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FIA summons Mercedes and Ferrari to respond to inquiry over secret tyre tests
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Jun 2013   |  7:23 am GMT  |  333 comments

A statement was issued by the FIA on Friday night which takes the story of the secret tyre tests conducted in May by Ferrari (with a two year old car) and Mercedes (with a current car) to the next level, in calling them to co-operate with a disciplinary inquiry.

Ferrari being drawn in is an interesting development, given that they were one of two teams, along with Red Bull, to protest against Mercedes over its test. On the face of it Ferrari’s test with a two year old car was within the rules.

At the same time Pirelli has issued a statement summarising the information it has already given to the FIA inquiry. It adds at the bottom that the revised tyres which will be tested in Montreal and then raced from Silverstone onwards are aimed solely at fixing the delamination problem and not at altering the number of pit stops, as was originally discussed.

The FIA statement says, “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.”

At this stage the FIA is still establishing whether or not to launch an International Tribunal hearing into the matter.

Meanwhile Pirelli went onto the front foot on Friday with a live teleconference in which they were at pains to point out that they feel that they have done nothing to unsettle the sporting competition between teams to the advantage of one team by conducting the Mercedes test. They argued that the test was not secret, that all teams were given the chance to do the test and that they did not request a current car.

Their statement, issued during the conference spelled out a list of key points which they clearly wanted to get into the public domain and which formed the thrust of their case to the FIA submitted on 28th May, along with the email trail which they believe proves what they are saying.

Clearly the key issue and the one they are most at pains to avoid is that of favouring a particular team, which would be a violation of its contract with the FIA and of the Sporting Codes. If there is a sub-plot here involving an attempt to use this issue to force a switch to a different tyre supplier, such as Michelin, then this is the potential lever and Pirelli knows it.

Pirelli’s statement says that the tyre company, “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.

“The use of the car utilized 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.

“The tyres that will be tested by the teams in the free practice at the Montreal Grand Prix have never been used by the teams before.”

Pirelli’s Paul Hembery was at pains to point out that the Mercedes test was focussed on 2014 tyre development and that the only tyres intended for 2013 use were the ones aimed at fixing the delamination issue, with the 2012 belt pack made of kevlar replacing the steel belt.

Pirelli adds as a final note that the new tyres to be raced from Silverstone onwards will not feature any changes aimed at reducing the number of pit stops,

“Pirelli, ready as it is to make changes at any moment, has made no modifications that effect the duration of the tyres and, consequently, on the number of pit stops during the race because of a lack of unanimity of the part of the teams,” it says.

There’s no doubt that the whole secret test situation has played badly both within F1 and the wider fan base because it highlights the lack of trust between competitors and gives rise to valid questions over whether unfair advantage has been gained.

Clearly the FIA has been part of the process and is under pressure to resolve it quickly. On the face of it the rules are clear: a team is not allowed to test a current car during a season.

If there are to be exemptions, then the circumstances in which they are permitted, need to be spelled out and quickly.

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I think ferrari is legal and merc is not, right?


Ferrari did a secret test and so the other teams are now expected to trust their words that they used a two year old car. Which drivers did they use?

It's like spygate all over again with a trumped up sense of outrage from Ferrari as one the complaining parties except this time they have been found out.


I don't know about secret. It was all over the Ferrari F1 forums since then end of May.


Pedro de la Rossa apparently


According to the BBC, Ferrari have not actually stated who drove their car - it's all been speculation from the press. Which, in itself, makes me wonder what they have to hide.


I think this statement from the BBC website tells us all we need to know:

"Pirelli insist the test, after the Spanish Grand Prix on 12 May, was "blind" to Mercedes, in that the team were not informed any of the tyre specifications Pirelli wanted to run."

So, clearly, Mercedes weren't in a position to learn anything meaningful from the test.


It doesn't matter if the test was blind or not. BY THE RULES signed for ALL TEAMS, Merc could not use the current car (and current drivers?). So, they cheated. Must be banned for the rest of the season. Crystal clear.


Ok, think about it....even if they were testing 2017 you not think they gained an advantage by running 2013 car with racing drivers and testing new part over 1000 km?


