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New Pirelli tyres to test only at Montreal, race at Silverstone
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 May 2013   |  1:34 pm GMT  |  235 comments

It has emerged that the new specification Pirelli tyres which were promised for the Canadian Grand Prix will now only be tested there during practice and will be used for competition only from Silverstone onwards.

The move means that teams will have two sets of the tyres which will feature a new construction, aimed at reducing the risk of delaminations, to try out before Pirelli make the harder compound versions for use in competition at Silverstone.

This means that there is a risk during the Canadian Grand Prix of a repeat of the delaminations seen in Spain and Bahrain, but as there are no high energy corners in Montreal, rather a series of chicanes and hairpin bends, it’s considered a small risk. Silverstone has some of the highest loadings of the season through high speed corners like Copse.

This move also has a political angle to it, as it eliminates any risk of rival teams asserting that Mercedes’s result in Montreal, should they do well, is down to them having an advantage from testing the development tyres at the controversial secret test the team conducted in Barcelona recently.

The FIA issued a strongly worded statement on the secret testing, which suggests that they intend to take it further, possibly to an International Tribunal and Pirelli may come in for criticism for allegedly not informing the FIA of more details about the test at the time, although permission had been given for the test to take place.

There are suggestions among some teams that certain factions would like to use this episode as a lever to get Michelin or another brand into F1 as sole tyre supplier. Pirelli is close to a renewal of its F1 deal, but it is not signed yet.

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Ferrari has been called to FIA’s disciplinary inquiry about their Pirelli test… Those who live glass houses…

Long and short is that nothing will happen.

“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.

“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.”



The FIA changes the regulations of F1 all the time without needing unanimous consent from all the teams. They do this by issuing a “rules clarification” – the fiction being that they are are simply “clarifying” the existing rules even when they are drastically changing them.

See e.g the engine mapping rules changes from last year. Under the guise of a “clarification” the FIA tore up the existing rules on engine mapping and put completely different ones in their place. Since it was a called a “clarification” the teams had no say in the matter. If it had been called what it was – a regulations change – some teams would have vetoed it.

The FIA could issue a “clarification” to Pirelli tomorrow if they wished stating that the tyres are not to spec and to come up with different ones. This is true regardless of whether the tyres are to spec or not, though I strongly suspect they are not. Pirelli themselves have hinted that they got it wrong through lack of adequate testing.

The FIA is hiding behind this unanimous consent nonsense because they do not want to change the tyres even though they are worse than expected.


Reading some of the comments here I am astounded at the amount of pairs of rose tinted spectacles there are around regarding the early to mid 00’s. These years at the time were regarded as the worst in F1 history. Overtaking didn’t really happen, sure there was the odd spectacular move but on the whole passing was achieved through pit stops. The only other factor to determine finishing order was reliability. They tyre war between Bridgestone and michellan did spice things up a bit but if we are being honest only occasionally such as on a track that didn’t really suit one, or if it was raining, from memory I recall the Bridgestone wets were superior.

The cars however were far more impressive. The V10 era cars looked so much faster than they are now. I was watching clips from Monaco from 04/05 it is just incredible how fast they go. That for me is the only thing better than now. I was disappointed at the weekend, it was thoroughly boring the cars didn’t look much faster than the safety car.

We can argue till the cows come home about tyres. F1 and motor sport in general has always involved a certain amount of conservation of the car and tyres. During those years we were treated to flat our sprints between stops with tyres that were very predictable. I think now it has gone too far the other way, the tyres degrade way to artificially. If you drive conservatively you should be able to get a few extra laps, maybe even a stop less but the penalty for pushing hard should not be as severe as it is now.

But a return to the early 00’s? No thanks.


While I agree (even as a Schu/Ferrari fan), that period would have been even worse if no testing was allowed. In 1998, Ferrari reversed a 2+ second advantage from McLaren, about two thirds of the way through the season.

But, after writing the post just above yours, I remembered the number of overtakes Hakkinnen (i.e. tbe championship winner) pulled of, throughout the season: ONE.

(no, seriously: on Eddie Irvine, in the German GP–that was it. He more than made up for it a few years later, on Schumi in Spa, but still…)


I agree. Hakkinen did make several overtakes at the e austrian gp though although that was forced on him by getting punted off by DC.

I always have and always will think that the testing ban is a complete farce. The very concept of teams spending millions a year on a car but not being allowed to take it for a spin whenever they want is ridiculous.

I agree that it went too far teams were spending too much. It can’t be too difficult to allow a certain amount. Either have a few organised sessions throughout the season or employ strict limitations on the amount of tyres they are allowed for testing purposes.


Pirelli are the sacrificial lamb of a sport where the lawyers don’t allow ANYTHING useful to happen.

