Rosberg was aware what tyres Pirelli were testing

2013 Canadian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Cataunya, Barcelona, 2013Nico Rosberg admits he knew details of what tyres Pirelli brought during their disputed test at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Mercedes face an FIA International Tribunal hearing over the test, which may have contravened the ban on in-season testing.

Asked if he knew what tyres he had been testing Rosberg said: “Yes, for sure, yeah of course. Definitely I was aware of what the ideas were and what they were testing because I need to know that to try and be able to pinpoint for them best what’s going on and what directions are likely to be best for them.”

Pirelli previously said Mercedes were not given details of what they were testing. F1’s official tyre supplier said in a statement last week, “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.”

Speaking ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix Rosberg admitted he was surprised that the test had become a matter of dispute: “No it definitely wasn’t to be expected because for all I knew it was perfectly normal that we were doing that and that’s what the whole team thought.”

“And that’s why we did it, that’s the only reason. Because definitely we don’t want to do anything that’s not allowed.”

Rosberg denied Mercedes made progress with their car during the test. “We had nothing to do with the test. Pirelli was there and they were saying ‘we need to do this for this many laps, and now this, and that, and that…’ We had nothing that we could do,” he said.

“It was completely a Pirelli test and for them to learn about their tyres.”

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107 comments on Rosberg was aware what tyres Pirelli were testing

  1. I heard Ferrari had been involved in testing as well. Were they not one of the teams to protest to the FIA

  2. John H (@john-h) said on 7th June 2013, 12:21

    Mercedes have had a nightmare.

    One thing I still don’t understand though. Were the FiA properly consulted (whatever that means) about the test and if so, why did they let it go ahead? I’m also referring to the Ferrari test here, of which the FiA didn’t know anything about either until their ‘investigations’ – although I presume Ferrari just thought well, 2011 car, all should be ok (EBD, etc…).

    As a Hamilton fan, I don’t really want to see Mercedes punished, but at the same time this decision to run the test with a 2013 spec car without getting an absolute OK from the FiA is absolutely unforgivable, and they probably deserve any punishment they get.

    • Daniel2 said on 7th June 2013, 12:45

      Yes, a 2011 car does not fall under the FIA/F1 testing regulations anymore and can be freely used for on-track testing without any restrictions. It doesn’t matter which date, which track or which driver – they don’t need to inform anyone else about the test, not the FIA and not any other F1 team.

      Doing a tire test with/for the manufacturer of said tires without anyone knowing about it is really strange however. There are several guidelines Pirelli normally uses for their tire tests and that includes informing all teams and the FIA about it, as well as allowing each team an observer at the track. Neither of which happened for the Ferrari or Mercedes tests!

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 7th June 2013, 15:56

        I think it was obvious for all to see that this year’s tires have been problematic and need tweaking. I believe the FIA was properly consulted and were likely even anxious to get F1 back on the right track to get away from delaminations, 4 stoppers, and delta ‘racing’. I believe teams were informed that at some point they may be called on to do a tire test as per a clause in Pirelli’s contract. I believe this had to be done quickly and an attempt to get concensus from the teams beyond the emails Pirelli had sent out would have meant a convoluted mess that would have prevented the essential test from happening. I believe FIA and Pirelli agreed this test had to be done swiftly, that there was enough grounds to do it based on the problematic tires, the clause in the contract, and in the name of safety, and that it was far better to use a team that is not sitting as a top 3 team for that would have potentially been way more explosive. I believe Pirelli and Mercedes have enough integrity that they would not be trying something underhanded even though on the face of it it looks like they did. Again, I believe it just had to get done when it did and how it did. I believe Pirelli would have absolutely nothing to gain from trying to advantage any one team, in this case Mercedes, and I believe they would only lose massively if they did try to. I believe Mercedes has enough integrity that they acknowledged, with the FIA’s permission ie. there was an essential need, that this test was essential so that all the teams collectively can get away from the type of racing, if you want to call it that, that the season has brought us so far. I believe ultimately all the teams are going to end up grateful to be on better tires for the rest of the season and that they will all benefit equally.

        • John H (@john-h) said on 7th June 2013, 18:14

          @robbie If the FiA were properly consulted as you believe then why the need for the tribunal?

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 7th June 2013, 20:06

            Because imho there is enough concern about the test by the teams, not to mention the formal protest from a couple of teams (RBR and Lotus I think?) that the tribunal will be held to get all the answers to all the questions and clear up any concerns. Not unlike if two drivers clash and the stewards ask each one after the race and one says he blocked me and the other says I feel terrible and I just didn’t see him and I certainly didn’t do it on purpose, they take that into account as to whether an intentional action was taken or it was a racing incident.

            I’m assuming by the nature of your question that to you ‘tribunal’ must mean someone is guilty of something, I may be wrong on that and maybe you don’t jump to that conclusion but many others have, and I believe that the tribunal is to show that justice is being looked after, that concerns are being taken into account and not sloughed off, and to get everyone together to tell their side of the story and then a resolution will be achieved either to the effect that someone needs to be penalized and by how much, or nobody does.