The whole argument about the tyre test is little more than nonsense from where I stand.

Merc says they spoke to the FIA's lawyers about taking a 2013 car along before they did. Since the FIA's legal team okayed the car for the test, I'm afraid we are all wasting our time arguing.

The danger I see in all this, is Red Bulls position. They could somehow find themselves in the gunsights, afterall, from Paul Hembery's words in the past, it seems like Pirelli were given unofficial license to get them. If you put two and two together, Red Bull might be falling into a grave they dug themselves. If the FIA has now roped in Ferrari, then it could be two teams plus the FIA and Pirelli on one.

Bernies F1 is never far from grimy slight of hand.


Seb is Bernie's secret love child and RB are his team d'jour, so I doubt he would harm them, the opposite in fact


Essentially, yes


There are some suggestions that even Ferrari's legality is in dispute, IF the 2011 car is deemed to be 'too representative' of a current F1 car...

...and this brings the absurdity of it all to new heights: Pirelli's persistent problem is finding a representative car, to test tyres with. If a car that is 2 years old can be deemed to be 'too representative', i.e. so much so that the team might gain a competitive advantage, then perhaps we would be better off switching to NASCAR...


Ferraris 2011 car was push rod suspension so,the test would not be as helpful. I think they started using pull rod suspension from 2012 onwards.


Last year they used a 2010 Renault as a test car which was ok as it was 2 years old. Now Ferrari used a 2011 car which is ok also. And if it turns out Ferrari have broken the rules which I don't think they have what does that not say for Mercedes.


Why did Ferrari do a secret test? Why not allow the other teams to see their two year old car?


I am not sure why everyone including the press is implying that the reason the FIA has asked Ferrari to submitt statements is because Ferrari did something wrong, to me its obvious its the exact opposite. It is only by getting a statement of how well Ferrari managed their test, visa vi the age of car and not run by the race team, that they can hang Mercedes. There is nothing like a good example to expose a bad one!


Prior to the Merc test, the two cars that were the best in tyre management were Lotus and Ferrari. And both had done tests with Pirellis using their old car. It appears to me that both teams profited from running the tests albeit using a older car. It could also be argued that Merc were in no wrong as they were only testing the 2014 tyres not 2013


Maybe it's a good idea to read James's article again.


That's clearly against the rules because even in that scenario the 2013 car is only months away from the 2014 car and NOT more than 2 years old.

I don't get why people AND Pirelli are so caught up I saying that it does not effect the 2013.When right now the 2014 car is equally and quite possibly more important in development than 2013. This is the point !- if Mercedes are getting some indication blind or otherwise of the different compounds for next year- clearly they have a better understanding than the other teams including the teams (Ferrari) that may have provided a 2011 car- which Aloowed under the rules.


So is the 2014 Merc car wrt the new specifications!


Even last year the Ferrari and Lotus were kind to their tyres, so I don't agree with you!

Justin Bieber

Dude, the Lotus 2011 lotus was used to develop the current tires, as agree by all teams. The 2011 Ferrari was only in Barhain.. BIG DIFFERENCE.


@KARTRACE , I hope you are right, the world is absurd enough as it is.

Also, please don't call the 2011 Ferrari 'the F150'. Ford got really upset by that, because they make a pickup truck by that name...

See, we're never too far from absurdity, are we?


F150 has no resemblance, in any aspect, regarding the suspension layout of F2012 and F138. F150 front suspension utilizing pushrods where later cars are fitted with totally different dumping system utilizing a pull rods, not mentioning all other aspects of those cars that are distancing them completely from F150 Italia. That statement is a very far fetched one if we are talking about Scuderia while Mercedes utilized the current challenger.


FIA allows a current car but only under some kind of emergency situation.It seems Mercedes didn´t give FIA undisputable evidence, reasons and explantions as to why they have no choice but to use a current car.


Both Pirelli and Mercedes are in off side (to use a football comparison)

Mercedes because they used a current car with a no very logic explanation. And Pirelli because they didn´t tell all the other teams that they have the same right to do the same test. It is require by FIA when a team participate in a 3 day 1000km test with a current car. It is ok to do it but there are rules and conditions.


