedes over their participation in a three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

However Ferrari themselves are now facing questions from the FIA. Ferrari are also believed to have conducted a test for Pirelli between the Bahrain and Spanish Grands Prix. Unlike Mercedes’ test, it was conducted with a 2011-specification car rather than a 2013 model.

“The FIA has asked Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 and Scuderia Ferrari Team which have taken part in tyre tests in the 2013 season to reply to a disciplinary inquiry in pursuance of the FIA judicial and disciplinary rules,” said a statement issued by the sport’s governing body.

“This follows the stewards’ report from the Monaco Grand Prix and represents supplementary information required by the FIA in the light of the replies received from Pirelli, who were asked for clarifications on Tuesday May 28th.”

Red Bull and Ferrari made their protest under article 22.4 (h) of the Sporting Regulations which prohibits track testing: “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 with the following exceptions:”

“i) 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.”

“ii) 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 24-hour period.”

“iii) If a team declares that one of its current race drivers is to be substituted by a driver who has not participated in an F1 race in the two previous calendar years, one day of track testing will be permitted between the start of a ten day period which precedes the start of the second event and the last event of the championship.”

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80 comments on FIA expands tyre test investigation to include Ferrari

  1. Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 31st May 2013, 21:44

    Bet Ferrari are wishing they’d stayed schtum now…

  2. Franton said on 31st May 2013, 21:46

    *snigger*

    This is now looking to me like the FIA is seriously covering their own position now. Contractually obligated to allow Pirelli to test but not covered in the Sporting or Technical regulations? Looking politically grim now.

    Breakaway formula anyone?

    • liam (@) said on 3rd June 2013, 22:05

      Ferrari and Red Bull and Lotus ain’t happy pups this year. Mercedes currently hold to much sway with the FIA with all these contracts with Mercedes owned companies.

  3. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 31st May 2013, 21:54

    Unlike Mercedes’ test, it was conducted with a 2011-specification car rather than a 2013 model.

    They should be okay for that reason. I still think it’s grossly unfair on the other teams though who have not received such invitations – if one gets to test everyone should otherwise it’s guaranteed to become a farce.

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 31st May 2013, 22:19

      Yes, I am sure you are right. Ferrari used 2011 cars and so it is inconceivable that there will be any problem for La Scuderia. Rather the focus will shift to how Pirelli issued the invitations to test and what those invitations actually said. And also how selective they were of the responses.
      This is getting muckier and muckier and the only ones who will profit will be the lawyers!

    • Pandaslap (@pandaslap) said on 31st May 2013, 23:59

      @vettel1

      Maybe not. Autosport is suggesting the 2011 Ferrari may not be different enough.

      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/107799

      • Sri Harsha (@harsha) said on 1st June 2013, 4:03

        @pandaslap I think that they can’t Use Current Year (2013) and year Before car (2012). A car of 2 years Ago was good to use

        • Pandaslap (@pandaslap) said on 1st June 2013, 4:31

          @harsha

          You’re absolutely right regarding the sporting regulations but it has been suggested by Autosport that, due to the relative stability of the technical regulations in recent seasons, Ferrari might have a difficult time proving that they didn’t benefit from the testing even though they used an older, and legal, car. Since Pirelli is allowed to test with teams (older cars, of course) the tests themselves don’t break the rules. However, if the FIA finds that Merc and Ferrari gained a competitive advantage from the testing – which might explain the secrecy – then both teams may have violated the sporting regs.

          • Sri Harsha (@harsha) said on 1st June 2013, 5:16

            @pandaslap
            Well we have to wait and see what happens but i think Ferrari used the Car in legal way.

          • SundarF1 (@sundarf1) said on 1st June 2013, 7:46

            By that reckoning, only a 2008 car would be ‘substantially different’. And the tyre profiles at that time were completely different too. No team can test a new Pirelli on a 2008 car, they might as well test chocolate tyres for all the sense it makes.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st June 2013, 9:24

            The point is, there is really nothing that clearly discern between what year or not a car and or cannot be @harsha, @pandaslap.

