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. geekracer2000 (@geekracer2000) said on 1st June 2013, 7:17

    Oh dear, guess there is no way this can end up good, either way it goes.

  2. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 1st June 2013, 8:53

    Totally agree with @BasCB, although I’m not a real fan of RedBull and the way they operate but you must admire a team that “explores the boundaries”, that is what F1 is about! I must also agree with the Ferrari issue, I don’t think they are in any danger of falling foul on this one considering the way they condoned their test and that is why they chose to appeal Mercedes test. I am still yet to see a statement from Pirelli confirming their original statement that all the teams have been invited to these tests. Someone’s dropped the ball that’s for sure.

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 1st June 2013, 18:36

      @funkyf1 I don´t think that evidence from Pirelli would appear. All the teams but, Mercedes have already said they didn´t get an invitation to test with a 2013; and that´s why Pirelle made an statment saying thet it was Mercedes who brought the 2013 car , they only asked for a representative car.

      I think Pirelli dropped the ball by no invited and informed FIA and all the teams of the test (or both tests); and that was being too Smart for their own good by bringing the 2013 car. Both Pirelli and Mercedes should be punished IMHO.

      Speaking of wasn´t Renault investigated back during the spygate? Maybe it will be the same result Mercedes instead of McLaren being punisehd, and Ferrari instead of Renault getting a repriment.

  3. SundarF1 (@sundarf1) said on 1st June 2013, 9:02

    I guess a lot of people don’t realise how much difference the suspension design/set-up makes to the tyres. Pull-rods and push-rods have completely different characteristics, and there’s no way this test data can be used for developing the 2013 car. Teams physically test components precisely because simulation data is never accurate. Even the cleverest engineers can use the push-rod suspension data only to theoretically predict what the pull-rod will do, no more. They still will need to test it on the 2013 car to see if it actually works. The most important thing in testing is the reference data – the known data which helps you to interpret new data. Don’t forget, Ferrari were having wind tunnel correlation problems in 2011 and 2012, which makes their reference data somewhat unreliable.

    So here’s how it works – Ferrari compare this Pirelli test data to the F150’s actual race and test data to evaluate the benefits, then try to build an isolated theoretical suspension model with the new tyre characteristics using the pull-rod design, integrate it with the F2013’s suspension design or modify it, simulate this model to see if the improvement can be carried over, then test it on track. Allow me to point out how many hurdles Ferrari have to cross before this scheme will work:

    1. Pirelli needs to share the data with Corse Clienti, who can pass on the data to Scuderia Ferrari, assuming Pirelli’s data log was comprehensive enough for Ferrari to use in their suspension design.
    2. Ferrari doesn’t have any data from the 2011 Bahrain GP – it was cancelled.
    3. With so many variables influencing suspension performance, and after so much interpolation and theoretical calculation, there is zero chance of the final simulation model being fully accurate.
    4. Ferrari will have to test on the same track again, which as we know is impossible. Testing in Montreal or Silverstone would be meaningless, because they require a different suspension set-up which further compromises accuracy.

    So you see, a team would have to be incredibly stupid to waste all their time and resources trying to incorporate test data of this sort into their current development program.

    • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 1st June 2013, 9:48

      +1, its a shame that such excellent reasoning is wasted on Keith and the others who are using Ferrari to make a scapegoat out of the issue to which Mercedes’ illegal actions are central….

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st June 2013, 10:06

      2. Ferrari doesn’t have any data from the 2011 Bahrain GP – it was cancelled.

      – Ferrari did not test in Bahrain, they tested in Barcelona too.

      All what you say are arguments that are likely going to be used. But consider a few things please:
      1. Pirelli mentions that Mercedes did not get any data from it, and it will have given Ferrari the same (that is none). Where is the difference then?
      2. The 2011 car is a car that Ferrari raced for a whole year, they know the car intimately and they are fully capable of interpreting data about tyres for next years championship (for 2014) with it (provided they somehow DID get to gather data), maybe even better than Mercedes with their 2013 car, because they are still working to understand what it does with its current tyres.
      3. If, as some reported, Ferrari did test something for the change to THIS years tyres, they would have in potential gotten even more useful information than mercedes.

      Now, we do not know about all the details, and its perfectly logical then for the FIA to investigate what was done to be able to form a picture of the tests and decide what to do with Pirelli, with Mercedes and or with Ferrari about it.

      • caci99 (@caci99) said on 1st June 2013, 13:50


        1. Pirelli mentions that Mercedes did not get any data from it, and it will have given Ferrari the same (that is none). Where is the difference then?