In an emergency, I would hope Pirelli would make a very public plea to all teams to participate which they didn't. I believe i read in this site that they said they didn't want to tell all teams as some teams would protest and the test would not happen meaning it was a secret test. It seems to me they are using the emergency card to dig themselves out of a hole and hanging merc out to dry.


Well, it would be pretty representative given that the rules didn't change much from 2011 to present, but in the same time, the rules state they can test with a car which is at least 2 years old.


The nose cone height rules changed, which also meant a different front suspension set up for Ferrari, flexible front wing rules, and 2011 was the height of the off-throttle exhaust-blown diffusers. Ferrari might not have been on it quite like Red Bull, but there certainly would be a difference having the exhaust blowing across the floor at the diffuser compared to the current layout. Even if they changed the mapping to suit the current off-throttle blowing regs, it's still a fairly different car. I'm sure there were plenty of other small reg changes too; that's just what came to mind.

That said, I consider Pedro de la Rosa driving the thing to be a bit of a farce. I'm guessing it's well within the rules, but I would think it should be Pirelli providing a test driver, and preferably one who isn't affiliated with the team running the car. It's another degree of separation, compared with having the team's own test driver in the car.

I'd like to know Mercedes' reason for not having ANY other car but the current 2013 car available for testing, and why the FIA approved it (assuming they did). I would have thought there'd be at least ONE other team who could have done the test with an appropriately old car, rather than the FIA ok'ing the use of a current car for the test. What happened with the Renault they were using?


I think the letter of the rule states 2 it is legal


the fia wrote the rules so surely they understand it.

looks like ferrari shot themselves in the foot.

alonso suggested that they should be more edgy on the interpretation of the rules and it looks like they went over the edge.


till now everythings sound reasonable,

after Pirelli washed her hands,just love to hear the explanation by Mercedes and FIA for the use of 2013 car,


everyone's running for cover. lol

seems straightforward to me. no testing with current cars.

some poor underling at the fia will probably get the blame. the one bad apple syndrome


some poor underling at the fia will probably get the blame....

Have they got any underlings? I thought they were all Presidents, Directors or similar self aggrandising title 🙂


I believe there is one janitor...


Now that you mention it, I think you are right. But I read somewhere, their duties also include plumping the pillows and folding the toilet roll, into a nice point, in the FIA motorhome. So, I would have thought they were pretty safe if the axe should fall!


He's had it.


"Deputy heads will roll..."

Scuderia McLaren

Is this a way to get Ross Brawn into a forced retirement and pave the way for Paddy Lowe?

Could this be the ultimate Toto engineered situation, given that he knows the WDC is unlikely and the focus is 2014. He did get Paddy early after all.


James, have Ferrari dropped the Marlborro from their name? I don't recall it being used in press conferences this year.


Yes, they have

Philip Morris still put a significant amount into the team but the team name is now simply Scuderia Ferrari


Brawn takes one for the team perhaps?

Mercedes kills 2 birds with 1 stone?


Probably yes.


James doesn't it seem that Pirelli are by noting they never requested the use of a current car, effectively laying the blame of legality on Mercedes? Most of all, with Pirelli stating they never requested current cars, doesn't this mean Mercedes clearly broke the rules?? I mean Brawn isn't dumb, the rules are clear, and apparently Mercedes even had their lead drivers test it out. The fact that Ferrari used old cars shows they knew it was within the law...but what is Mercedes going to say, plead ignorance?

I hope Mercedes get a serious penalty, and by that I mean their ability to affect the outcome of races is seriously hampered. Ban them from Friday practice for the next 10 races. That way the other teams will get to play catch up, give each team an extra set of testing tires. I don't want Vettel winning again and would rather Nico take a title but this kind of underhanded tactic is ridiculous. Ross Brawn thought all the other teams were offered a chance to test tires on current cars and they all decided to skip it? Unbelievable.


It depends what the FIA legal team said was OK and whether Merc tested beyond that remit.



Is that so??? So, why is FIA asking Merc to "co-operate with a disciplinary inquiry"??? As said many times here, people see what they want to see. People understand what they want to understand. Funny.


Merc says the FIA's legal team okayed the car for the test. Case closed.