            As mentioned in Keiths and GT_Racers below, the regulations specify that under track testing is

            using cars which conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year

            , so while its pretty clear that a 2013 and 2012 cars are explicitly mentioned, the fact that the 2011 car is not that different, leaves it up to Ferrari to prove that it is different enough from the current regulations not to infringe the rules.
            As @sundarf1 mentions, a 2008 (or older) would clearly be ok, but after that it could be tricky.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 1st June 2013, 7:43

      Although @keithcollantine has raised a very valid point with regard to the technical regulations. Really though, this whole incident with testing shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

      • tmax (@tmax) said on 1st June 2013, 16:35

        @vettel1

        There are only 2 scenarios if you looking at it unbiased.

        1) Did Ferrari and Mercedes break the rules by infringing Technical regulation when they tested the cars with Pirelli irrespective of which year’s car it was ? If yes then both deserve equal punishment.

        2) If any team (Ferrari or Mercedes) tries to argue that even though they breached the technical regulation but they did not gain any advantage out of it – It is like saying “I broke into the house but I could not steal anything because the valuables were in a locker which could not be opened”. The matter of gaining advantage is a very subjective and can never be validated by anyone for both the cases of Ferrari and Mercedes. So it is not right to isolate one team for gaining advantage.

        Given the anonymity of all these test. It is becoming harder to believe any of the stuff any one team is saying – basically the trust factor is broken. The whole thing looks seriously messy and fishy. If the F1 biggies are worried that Red Bull and Vettel winning again is seriously damaging to the commercial aspect of the sport like ticket sales going down in Silverstone et all. This was not the way to fix the issue. I am sorry to say that it is very disheartening.

        All I can say is look across the pond to NASCAR. There has been an domination from Jimme Johnson and the Hendrick Motosports, but no-one complained the sport is boring. Just because Australia won the Cricket world cup many times in a row, no one complained Cricket is boring.

        Formula 1 should Start thinking about the Sport first and the commercials next. Then the sport becomes more interesting and the Commercials will be automatically taken care of !!!!

  4. pH (@ph) said on 31st May 2013, 21:57

    I may all go down to legal hair-splitting. What is testing? If by testing we mean a team running its car and getting data on it, then Mercedes need not be guilty, if it turns out that they indeed obtained no data at all, as Pirelli was in charge of the running. Is there a definition in regulations of “team testing a car” as opposed to “team lending a car (and driver) to somebody else to drive it around a bit”? Once lawyers dig their talons into this, we may expect some surprising turns to this affair :-).

  5. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 31st May 2013, 21:59

    What utter bureaucratic nonsense is this. Ferrari used a old chassis which in no way can be compared too the F138. I see now way they could drag Ferrari into this.

  6. GT_Racer said on 31st May 2013, 22:02

    Ferrari should be OK as not only did they use there 2011 car (That is allowed under the regulations) but they also used a non-race driver (De La Rosa) but the test was also run by Ferrari Clienti who are Ferrari’s customer car team.

    I would suggest that Ferrari are been called simply to find out how there test was conducted, What Pirelli did/didn’t tell them, What (If any) data was shared etc…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st May 2013, 22:06

      not only did they use their 2011 car (That is allowed under the regulations)

      Which regulation?

      • GT_Racer said on 31st May 2013, 23:07

        Thought been able to run a car 3yrs or older was written in the regs, However looking through them it seems that it actually isn’t.

        The wording of the sporting regulation (Article 22.1) states-
        “Track testing shall be considered any track running time not part of an event undertaken by a competitor entered in the championship, using cars which conform substantially with the current Formula 1 technical regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year,”

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 23:20

          Indeed, and in that light it will be hard to make a clear distinction between those tests.