We used to have glitzy (and costly) car launches. Now teams either force photographers to stand at the other side of the room, or they unveil cars with ‘launch-only’ panels… pride in one’s fruits of labour has been overtaken by the need for secrecy.

We used to have plentiful (and costly) tests, run by bespoke test teams. The mileage drivers did on a race weekend was only a fraction of the total mileage the cars did in any given season. Now drivers, engineers and mechanics are expected to learn their new cars on-the-fly.

Sponsor money still appears to provide for some glitz, to keep the Monaco harbour-master busy, but the business has become ruthless. Oops, I meant the sport… or perhaps not.

Does anyone remember the 1998 season? At the first race, the Newey-designed McLaren was an honest 2″ per lap faster than anything else, if not more. By the first European race (Imola), in the last laps poor-old Murray Walker had to pretend to be excited when he saw the two McLarens AND Schumi’s Ferrari in the same TV shot — from a helicopter, of course and well-after the lead cars started taking it easy.

BUT in the second half of the season, Ferrari outscored McLaren, by quite some margin. Yes we had some controversy (second brake pedal in the McLarens, wing pods in the Ferraris, Schumi testing several speed limiters in the pits and taking a 10-second stop-go penalty after the race was over, among other things) but it was an epic season… and it wasn’t the only one.

This couldn’t happen today. Not without testing, not without tyres meant for performance, which of course required more testing (in ’98, Ferrari was on Goodyears, McLaren on Bridgestones). Without all this testing, the ’98 season would have been the 90s’ equivalent of the 2011 season.

Please, PLEASE, bring back some testing. Please let the teams leave their trucks behind in the European tracks after the race, for a couple of days (like Canadian Fan posted, further up). It seems Pirelli wouldn’t mind paying the track fees, and the teams would only need to book a few extra days in the hotel(s). Make what happened, which shouldn’t have happened, the norm, for the teams that want it.

It is hard to justify what Pirelli and Merc did, but equally, it is absurd to expect Pirelli in particular to do nothing, when it is being accused of not getting the tyres that it couldn’t test, right the first time.

Just as it is absurd to expect Pirelli to want to stay in the sport for 2014, when cars will only get more complicated and nobody seems to care how they will develop that year’s tyres… which have to be finalized by September. THIS September!


“It has emerged that the new specification Pirelli tyres which were promised for the Canadian Grand Prix will now only be tested there during practice and will be used for competition only from Silverstone onwards.”

Why can’t they be tested after the race? Friday’s practice is for getting the car set up for the race. If they spend that time testing new tyres, surely they would lose out on race strategy. They won’t be using these new tyres during the race so make more sense to test on the Monday and not affect any teams setup


@ double eyepatch. your reply doesn’t make any sense.

my comment was in response to the suggestion, earlier, that each team be given the ‘new’ tyres for a one hour session on the friday morning.

that would mean that each individual team would get to test possibly 30 laps on each car. at say 4.5kms per lap a total of 130kms per car. mercedes have had a minimum of 500kms per car/driver combo over a three day period. hardly compatible whatsoever.


This is a rubbish solution.

With the present lack of suitable testing the teams are expected to get to grips with a new solution in the already limited time they have to prepare for a GP.

Similar to last years Brazilian final tyre test, and sure, now we have hindsight, look how successful that turned out to be.


All the cars between the Force India look tiny in that pic! Funny angle



Bring Back Murray

2037. There’s your answer


Cool. I’ll have to stay up a bit late to watch it, but hopefully I’ll still get to sleep by 2300 🙂

Anthony Young

James, this isn’t meant as a dig at you, but I think the discussion is hampered by a lack of clear information. I have read various stories that:

1. the new tyre is only a new H;

2. the new tyre is aimed at preventing delamination;

3. the new tyre is aimed at longer tyre life.

Version 3 is clearly implied by Pirelli’s statement that four stops is too many. But why then would they ever plan to introduce a new H tyre at Montreal, where they only take the S and SS, because tyre wear is so low there?

Surely if the issue is the H tyre, Silverstone was always the natural place to introduce it, as the H is used there?

But even if they’re now only going to test the new tyre in Montreal and not race it, surely it can’t be an H, because you wouldn’t get any useful data from testing an H tyre at a S/SS circuit?

So maybe the new tyre they want to test at Montreal is aimed only at delamination/safety after all, in which case why did they talk about four stops being too much?

And on this basis, it would mean they’re not going to do anything about tyre life now, so why are Lotus complaining?