It is a lot more twisted than that. A current car can be used when there is a very good reason to do it. Mercedes said they didn´t have an old car available. So According to Mercedes they told FIA they will use a current car. FIA said it was fine as long as Pirelli issue a statement about it to all team. Meaning that all teams were invited to do the same.

It seems Pirelli forgot to tell all the other teams that they were planning to do a test with a current car.That´s the secret in question and Pirelli is not talking about this. All Pirelli said was that they sent a statement to teams over an year ago about the availability of the test.

The question about Mercedes is why they don´t have an old car available. And why they didn´t make sure the other teams were told about by Pirelli before conducting the test.


I never liked my deputy head at school - I hope it's him that gets the chop. Or am I getting muddled?


You sir, win the internet!!


Or Brawn's good friend Charlie Whiting will bite the dust.


Here's a wild guess for the outcome of this mess:

1. Pirelli doesn't get a new contract and a new tyre manufactorer is brought in. The manufactorer is based on Asia and has already started working on the 2014 tyres.

2. Mercedes gets a relatively big fine, perhaps 6 zeros territory, and is placed under probation.

3. The Mercedes board gets the perfect excuse to axe Brawn and give Paddy Lowe the job. Lowe's early release from McLaren wasn't a coincidence either.


The company whose name keeps getting mentioned as a possible replacement, HanKook, has explicitly ruled out participating from 2014. If there is a "black rubber knight" in the wings, it is not HanKook.

Personally, I would not want to start supplying tires in 2014 for the current F1 championship. Look at the level of dysfunctionality. These guys couldn't find the brewery, much less organize a piss-up.


seems very plausible


Brawn would have to take the blame voluntarily. Todt would never allow anything to hurt can bet on that.

Scuderia McLaren

I see where you are coming from Sebee, with the intense relationship and success they enjoyed between 1997 and 2006 I think.

But in F1, things change and many things get forgotten.

I dont think they are close now, I think that their shared history is simply that. History. Look at Schumacher and Ferrari for instance.

F1 is a beautiful place when agenda's aline between two powerful and capable people. When those agendas are displaced and become non-aligned, the relationship evaporates. The same goes for those who once disliked eachother. Once their agenda's aline, well you would not find two genuinely better amigos. You will see once Ferrari vehemently disliked Alonso. Todt even famously said "Alonso will never drive for Ferrari" many years ago. Now with Santander and Alonso's clear performance capacity, how things change. Agendas alined here and a more amazing relationship you could not find. But this will only remain as long as agendas remain alined.

It is a rare relationship in F1 that stands the test of time where two parties travel their own roads yet can still enjoy and call eachother freinds.

Believe me, the dislike Ferrari have for Vettel will evaporate in the blink of an eye the moment he is available.

Scuderia McLaren

Sorry for the terrible spelling and grammar.

+1 on the comment though. Can a writer +1 his own comment? LOL


Hankook is going to be the next tire company. I wOuldnt be surprised if the contract hasn't been signed already. For Pirelli any publicity is good publicity. Right now there milking it as long as they can before the announcement is made. Both test could have been testing Hankook rubber compounds for all us laymen know.This whole tire episode if you look at the forest so to speak is not that big a deal compared to other scandals in the past. From what I've read all the teams knew about the test and I'd be surprised to find out if the team principles don't already have the data from both tests on their desks.

Ross is ready to get out. After Michael's contract was not renewed and Lauda was hired he knew the time was up. So yes what a perfect excuse to let Paddy take over seamlessly. In this day and age things in F1 don't just mysteriously happen. These are powerful men (mostly) with billions of dollars at stake. There's nothing left to chance on the track why should there be off the track.


Your post is just in time for Hankook to say they are not interested.


LOL @ Doobs.

They're finally just doing away with the pretense that these are cars, turning all the aero upside-down and taking to the skies. Good luck to the stewards in enforcing the track boundaries. Might also have to raise the height of all the safety barriers around the circuit. Significantly.


There will be no tyres next year. Problem solved.


I wouldn't mind Merc getting rid of Lauda instead of Brawn. Lol. I don't know of his role in Merc


I think he is their 'friend of Bernie', thus a vital part of the team, so I don't see him going anywhere.