        • John Bergqvist (@) said on 1st June 2013, 8:40

          However, Ferrari could say that Ferrari Clienti are not the competitor that’s entered into the championship (which is Scuderia Ferrari), so those regs don’t apply. Also, GT_Racer, do you have an email account or Twitter profile that I could get in touch with regarding some FOM enquiries? thanks :) My Twitter account is: @FOM_Fan

    • Gordo said on 1st June 2013, 15:43

      Agree with GT_racer. I’d like to add that the other difference between Mercedes and the Ferrari running is that the regs also state that it must be a Pirelli test not a team test. Ferrari used their clienti team while Mercedes used their actual racing team plus, I believe both of their 2013 competing drivers.

  7. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 31st May 2013, 22:05

    Yeah, let’s investigate the obviously legal test with an old car, without regular team drivers or for that matter the regular racing team. FIA, are you bored?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st June 2013, 3:55

      @cyclops_pl – Pirelli have said that they conducted the test in Barcelona to gather data on 2014 tyre compounds. Unlike previous years, they collected that data using a current chassis. As such, that data has no real context to it. By testing the same tyres on an older chassis the way they have always done, Pirelli have something to compare the data from Barcelona to, which will help the development of those tyres. This is pretty much the scientific method in action.

      The FIA obviously wants to know exactly what Pirelli was doing given that the two tests were inherently related, even if they involved different teams testing different cars at different circuits. Just as testing in Bahrain gave Pirelli some context to the data they later gathered in Barcelona, so too does investigating the tyre test in Bahrain give the FIA some context to what Pirelli were doing in Barcelona. And that context could ultimately decide whether or not something was done wrong.

  8. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 31st May 2013, 22:13

    I saw a photo of the Ferrari test on the Autosport forums just after the test occurred, I am quite shocked that the other teams nor the FIA knew about it.

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st May 2013, 22:26

    On the question of whether Ferrari’s test should be treated different from Mercedes, an earlier part of the regulations states the following:

    22.1 Track testing shall be considered any track running time not part of an Event undertaken by a competitor entered in the Championship, using cars which conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year. The only exception is that each competitor is permitted up to eight promotional events, carried out using tyres provided specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier, to a maximum distance of 100km per event.

    Obviously this test was more than 100km. However the first part is where Ferrari may have to make the case that a 2011 car does not “conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations”.

    That might be a difficult point to argue. The biggest difference between the current rules and those of two years ago is the restriction on exhaust blown diffusers. But Pirelli themselves have said the current cars have recovered most of the downforce that was lost when EBDs were restricted:

    The cars are certainly pushing a lot harder than what we’ve seen in the past. The downforce levels are getting close to 2011 when the cars had blown diffusers. We also are seeing that with our new structure of tyre we’re pushing much harder the compounds. So combine those two together and we find that we really are working the compounds much more than we have done in the past.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 31st May 2013, 22:38

      @keithcollantine That certainly sounds like it was illegal based on those regulations, and if Ferrari were in fact running 2013 tires rather than the 2014 tires that Mercedes supposedly ran, they could well have gained a much bigger advantage out of their test. Add to that the fact that Pirelli is still unwilling to comment on the Ferrari test certainly makes the whole thing sound awfully fishy and clearly not above the board.

    • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 31st May 2013, 22:39

      Yes I see but that is still a very different car compared to the 2013 one. For instance this has a pushrod suspension, no doubt that has an effect on tyre wear and the way car feels and drives. And I’m not quite shure but ‘getting close’ still doesn’t equal the 2011 levels of downforce. I’m starting to think the FIA is looking for something that isn’t there.

      • Alex (@smallvizier) said on 31st May 2013, 22:50

        If the other teams ask the FIA to investigate then it is (probably) obliged to consider it. At that point they’ll realise Ferrari appear to have broken the rule above.

        I agree with the consensus that what Ferrari and Mercedes have done is very different, in terms of “fairness” – and possibly also “intent.” But as far as the rules go, they’re both guilty of the same thing, and I’m sure Red Bull & some of the other teams will push for them both to face the same punishment.