It doesn’t make much sense to me.


pirelli state that about 10% of the tyre tests in barcelona were the modified 2013 tyres , the rest prototype 2014

but who knows if the test tyres they will provide in canada will be the same as the tyres they tried in barcelona , could quite easily be a modified version ; so all teams should be given the same amount of tyres


I’m not sure Pirelli are getting any significant [relatively] bad publicity out of this. Bar a few F1 fanatics that follow all the politics [ie us] all most of the general – tyre buying – public see is the yellow and red Pirelli logos everywhere, I can’t imagine too many people in the market for premium brand tyres for their car or motorbike caring less or even knowing a great deal about the current situation.

So does it bother Pirelli? Probably not a great deal from a commercial return point of view, maybe more as a frustration at having to deal with it.


My local garage is a fanatic F1 fan and he stopped selling Pirellis. He knows the quality is good, but because of the fact he believes Pirelli has ruined F1, he is boycotting them and telling his customers to buy other brands.


Oh dear..

I have followed Ferrari throughout my life. I have never smoked Marlboro, I bought Michelin when Bridgestone sponsored Ferrari, never used Acer computers, UPS services, Kapersky etc etc

When I buy anything, I will read reviews in magazines and the Internet, and with this information I make an informed choice. Advertising from any corporation makes no difference to me.

So, if Pirelli happen to make a tyre that fits into my budget and performance requirements, that’s the one I’ll buy.

Not because tyres that have absolutely no connection to public use are destroying themselves on track.


No one said we judge the consumer Pirelli tyres performance by what we see on the racetrack with F1 cars.

We are talking ideals. If you want to buy Pirellis, you can go to another garage 😛


He really doesn’t deserve to succeed in business if he runs it on that basis. Hopefully he doesn’t make too many business decisions based on his Sunday afternoon TV viewing.


The point you tried to make was how people don’t care about Pirelli’s American Wrestling style involvement in F1, when buying tyres for their car.

Fact is, we do. I won’t buy Pirellis either and I will tell anyone who asks for advice not to buy Pirellis. Which is 4 people so far who were preparing for long journey for summer holidays.

Not because they are bad road tyres, but because they made me feel very negati9ve about them the way they did things in F1.


His garage is the most popular in this part of the city. He drives an S class paid cash so he is doing fine.

There is no difference between Pirelli or Michellin or Goodyear, they are all good tyres. If he chooses to boycot a brand because of ideological reasons, he can and does without losing 1 penny.


I think we have to go back to the old days of at least two manufacturers, however I would urge caution over Michelin due to the risks they were taking with safety in 2005.

The change I would make is that the teams should be free to select which company they use each weekend in the absense of testing.


And which compound(s) they want!


Bored now! Just fine Mercedes and move on.

Bring Back Murray

Points deduction?

Bring Back Murray

Goodyear always used to do a good job didn’t they, back in the 80s and 90s?


This would be an interesting test. Bring out some vintage ’80s GoodYears and fit them to a modern car.


You obviously don’t remember the very serious graining & and consistency issues Goodyear had in 1997, i.e. the last year we had slicks, before the horrible grooved tyres came into play.


1-Merc must have benefitted from running the car for 1000k.
What do you think they learned about the car that they did not already know from the previous several thousand kilometres where they were able to change setup and perform direct back to back comparisons?
Answer-Nothing they did not already know.
2-Merc were able to improve their tyre wear issues from data gathered during the test.
Merc already have heaps of data from the previous races. The only data that would be of any benefit would have to come from additional sensors. There is no evidence nor has anybody suggested that this was done.
It is well understood that the tyre wear is not a setup issue. No amount of running the car will improve the situation without trying different parts, again there is no evidence that this was done.
3-They gained data on the new 2014 tyres.
It is hard to believe that they would not have collected any data during the test that could be related to tyre performance. The question is, how useful is this data and does it give Merc an advantage?
Answer-As the 2014 car is completely different to the 2013 car, no direct comparisons with the expected tyre performance can be made. Any tyre knowledge gained would be of a general nature. This situation where, a team has to be involved in the tyre testing is less than ideal however this is not the fault of Pirelli or Merc.
Note-It makes no difference that the car was 2013 or 2011. The same level of insight would have been gained. The problem for Merc is that they do not know that the tyres they tested will be used or will not be changed sufficiently to render their perceived advantage negligible.
4-Their drivers benefited from the additional time in the car.
There is a learning curve associated with getting used to a new car. In the case of Nico that curve would not be very steep due to the similarities to the previous car. It would be fair to suggest that Nico had already reached the top of the peak . For Lewis it is not so clear. This car is all new to him and you would have to suspect that the additional time in the car may have been a benefit.
5-Merc have gained an advantage from testing with the new 2013 tyre.
It is possible and could have helped them in Canada.
It is no surprise that the new tyre has been delayed until all teams have a chance to run it in testing as this is the one test where Merc could have gained an unfair advantage for this years championship.


