Pirelli deny tyre test favoured any team

2013 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Cataunya, Barcelona, 2013Pirelli has insisted the tyre test it conducted with Mercedes was not to the better of any individual team.

The official Formula One tyre supplier issued a statement today saying “Pirelli, in development testing with teams carried out in 2013, has not favoured any teams and, as always, acted professionally, with transparency and in absolute good faith.”

“The tyres used were not from the current championship but belonged to a range of products still being developed in view of an eventual renewal of the supply contract. Further, none of the tests were carried for the purpose of enhancing specific cars, but only to test tyre solutions for future championships.”

Mercedes test

Pirelli insisted the three-day test conducted following the Spanish Grand Prix was approved by the sport’s governing body:

“The use of the car utilised by Mercedes, in particular, was the result of direct communication between FIA and the team itself. Pirelli did not ask in any way that a 2013 car be used: not of Mercedes nor FIA nor the teams which, during the year, were offered the opportunity of participating in tests for the development of tyres for 2014.”

“Mercedes have no idea what was being tested. The benefit was not for them, it was for F1 in general,” Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery added. He denied the test had been held in “secret”, pointing out that the circuit was booked in Pirelli’s name.

Pirelli denied Mercedes used the test to investigate the benefits of swapping tyres between the left and right-hand sides of the car. According to Pirelli the test was “carried out with a single compound never used in a championship, regarded structures not in use in the current season and not destined to be used later during the 2013 season”.

“The tyre tests were conducted ‘in the dark’, which means that the teams had no information on which specifications were being tested or about the goal of the testing; nor did they receive any type of information afterwards.

“Further, the tests did not regard delamination in any way, as that problem was dealt with and resolved by Pirelli?s technicians through laboratory tests, with the support of data gathered during the first races of the season.

“Pirelli always asked for representative cars, that is, with performances comparable to those of the cars being used in the championship underway, without ever referring to those effectively used in the 2013 races.”

However Pirelli said it did not specifically ask Mercedes to bring its 2013 car: “The type of car used during the tests was the subject of direct discussions between Mercedes and FIA, as shown in the exchange of emails between the team and Pirelli.”

“In particular, Mercedes informed Pirelli that its 2011 car could not be used and that it had already contacted FIA regarding the use of the 2013 car. There is no doubt that the questions relating to the vehicle were the exclusive domain of the team and that Pirelli was excluded from these questions (notwithstanding Pirelli?s need, from a technical point of view, to have a representative car in terms of impact on the performance of the tyres).”

Sporting integrity

Pirelli medium and hard tyresPirelli stated it has “always respected the contractual limits which bind it to the FIA, teams and championship?s organisers, and has always respected the principles of sporting loyalty”.

“Pirelli, however, feels the need to reaffirm the indisputable need to carry out tests for the development of tyres which are adequate and regulated by rules which are clear and shared by all the interested parties. The company confirms its availability, as communicated to the teams many times in the past, to organise tests for the development of tyres for 2014 with all the teams in the championship.”

It added all teams were invited to participate in testing the 2013 tyres: “In March 2012, Pirelli sent an email to all the teams, FIA and FOM, inviting the teams to indicate their availability for testing for the development of tyres for 2013. Further, the company explained that it was necessary to conduct the tests with the teams? cars because it did not have a suitable one of its own.”

However Pirelli point out that it was not useful to have them all involved in the same test: “Pirelli has since 2010 made it clear that it is neither possible nor useful to carry out this type of test with all the teams simultaneously.

“In fact, this type of testing aimed at technological development and researching new solutions, involves many tyres of different types which must be tested with a single car at a time.”

The FIA has requested information about the tests from Pirelli, which they say they have supplied.

Hembery believes the row has arisen because of the difficulty of conducting representative testing in-season, which they want to address if they are to continue as F1’s tyre supplier beyond 2013. He indicated that Pirelli would consider a more “conservative” approach to next year’s tyres because of the sweeping technical changes being made.

Canada tyres

Pirelli said the tyres which will be run during practice in Canada “have never been used by the teams before”. “With regard to the new tyres, the problem of delamination has been solved by Pirelli?s technicians exclusively through laboratory testing,” it added.

“Delamination, which only occurred on four occasions and always because of on-track detritus, has never put the drivers? safety at risk, but does risk harming Pirelli?s image. This is why the company decided to intervene.”

Hembery added Pirelli would like to introduce a harder tyre to ensure they reach their target of having fewer than four pit stops per race, as was seen in Spain, but the agreement of all 11 teams was required to achieve that.