        The difference is that Mercedes used a current car. They might not have gathered data from the tires, but they might have gathered data from the car, they might have put different components to the car to test them. Whats more, they tested with their current drivers, these are very good drivers which do feel and interpret what the car and tires are like.
        In my opinion, there is a big difference.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st June 2013, 14:21

          @caci99 – when you write

          They might not have gathered data from the tires, but they might have gathered data from the car, they might have put different components to the car to test them


          That would mean Pirelli have explicitly lied about this test to the FIA and to the whole world yesterday. What part of where Pirelli explicitly states that THEY were the only ones running the car, and the only ones having access to the data did you misunderstand?
          More over, the only use for Pirelli is to use one and the same car, with minimal change (evt. ride heigths/engine map for wets for example) so they are actually able to compare data for the different compounds tested.

        • Sparckus (@sparckus) said on 1st June 2013, 18:12

          they might have put different components to the car to test them.

          The whole point of the test would have been for Pirelli to evaluate new tyres, Mercedes wouldn’t even be allowed a minor set up change (other than the ones @BasCB pointed out) nevermind bolting on new bits.


          This whole saga looks to me like the FIA engaging in politicking so that a) They get rid of Pirelli and get Todt’s mates Michelin the supply contract and b) Getting themselves in a stronger position to deal with CVC after Bernie wither ends up in the slammer in Germany or croaks it. Big flashy side show.

          Look at the shiny shiny kids.

    • tvm (@) said on 1st June 2013, 11:05

      “…using cars which conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations in addition to those from the previous …”

      Doesn’t matter if their 2011 was made of cast iron and their 2013 was made of unobtanium, what matter is if the 2011 confirmed substantially with 2012 or 2013 regulations.

      So if the regulations did not change substantially between 2011 and 2012 or between 2011 and 2013….

  4. tmax (@tmax) said on 1st June 2013, 16:05

    LOL…. This is Funny…. Ferrari probably overreacted with their protest. Moral of the story…. People in Glasshouses do not throw stones…

    We will have to wait and see if Red Bull expands their protest to include Ferrari. !!!!!

  5. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 1st June 2013, 16:34

    I think perhaps people are making more of this than it actually is. It’s possible the FIA simply wants a “baseline test” to compare the Mercedes one to. On the face of it there were significant differences between the Ferrari and Mercedes tests – you’d have to examine both tests to find out why those differences occurred. I imagine that’s what the FIA is up to here.

    Back to Mercedes: I saw these words from Lauda – “After the protest, the tribunal will decide whether the sporting regulations or the rules that Pirelli has negotiated with the FIA should stand over this.”

    One reading of that is, “Sure, we broke the regulations, but we’re going to argue that these are overridden by the Pirelli contract with the FIA”. You never know with lawyers, but I don’t see how Mercedes can win with that argument. As a team they are bound by FIA regulations and not by whatever deal Pirelli has with the FIA.

    • Paul2013 said on 1st June 2013, 17:51

      Differences? Well the most relevant one is the car, Mercedes used the actual ones and Ferrari did not. The FIA should stop comparing completely different things.

      • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 1st June 2013, 18:55

        If they are trying to find out how two supposedly similar tests ended up being so completely different, it would make sense for them to examine them both and see where in the process they diverged.

        “The FIA should stop comparing completely different things.”

        The point is that they should not have been two completely different things. Finding out why they were is the point of the investigation.

  6. Paul2013 said on 1st June 2013, 17:47

    The FIA does not know what else to do to justify Mercedes. To compare the test that mercedes did with their 2013 cars with a test performed with 2011 cars is just ilogical.

  7. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 1st June 2013, 19:37

    Because Ferrari has made a protest & raised the question about the FIA reputation which it seems that bothered the FIA, now they have to deal with the FIA reaction, theoretically Ferrari should be OK because they were using 2011 car runned by Ferrari Corsa Clienti but the article says :

    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

    According to this interpretation, a 2011 car is not so different, as it has the blown diffusers. which is much more efficient than the “Coanda” exhaust and will let to have close performance to the actual ones

    Well Ferrari will have no problem proving that a 2011 is different to a 2012 car (which is a clear cut with the past) let alone the 2013 car which according to me very logical because if it was the case then McLaren would run the MP4-27 this year and it will still the fastest car , what bothers me the most with the FIA regulations is these interpretations , like what happened in the last couple of years with the EBD and engine mapping rules ….
    The sport just need a clear regulation and if any team crosses it will be punished, i’m sure that after this controversy there will be a clarification made by the FIA, i’m just wondering when will be the next “rule controversy”

  8. HS said on 2nd June 2013, 2:45

    I think many people are missing the crux of the issue. Ok, fine, Ferrari used a 2 year old car. But, the bigger question is, did they surrender the car to Pirelli or conduct the test with their own team personnel (or those affiliated to them)?

    You see, even with a 10 year old chassis, you are able to gather significant data from the current/next-gen Pirelli tyres over a 1000km test. This is where Ferrari may have contravened the rules. And if found guilty, they should be slapped with a bigger punishment than Mercedes for being utter hypocrites.

  9. Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 2nd June 2013, 2:59

    One custom LaFerrari coming up for Mr Todt courtesy of Signore DiMontezemolo right away! Issue resolved!

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