You didnt really bust anything


Red herring arguments. Then lets have all the other teams test 1000kms on those tyres and Mercedes sits on the bench, since you claim it makes not much difference?

Besides, the point is: the test was illegal.


We do not have all the information therefore not possible to determine wether test was legal or not. I do not think Merc did anything that they did not have permission to do. I also think they will be punished regardless.

Lots of poster here seem to think this was a 1000k test run by Merc in order to fix their tyre issues. This is not the case.

All I was saying was that apart from the new tyre for Canada,(now delayed), Merc would not have gained any significant advantage over the other teams.

I would have no problem with the other teams taking part in a tyre test run by Pirelli and would welcome limited in season testing.



is a sad situation.

Clearly, Pirelli just tried to do what they were asked to do, but without any in-season tests available have overstepped the limit. Can’t really blame hem for that.

However, instead of trying to fix the technical problem and be done with it, now this is being used in a political game. Pirelli vs Michelin, Red Bull vs Ferrari & Lotus, FIA vs Bernie, F1 hard core fans vs big channel switching mob with 10 min attention span…

There’s a great risk that if wrong decisions are made, F1 can go the way of WWF, and it would be sad indeed.


For Sebastian to run 3 seconds faster than anyone else in the last couple of laps highlights just how slow they are going. GP2 is more exciting these days. Its not the tyre suppliers fault they gave the fia and Bernie what they wanted. Bernie and the rest of the crew better wake up seen and fix this mess or they will loose the fans and the tyres, and on.Mercedes they should be banned from the constructors title for cheating just as Mclaren we’re in 2007.


I think Pirelli has to go. Maybe at the end of 2014 because it would be tricky for a new tyre company to come in now. Perhaps also F1 management have been talking to Michelin and others already, so perhaps 2014 is not out of question for a new tyre company.

Quite frankly many people are sick of having to to defend them. This secret tyre test is Indefensible because the rules are quite clear on the subject -no 2013 cars no current racing drivers- it doesn’t matter what Mercedes said or did the supplier has a responsibility. I find it surprising that Niki Lauda had a bet with Helmut Marko – that nothing more will happen to Mercedes on the matter.

Could it be another case of Pirelli saying well we don’t have a contract so therefore we are not tied into the rules any longer. Could it also be that none of the teams have a signed Concorde Agreement – hence the legality of an unsigned tyre manufacturer cannot be enforced on them ?

Friday testing at Canada is not like 3 days of controlled testing in a track to yourself many days before the next GP – so that Mercedes had time to analysis, make changes and be competitive for the next and indeed all future GP’s .

Lets see, but either way F1 is becoming farcical because it’s now being perceived as not transparent and an unfair sport in so many agendas now- that unless equity is achieved for all then long term fans like me will turn away.

Craig in Manila

I’m quite amazed that, considering that Pirelli have already basically acknowledged that the tyres are somewhat prone to delamination and are therefore not up to standard, they are still providing them to the teams for use !

If someone (on track or in crowd) gets injured as a result of a delamination, then surely the lawyers will be queueing-up to take Pirelli to court ?

Daniel Aquilina

I like how this decision came in at the last minute like everything else that has happened in Formula 1 this year. Michelin coming back to F1?? I would take that any day of the week over Pirelli at the moment.


A bigger question that needs to be asked:

Mercedes were testing the updated 2013 tyres in the ‘secret’ test.

If they are again allowed to test them in Canada during the practice session, doesn’t that give them a 2nd chance to see even further improvement?

They have data gathered from the ‘secret’ test, and after the Canada practice, more data to move further ahead of the other teams.

Two bites of the cherry eh?


Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I believe the only way to get around the need for unanimous consent is to invoke “safety”. Since it is very unlikely that all teams will agree on a tyre change for Silverstone, that “safety” option still looks like the only possible way forward.

Unless everyone is going to go to the end of the season with the current tyres …


by my recollection pirelli stated that the ‘delaminations’ were caused by cuts to the tyres from driving over debris.

so, were the tests carried out with simulations? did pirelli ‘cut’ the tyres to see if delaminations would still occur?

if not, then surely the tests could not be fully validated from a ’cause and effect’scenario.

i do agree that hembery has been downright evasive under questioning and at times when he does answer he decides that RED BULL have to be curbed from domination!!!

so who is pulling whose chain here?


Like you said before James, engineers can’t unlearn what they have learned. There has to be something that they picked up from the “secret” test. Also, the race drivers got extra time in the car to learn how to drive on the pirellis (even though it was on the “new spec” tyres). This just smells wrong. Wouldn’t be surprised if this instigates the end of the ban on in season testing.

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