Mercedes and Ferrari Pirelli tyre test row


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67 comments on Pirelli deny tyre test favoured any team

  1. celeste (@celeste) said on 31st May 2013, 12:24

    The problema is now that after what they did, I don´t believe them

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 12:25

      no @celeste, the problem there is that RBR and Seb Vettel have persuaded you to only believe what they say, I am sorry to see.

      • celeste (@celeste) said on 31st May 2013, 13:44

        @bascb

        So let´s see. Mercedes and Pirelli breaks´the rules and is RBR´s fault?

        Beside it seem to me that only one getting carried away by his personal taste is you.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 13:58

          @celeste you stated that you believed nothing of what Pirelli have declared in their press release, and you gave no good grounds what so ever.

          You judge them on what others said they are supposed to have done and use that as an excuse not to believe Pirelli’s version of events even before they finish telling you that version. Explain what else is a good ground for that, but having your own judgement clouded by certain teams and media information?

          Please be so kind as to explain where my personal taste (apart for learning information and facts from several sources before trying to judge on something) comes in here?

          The most we have by now (after this conference call), is that Pirelli is telling us a bit more but not everything (the test that is known to have taken place on april 22-23rd with Ferrari is still confidential, for example, and they “usually” tell the FIA about how, when and where they go testing – but no confirmation they indeed did so this time).
          We als know that Mercedes did clear something with the FIA, but no one apart from those directly involved knows exactly what. Neither the FIA, nor Mercedes, nor Pirelli seem to be telling us everything.
          And its pretty tough to really believe no one learnt about the Mercedes test before, when the test with Ferrari was just as secret/confidential, but it was mentioned to have happened by several people after news about the mercedes test broke. That shows that there seems to be a difference between not having information about it, and not knowing by being officially told.
          But the reality is, we really do not know what whom knew when.

          • celeste (@celeste) said on 31st May 2013, 14:07

            You judge them on what others said they are supposed to have done and use that as an excuse not to believe Pirelli’s version of events even before they finish telling you that version.

            Because they didn´t said anything to begin with it, so why should I believe them now…

            Please be so kind as to explain where my personal taste (apart for learning information and facts from several sources before trying to judge on something) comes in here?

            Please be so kind as to point out where have I quote RBR, I read the rules, I have read the articles and I´m Smart enough to made my own judgement, if yuo don´t agree with it is you prerogative. But don´t call me out in eing partial when it is obvious that you are not impartial yourself

      • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 31st May 2013, 16:57

        It’s been pretty obvious since monaco race day that bar a few points needing clarifying this whole test was legal the whole thing has been a complete non story. Now it is very very obvious every single part of this test was legal we’ve had multiple confirmations from the fia pirelli and mercedes about what went on the only one still sore about this is redbull and you. Maybe if you read the article celeste insted of marching out the same tired arguements which didn’t stand up to scrutiny on day 1 of this all coming out you could see that. I’m pretty sure however from your reaction to this and other storys in the past your daily reading quota ammounts to headlines only then rant, so excuse your self for getting this entire situation wrong.

        • RogerA said on 31st May 2013, 17:43

          this whole test was legal the whole thing has been a complete non story.

          in what way was it legal?

          the fia have said there were certain conditions in the agreement which were not met & there are also e-mails from fota which says specifically that no test using a current car is legal.

          if what was done was fine then why is the fia pressing ahead with its investigation & taking the matter to the tribunal?
          surely if there were these mystery e-mails stating nothing was done wrong then why the need to go to tribunal & why would the fia make there statement indicating it wasn’t?

          • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 31st May 2013, 21:48

            It was legal because in the e-mails between the fia mercedes and pirelli the contentious points were mentioned and it seems the fia ok’d it in which case the rules probably don’t matter.

            fota decides nothing it’s just the teams “voice” and not even all the teams since redbull ferrari and toro rosso left. fota can say all team personal have to attend races covered head to foot in purple body paint if they want. Though the teams can punish internaly for not doing it the fia wont sanction anyone until it’s in the regulations.

            The fia has not yet officialy asked the tribunal to take this case they are making their own investigation into it thats a big difference. They may say tomorrow they are taking in to the tribunal in which case it might get messy because they wont do it unless they are sure they will get something out of it, at the moment however they are figureing out what went on for them selves. Like i said here on sunday it’s a case of the right hand not talking to the left foot the fia is not even sure it’s self if there is a case to be heard. Yet. I don’t believe mercedes or pirelli would have done it if they haddn’t dotted every i and crossed every t since sunday they havn’t been confused it’s other teams and even the fia that has been.