I believe he is a non executive director.


Nothing will happen.


You're not Bernie Ecclestone in disguise are you?


Lowe's early release wasn't a coincidence because it is perfectly tied to McLarens use of Merc engines for one final hurrah in 2014.


That's quite possible that you are right.


Old car or not, as I understand the rules any test during the season with current tyres has to be indicated to the FIA and the teams.

That obviously was not done by Ferrari or Pirelli.


Clear violation of the rules.


Why they take the people for a mug?

Seán Craddock

On your Ferrari point, the tests weren't done with current tyres

Richard Foster

I was thinking the same thing about your third point. It wouldn't surprise me if Mercedes used this as an opportunity to remove Brawn (to show they have dealt with the issue internally), accept a fine and move on.

Hopefully not though as I think Brawn is the real reason the team have improved this year and let's face it he is an expert at finding and exploiting loop holes and should be commended for doing so.



Far too many dots connected in your comment to dismiss it out of hand.


Perhaps FIA should stipulate that from now on, the teams themselves should make their own tyres... but not test them, ever.


Not so wild a guess...


Very likely. Personally I wouldn't mind Pirelli leaving F1. I sure won't miss their tyres!


You do realise that if Pirelli gets replaced whoever comes in will get asked to do a similar thing in making high degredation tyres?


2014 headline: 'Tire centre asks Pirelli to make a tire that doesnt last that long' 😉


One one hand I'm sure the idea would be to pick up from where Pirelli left off. On the other hand, I don't imagine there'd be a queue of manufacturers at the FIA's door trying to do that, given the heat Pirelli have been copping since they came in.

So at this late stage, whoever does step up, I imagine there'd be a bit of bargaining power at their disposal. Even if it's just Pirelli continuing with their involvement, they could basically say, "No we won't be doing that with the tyres. The current model isn't serving our business well, so either things change, or we're out. But good luck finding someone else in time for them to be ready for the new season."


Well, the reason we need gimmicky tyres is because the cars have too much aero grip and create dirty air. Next year the low end torque of the new engines will create a lot of wheel spin, so the tyres will need to be a lot more durable, but will naturally degrade, so maybe not.


Unless Pirelli are going to be replaced by even smaller company, I don't see Michelin, Bridgestone or Good Year taking punches from any one.

David (Sydney)

It's a free kick in the market place. Who is Pirelli's biggest competitor? And in what market?

I can see it now: "We took over from the Pirelli fiasco and our tyres last longer, cars are faster, maximum 2 pit stops per Grand Prix..."

Call for three tyre suppliers in F1. Please. Let's go racing!


Exactly, Pirelli probably went too far, but the rule makers need to take some of the blame! In addition, (and I accept I could be wrong) I don't think that there's a stream of tyre manufacturers knocking on the door of the FIA asking to be their preferred F1 Tyre supplier...and why would they?


I doubt a new supplier would want to follow in Pirelli's footsteps. After all the criticism Pirelli have received for their tyres, especially this year, a new supplier will more likey err on the side of more durable tyres, especially in the first year.


James, why FIA is calling Ferrari to testify or clarify what they did? It is clear Ferrari used a 2011 car and a test driver. RB is not complaning about what Ferrari did. And their test was done before changes in the current tyres were resquested.


I think FIA will clear this testing row once and for all, so the bring in Ferrari also to demonstrate what is legal.


Ok then. I hope that if next time they use the Gilles Villeneuve car there will be no problem


The rules don't actually say you can test with a 2011 car. In fact they rules actually don't specify which car you can use other than having to be substantially different from the current spec.

It could be argued that even the 2011 is not substantially different from the 2013, apart from the EBD and a few other details, the ruls have not hardly changed.


The relevant bit of the sporting regulations, as I'm sure you already know, is clause 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."

So the question is what does "conform substantially" mean. My feeling is that it's not meant to catch cars that were built two years ago under different (even if similar) regulations. It's there to stop teams taking their current car, making some insignificant tweak to it so it's not technically an F1 car any more, and going testing with it.