        • Daniel2 said on 7th June 2013, 20:49

          @robbie It’s nice to believe the best of everyone and I can admire that about you. I can also agree with you on the fact, that Pirelli would gain nothing from doing super-secret illegal tests with a single team (if only for the reason, that it could generate bad publicity once it became public, because such things always will).

          On the other hand, I have to say, that you’re doing a bad job of trying to justify how the Pirelli/Mercedes tire test in Barcelona came about and went off. We all know, that Pirelli has explained its own rules, which it follows for every test they undertake. By that I mean, that Pirelli announces each of their scheduled tests far enough in advance and allows one member of every team to be present at the track as an observer.

          I got the impression, that these rules are entirely voluntary in the interest of transparency, so the abandonment of them does not automatically mean, that they did an illegal test. Was it underhanded, however? Yes!

          If Pirelli needed an immediate test due to a technical or safety issue, I would expect all teams to be informed about that. They’re, after all, the guys who have to rely on Pirelli’s tires and trust them, so not informing them would be counter-productive. Furthermore, the test can’t have filled an immediate need, since Mercedes allegedly tested only the 2014 compounds anyway.

          One has to wonder about the whys of it all. For exactly that reason, I am convinced, that ordering Pirelli’s actions to be decided on by the tribunal is the right decision!

          Now about Mercedes, that’s a whole other story. We don’t know all of the relevant facts and probably won’t have access to all relevant information until after the decision of the tribunal has been made public. That said, what we DO know so far are bits and pieces, that could make life rather difficult for the German team.

          One question that will undoubtedly need to be asked is about the permission they allegedly gained from the FIA.

          What if the sporting regulations are deemed more important and supplier contracts only play a subordinate role to the sport? I’d kind of expect that to be the case, because no external company should have even the possibility to alter the balance in the sport in this way and have that right guaranteed to them due to a good job from some corporate lawyers.

          Or does this mean, that Pirelli’s contract overrules Formula 1’s sporting regulations, which would not have allowed that test? If that’s the case, then everything might be fine, aside from the big black eye due to bad publicity.

          Even worse would be another scenario: what if the FIA allowed that test without their previously stated conditions, thereby granting an exception to the current test rules without informing any of the other teams about it? The FIA said in 2012, that for such a test to be possible, all teams must be asked and must have a chance to accept. Well, we know for certain, that a number of teams were not asked about testing after the Barcelona weekend. Not a single team, aside from apparently Mercedes, was apparently aware, that testing with their current car could be possible. Do you think Ferrari or Red Bull wouldn’t have taken that golden chance, if they were aware of it?

          No, for me it comes down to this: Mercedes took part in a Pirelli tire test with their current car. Without any firm knowledge against it – and we only know that the FIA apparently allowed it, which doesn’t bear fact in their press releases since – this would make their participation illegal.

          That MUST be solved, no matter if Mercedes are actually guilty or not!

  3. JoMcl said on 7th June 2013, 14:43

    Everyone says Mercs are lying. I believed them as far as i understand the facts. If they were lying, what don’t they simply lie about the car year. Nobody was there to see but Pirelly and Mercs, and nobody would say anything! It would be a closed case as for Ferrari, isn’t it?
    Honestly, I do think there was a big misunderstanding between Pirelly, Mercedes and the FIA. The FIA is part of the equation, and it is possible they have done a mistake…

  4. sonia luff (@sonia54) said on 7th June 2013, 18:08

    Mercedes will be found guilty of cheating and Ross Brawn will be the scapegoat now that Paddy Lowe is there

  5. karter22 (@karter22) said on 7th June 2013, 18:54

    I for one am very happy all this is coming out. I have always thought that Pirelli has made tyres to favor teams. Now it has been proven that indeed they do tests with some teams. Will this favor Mercedes? I have no doubt in my mind. Ferrari must´ve learnt as well but not in the same amount Mercedes did with their car.
    It sucks because I wanted to believe that F1 is still a sport but that has gone out the window for me. Now it´s all about who dishes out the most money and it seems Mercdes is hell bent on making it to the top no matter what. Anonymous helmets, Pirelli lying, Mercedes Lying, etc… If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then… heck…. it must be a duck!
    Anybody that thinks differently about this must be naive. :/

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 7th June 2013, 20:15

      @karter22 if you are implying the tyres are tailored in the sense that the Bridgestones were to Ferrari in the early 2000’s then I could not disagree more. Pirelli values it’s sporting integrity so as much as they may have performed this what is looking to be an illegal test I strongly disagree with the notion that they’d manufacture their tyres to suit one car.

      The whole sport would go into disarray if that were the case as they are the single tyre supplier and not to mention would severely damage Pirelli’s brand identity.

      They can only lose if they did that.

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