    • Franton said on 31st May 2013, 13:30

      Christian Horner? Is that you?

  2. Eggry (@eggry) said on 31st May 2013, 12:26

    So…now Mercedes’ turn?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 12:32

      I did see a tweet from SkySportNews where they mentioned they would have Hamilton on interview later today, where its about the “testgate” or something. But I guess Mercedes will want to keep things internal

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 12:46

    I hope we get a transcript of this conference call later! Intersting how “we usually inform the FIA about where and when we test” – that does not sound like a clear – yes, we informed the FIA about 2 weeks ahead etc.

  4. BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 12:48

    Yes, I thought Pirelli would mention, that their development for a year for which they do not have a contract with all the teams yet would not be something they would share in detail without that.

    Supports info that both Mercedes and Ferrari already have a contract (but RBR was mentioned by AMuS to have a pre contract too, but it seems they were not interested in providing a car for testing)

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st May 2013, 13:01

    During the phone-in one journalist asked what Pirelli thought of Michelin running a poll asking F1 fans if they wanted them to come back to F1.

    However this doesn’t appear to be a Michelin poll, it’s something created by someone else which Michelin retweeted:

    https://twitter.com/MichelinTyres/status/339370116196212737

    https://apps.facebook.com/my-polls/ipsxf

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 13:07

      clever use of an opportunity in the interweb by Michelin!

      Off course they then did state again that they would prefer competition and would insist on using low profile tyres (17-18″ rims) – to stay closer to real world tyres – which is all but impossible by now for next years cars!

      • caci_99 said on 31st May 2013, 14:06

        By the way, why doesn’t Formula1 uses low profile tires? Is it because of rules?

        • Chrisr1718 said on 31st May 2013, 14:27

          Yes, because of the rules. The rules state what size the wheels and tyres have to be. Also, using low profile tyres would put more strain on the transmision; drive shafts, gearbox etc.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 14:33

          No, its because of custom. At the end of Bridgestone’s last contract there was a lot of talk about low profile tyres coming in, partly because Michelin wanted that (but maybe other potential suppliers asked for it too). The current rules do specify the big tyres on small rims we have now, but that is not something that could not be changed, if agreed upon up front.

          The problem with that change is, that it has a pretty big influence on the cars. First of all the current tyres absorb a lot of the shocks by deformation of the tyre wall, so with low profile tyres they would have to have far more play in the car’s suspension. And low profile would also mean bigger rims, which are immediately heavier and change a lot of the braking forces. And then all of that would have a significant aerodynamical effect as well, because of the big wheels, the change in suspension behaviour and the relatively small deformation of the tyres compared to the current tyres.

          • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 31st May 2013, 17:04

            all i care about is the looks the fat tires are what i have always known and loved in f1 keep your skinny tires in lemans where they belong michelin

          • caci_99 said on 31st May 2013, 18:08

            @bascb Thank you for the clarification. Been always curios about the tires profile in Formula1, but too lazy to go through the rules to see if it was specified there how the tires profile should be.

  6. Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 31st May 2013, 13:15

    So they tested 2014 tyres with a 2013 car. Would there have been such an uproar if they used a 2012 car to test 2013 tyres?
    Given that they wouldn’t have been able to make any changes to the car during the whole test, wouldn’t it be fair to say Merc gained useful date for the first 10km and the remaining 990km just proved the car was reliable?

    From the driver point of view they got extra miles in the car which they can do in the simulator anyway. I guess Hamilton got to spent more time learning those buttons, which he can do in the simulator.

    • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 31st May 2013, 13:24

      I can see how this all played out. Pirelli asked Merc if they would do the test, Merc agreed, but told Pirrelli its 2011 car was not available, so Merc went to the FIA to seek approval to use the 2013 car. In some form or other the FIA must have approved or indicated it had approved the use of the 2013 car.
      So really all Merc need to do is show the proof that the 2013 car was approved to test with and thus they cannot be punished. Pretty sure Ross Brawn would have had made sure they were ok to do it.

      • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 31st May 2013, 17:05

        it’s no problem at all mercedes and pirelli have an e-mail from the fia confirming they can use the 2013 car

  7. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 31st May 2013, 13:20

    So Pirelli puts the responsibility for using a 2013 car squarely in Mercedes’ court. Imagined conversation:
    Ross Brawn: Sorry Paul, we don’t have a 2011 car at hand. But we can run the 2013 car…
    Paul Hembery: Oh..ok, great!