        Why not try it on? To the teams this is business, not sport.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 23:02

          As I mention below, this can be about other teams now complaining about Ferrari. But it can also be about the FIA not wanting to be seen to be unequal in investigating (but they might conclude quite differently in each case).
          And it could just as well be, that the FIA wants to get as much information on how both these tests were ran so as to be able to establish what was done now, and compare it to previous tests to see what differences there were, and whether they should be considered a breach of the regulations for all testing, one test, both tests, or none of these tests.

    • alonso_fan (@f1007) said on 31st May 2013, 22:52

      are we missing the point here ? Pirelli said tests are part of their contract terms, those might not be in published F1 regulations, only FIA and pirelli know what they are.
      Also, everyone knows pirelli tested with 2010 lotus last year, which is 2 years old then. So, i see Ferrari being called in to investigation as a mere formality.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 22:57

      Hm, …

      Its pretty certain that the most positive thing that can come from the whole thing, is a bit more clarity about what is and is not allowed for testing, and for tyre testing as such.

      It might well be that Mercedes will in fact raise the point that there is not much difference from running this years car (which they still do not understand completely) and the 2011 car, which was completely developed and understood by the end of that year. And downforce levels were supposedly relatively similar too.
      Off course the reason for the FIA investigating both can also be the simple fact that both tested, so its a matter of equality (investigating both tests, maybe finding one is more or less ok, the other one less so), as well as establishing in how far these tests differed, and how much they were similar to each other and compared to earlier tests done with the Toyota and Renault cars.

      Given that even the Ferrari test was secret (or confidential) as much as the one with Mercedes – to the extent of only being reported after people started digging this weekend – its certain that all the other teams would be almost as suspicious of Ferrari as they are now of Pirelli and of Mercedes.

      I think its needed to clear these testing rules, because after Ferrari first started using their “filming days” to the maximum a couple of years back, even those have become a bit of a farce, with Marussia using it as a first test of the car, Caterham this year to test almost a B-spec car and the rest of the field doing much the same whenever needed and still having some “filming days” available.
      Sure, its nice to get some footage online afterwards, but its very clear that this is not what the
      se were intended for. I think we will see all the teams getting more and more secretive and suspicious of each other (if thats even possible)

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st June 2013, 4:06

      Pirelli themselves have said the current cars have recovered most of the downforce that was lost when EBDs were restricted

      I think the more important question is how they are getting that downforce back. They’re not using blown diffusers anymore.

      • But they are still blowing the diffusers, thats why we have these funky coanda exshausts? i think you meant we dont have off-throttle blowing exsaust anymore?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st June 2013, 14:17

          The Coanda exhausts do not produce the same levels of downforce as the off-throttle blown diffuser variant. The teams have recovered some of the lost downforce through their use, but they will still have had to have made up the difference elsewhere. The Coanda exhaust alone isn’t enough to reclaim all of the lost downforce.

          • It is amazing how they’ve managed to get back to similar levels of downforce as in 2011, as soon as Hembrey said that, alarm bells rang when i thought about Ferrari testing a ‘representitive car’ in Bahrain, they’re not soft : ]

    • karter22 (@karter22) said on 1st June 2013, 5:14

      @keithcollantine

      That might be a difficult point to argue.

      I don´t think it´s hard at all. The F150 Italia used a totally different type of suspension settup. Quite different than the F2012 and the F138. I see it as an open and shut case. Besides, Pedro drove the car and was done by Ferrari Clienti who are Ferrari’s customer car team so I see the Scuderia untouchable in this matter.

      • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 1st June 2013, 5:53

        So your saying the F150 run by the B team with the teams test driver, could not log data and gain information from running around for 1000km any less than Merc in its 2013 car? Your also implying that Ferrari are not clever enough to transpose data they gained from this test to their current car. Ferrari must have some terrible engineers then
        Seriously, if anything Ferrari probably had greater scope to gather data as with the interpretation that a 2011 car could be run in a test, then maybe Ferrari might have felt they could get away with some development work too.
        As they say teams cannot unlearn what they have learnt. Regardless of the suspension set up if Ferrari were testing the same tyres or similar tyres as Merc and they gathered data with the belief that running an older car as a defense. They may well be sorely mistaken.

        I think Merc would have an easy task to argue that the 2011 spec is similar enough.

        It seems the regulations don’t say how old the car needs to be at all

      • tvm (@tvm) said on 1st June 2013, 9:34

        It doesn’t actually matter that its different; It is that it conforms to more or less the same regulation that is the issue as I am reading it.

      • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 1st June 2013, 9:46

        Yeah and of course, keith is a legendary F1 engineer who can ask us to furnish proof of whether a 2011 can is allowed or not, yet somehow he knows that the 2011 and 2013 cars have similar downforce levels. As if(even if its true, which i doubt) that is the only criterion which should be taken into account while comparing 2 cars, one of them older than the other…and what about the suspension, Keith?? Somehow you always seem to disappear whenever faced with hard questions. Its a wonder, indeed, that you never applied for a technical role with an F1 team. Cheers…

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st June 2013, 22:26

          @wsrgo Supposing that I have the time or inclination to try to answer every comment is ridiculous. It’s not unusual to get a thousand a day on here, and if I have time to write a dozen or so in between doing the things that actually earn money then it’s a pretty good day.

          As for the comparison between downforce levels, had you bothered to read my previous comment you would have seen, as everyone else has, that I quoted Paul Hembery on that point, who I have no qualms admitting is far better placed than I to know about such things. I’d like to know what makes you think you know better than him?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st June 2013, 9:59

        But its not about whether the car is fast, or different from what Ferrari run per se. Its about how much it fits the current regulations. And looking at that, It might be hard to point out where it would not comply with most.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 1st June 2013, 18:53

        @karter22 I don’t think they’re untouchable as this is the FIA but yes they should be safe. Mercedes however are balancing precariously on the cliff (poor tyre pun not intended) so I reckon it’s very possible we’ll see further developments.

  10. pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 31st May 2013, 22:44

    @force-maikel : I’m absolutely convinced you are looking for something that isn’t there.

  11. Jason (@jason12) said on 31st May 2013, 22:57

    Good riddance on Ferrari :D

    For joining the ever complaining Redbull, who themselves are always bending the rules.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 23:07

      Ehm, what?

      Red Bull bending the rules (lets rather say exploring the boundaries of them) is something every other team does (or tries to do) to their best effort constantly. And all of them protest when they find another one doing so.
      That is F1, and has been F1, for decades.

      And the fact that the FIA asks Ferrari to provide more information does not mean they must have necessarily done anything wrong (well, its not even sure yet Mercedes has done something against the rules, but …), it might just be the FIA wanting to know more to be able to judge the complete picture.

  12. Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 31st May 2013, 22:59

    I suspect there is yet another team that has done a test too. Some of the other teams have been pretty quiet. Pirelli implied more tests have been done

  13. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher) said on 31st May 2013, 23:51

    Remember when there was talk of a budget cap, well seems like the FIA can’t even police a non testing rule! Put’s policing a budget cap rule into perspective!

  14. Pandaslap (@pandaslap) said on 1st June 2013, 0:02

    I wonder if the FIA is investigating Ferrari only to deflect attention away from Mercedes. Might indicate that the FIA has no intention of penalizing Mercedes over the test.

  15. SubSailorFl said on 1st June 2013, 4:31

    I would think the FIA would investigate Ferrari because it was brought up but because of a 2 yr old car run by another Ferrari Team they will let ift slide and provide additional clarification to the rules to ensure they are included in the testing decisions. Mercedes will be in trouble.

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