    Things are not looking up for the Silver Arrows, if it turns out the whole thing was their idea. It could be that Ross Brawn has finally overplayed his hand this time. At least his successor is starting next week.

    On the other hand, this could all be part of Ross’s master plan. He wants to retire anyway, so he gets Paddy Lowe to join Mercedes early, then treats his team to an illegal and possibly very useful test, before finally taking the blame for the testing row and bowing out. The final stroke of the strategy genius.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 31st May 2013, 13:38

      With no contract for 2014, Pirelli wouldn’t be by the same rules for testing tyres that they currently are. Since Mercedes would have used the earliest build of those tyres, Pirelli could argue that the test was carried out using tyres that would never race, and with the data being useless for Mercedes’ 2013 development, no breach of the rules was committed.

  8. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 31st May 2013, 13:23

    Whatever, they still used a 2013 car… even if the tyres are not the same or whatever, they still used this years’ car, this year’s drivers, all the equipment, everything. For an F1 team, that’s still a veyr important experience.

    • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 31st May 2013, 13:27

      So they proved the’re car is reliable then

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 13:40

      Well, I guess now the best thing the others can do, is get a dispensation to do some tyre testing for Pirelli as well to get the same advantage and have things equal out!

      • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 31st May 2013, 15:39

        The problem is, which is clearly explained in Pirellis statement. No one will get any benefit. Your saying Pirelli now has to make a huge number of experimental tyres still under development so all the teams can then say they have all driven around for 1000 km on tyres they may never ever drive on again. Add to that they can’t make changes to their cars or take any data home. I bet everyone would be dead keen to take on a test like that.

        • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 31st May 2013, 17:09

          Yes the entire idea of “evening out the test” is stupid it’s just a huge cost to pirelli for no benefit to them or teams that is absolutely not the way to sort this out.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 18:37

            I think Pirelli would be pretty keen to do such a test. I did not mean they should test with everyone at once, but instead that they now do another up to 9 tests for 1000km to further develop their ideas for next year with one car at a time Jimmy…ect and @theoddkiwi

          • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 31st May 2013, 21:55

            Pirelli would probably love 9 individual tests but i wonder if all the teams would even go for it since they obviously didn’t all reply to pirellis inquiry last year.

  9. BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 13:39

    yes, but he still did not know of the test because it was a secret :-)

  10. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 31st May 2013, 14:02

    I’m sure this announcement is going to be met with a healthy dose of cynicism, but honestly, this explanation is probably the one that makes the most sense. The idea that Pirelli and Mercedes colluded to carry out a secret test had never quite added up for me, mostly because both are professional outfits, and so I find it hard to accept the idea that they flaunted the rules so openly and so seriously.

    From the sounds of things, the real problem lies in the way everyone else jumped to conclusions about what happen. I’m guessing Red Bull and Ferrari and Lotus heard that Pirelli were testing tyres with the 2013 Mercedes, at which point they added two and two together and came up with an answer of five. If Pirelli and Mercedes were testing out experimental compounds for 2014, then it stands to reason that in the absence of a contract, they are not bound by all of the rules that they currently are.

    • Anonymouse said on 31st May 2013, 16:51

      Agreed @prisoner-monkeys – Mercedes and Pirelli are professional outfits. Others are not. Which is why Spygate and crashgate never happened. I know the mercedes generalization doesn’t add up. But this is the best I can come up with after reading your post. Cheers

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 31st May 2013, 21:13

        @prisoner-monkeys I agree with your comment. As if Mercedes thought they could get away with a 3 day test under an in-season testing ban. As if Pirelli would share data with Merc and expect that to go unnoticed and unpunished. If this was all so underhanded, Merc and Pirelli would be gone or sued into oblivion and they would have made a sham of the rest of the season and harmed F1’s reputation so badly and sued by them so badly that they probably would even be put out of business.

  11. Girts (@girts) said on 31st May 2013, 14:14

    Delamination, which only occurred on four occasions and always because of on-track detritus, has never put the drivers’ safety at risk, but does risk harming Pirelli’s image. This is why the company decided to intervene.

    To be honest, I think this is the main problem here. The keywords are ‘Pirelli’s image’ and I feel that too much damage has been done to the sport just because of the way Pirelli try to polish / protect their own image all the time.

    I believe that Pirelli didn’t mean to favour any team by doing this test but I also don’t think they didn’t realise that Mercedes would gain some valuable knowledge there and that such a test was controversial, to say the least. Pirelli obvioulsy need more testing to be able to produce ‘the perfect’ tyres (no matter for which year), otherwise they don’t get enough good publicity. However, if they cannot reach that goal with legal means or without indirectly manipulating race results, then they should simply leave the sport.

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 31st May 2013, 14:22

      I agree and is exactlyhow I feel about this hold deal

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 14:44

      I think Pirelli must have been aware how much everything to do with testing is a tetchy issue in F1 @grits, but they chose to call it now because they really need to open up testing for the future, as they have seen how good (not at all) the sport is at agreeing on a good solution for them to be able to test.

      Just think about it. They would get next year’s contract, and for 2014 they make extra conservative tyres. So far its ok. But now there is seen to be less overtaking and teams/Bernie/the FIA want them to get some pitstops back in the game. So they go testing in 2014 … with a 2011 or 2012 car?? (compare with testing with a 2009/2010 car in 2011/2012 until now).

      The thing is, the worst the FIA can do, is tell them to bugger off. Meaning that F1 is going to have a bit of trouble for next years tyres (not sure Hankook can really provide great tyres, if they would actually agree to do so in a couple of weeks), and Pirelli is going to save themselves a lot of money. Its realistic, but I do not think its likely to happen.

      Hard to tell what Mercedes did learn from running their car over 1000 km – (and much the same goes for Ferrari really), and I am curious to see whether Pirelli will now go on and do further such tests with the other teams (so as to really offer somewhat equal opportunities).

      In a way ist a funny coincidence. Ferrari tests april 22-23, and goes on to win the next race, partially by being the first to recognize the best they can do is push for 4 stints. Then Mercedes tests before the next race, and promptly wins that one, in part by knowing how to start conserving tyres right from the start of the race.
      I still think those tests would not have been the thing that made it possible, but its a bit curious all the same and not something that looks good at all.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2013, 14:47

        sorry that was meant to be @girts :-)

      • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 31st May 2013, 19:15

        I think it gives Merc a lot more data not limited to tyre performance, and more importantly, they could have gathered data not influenced by tyres, so they could have got data on airflow over the cars etc, new aero parts could have been tested with airflow correlation in mind etc…

      • Pandaslap (@pandaslap) said on 31st May 2013, 21:33

        @bascb

        I think you just articulated the problem that many people have with the whole situation:

        In a way ist a funny coincidence. Ferrari tests april 22-23, and goes on to win the next race, partially by being the first to recognize the best they can do is push for 4 stints. Then Mercedes tests before the next race, and promptly wins that one, in part by knowing how to start conserving tyres right from the start of the race.

    • SatchelCharge (@satchelcharge) said on 31st May 2013, 19:21

      ….of course Pirelli take action to protect their own image. They don’t make a profit supplying tires for F1. What else do they have?

  12. karter22 (@karter22) said on 31st May 2013, 15:21

    I heard the interview live and I´ll give Pirelli the benefit of the doubt but now the problem is that they have given Mercedes a head start to design their car for 2014! Now Mercedes has 1000km worth of data and surely have learned how the 2014 tyres will behave. That to me is bull and should not be allowed because I bet their 2014 car will be an evolution of their 2013 car and that is where the problem lies!
    Sure Ferrari had their test as well but, how representative can the 150 Italia be?? It was the biggest dog Ferrari have produced in recent years so surely it is not representative of what the cars are like now especially since the f2012 and f138 use a whole different suspension system than the Italia.
    Much props to Ferrari for being honest in that sense and not using a car similar to what they are using now.
    I am sure now Mercedes will win in 2014 the WDC and WCC. Way to go Pirelli.

  13. Rigi (@rigi) said on 31st May 2013, 15:52

    just wondering, how much longer will it take before we get some sort of punishment by the FIA?

  14. Pandaslap (@pandaslap) said on 31st May 2013, 16:08

    With all of the upcoming changes to the 2014 regulations, I don’t see what benefit there would have been for Pirelli to test a future compound on a current Merc.

    The only advantages of testing a current regulation car with Pirelli tires would be to fix a safety issue (which Hembrey says was not the case) or to gather data on how the car current performs with a Pirelli compound.

    With no real benefit to Pirelli, is still seems reasonable to conclude that this test violated the rules – or at least the spirit of the rules – and provided valuable insight to Mercedes.

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