If the 2011 rules were the same as this year's then a 2011 car would by default conform to the current regulations, but since 2011 we have had changes including a nose height change that would be aerodynamically significant.

This clause actually gets even more ambiguous if you read it carefully - for instance, why didn't they say "cars which conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations _or_ those from the previous or subsequent year"? Do they really mean it only counts as testing if the car is to this year's _and_ last year's regs? I'm sure the lawyers will have hours of fun with it.


I believe it says the current car as well as the preceding year's and following year's car may not be used.


But the question has Nothing to do with. 2011. It has everything to do with a 2013 car and a 2014 car and Rubber! Think about it - it's only 6 months away& the biggest advantage to Mercedes is next years car - which already coming together in the design shop !


the rules actually say, you can test with a car that is atleast two seasons old.


The the 2013 car has stepped Bose, no ebd, pull rod suspension and a whole load of other tweaks. It's different from the 2010 cars.


Where does it actually say that? I have not seen anywhere that specifically says 2011 is ok. If have only seen rules that say "substantially different"

What I a team had not made changes to their car since 2011.


F150 push rod, F138 pull rod, not substantially different enough?


The rules do not mandate a specific type of suspension like push-rod, pull-rod. The rules only define the limits of the design and, certainly, 2011 isn't different in that context to what we have...


F150 push rod, F138 pull rod,not substantially different enough?


Probably not if they have not changed substantially the suspension geometry which presumably affects tire wear and temperature. These are the ingredients of tire degradation.




Apparently there are some complaints that Ferrari's car might be 'too representative' of a current F1 car.

Yes, I know it's an absurd argument.


It's red....!


All, are we missing the bigger picture here in terms of the season. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the teams still have a limited number of engines and gearboxes. Ferrari used a 2010 car - so no issue, but why on earth would Mercedes use current 2013 car which because it directly followed the Spanish GP would have had the same engine and gearbox used for the race and onwards? Why put 1000km to the car engine and gearbox without thinking they would gain an advantage. Surely they thought they would gain an advantage and allow the 1000km stress on the engine/gearbox. Can't imagine they rebuilt the engine and gearbox just for the test..


I guess I was just asking a simple question in my original post. Did Mercedes use the same engine and gearbox. We don't know. They really have time to swap them out before running the very next day? (FIA seals, documented, rules etc.) If they swapped them out overnight, how can that be a secret? FIA sanctioned etc. If they kept them in, then they have put 3 GP's worth of mileage through them.. Just food for thought guys


If Mercedes did not have the car that FIA permits, they can always say no. Is it another case of double blown diffusers and double DRS behind closed doors?


Everyone here is missing the "big picture" - its All about next years car and what advantage Mercedes will get from understating next years rubber for the car which is already on the drawing boards. Not this years!- its half finished and most teams are switching resources to developming 2014 cars. I can't believe all the guessing and pannicking over this year !!

it has nothing to do with engines and gearboxes.. Because they are allowed to use a certain number for tests, straight line aero etc..and if I was doing 1000ks of testing Id just use an old engine.


I've seen reports that they used the test to try out a new gearbox.


Engine and gearbox could have been at the end of their race cycle anyway and so they may have judged it a chance worth taking.

Seán Craddock

Good point. But don't forget Spain was the 5th round and gearboxes only need to last for 5 races. So the gearbox they were using was probably retired anyway (unless it's Hamilton's which was replaced in Bahrain). Valid point on the engines though. Would like to know what engine & gearbox they used


Good point. Isnt that about 4 race distances? Not sure about you logic about not doing it with out advantage. These units are sealed. It would have to massively hit them at some point in the season.


Yes, but are they? Or might this have been an engine "supplied for test" and not part of the race quota?


You are not allowed to touch your engine after a race. In fact, the FIA seals it with tamper proof plates.

That leaves the bigger question of... 🙂


Not really they just use an engine and gearbox that haven't been certified to use in the f1 championship


My guess is that they put new engine and gearbox in the car. My understanding is that the engines and gearboxes are marked by the FIA somehow.

Mercedes and Pirelli obviously had this planned so they were able to bring couple of engines and gearboxes extra with them in Spain.


Where is Jean Todt in all this?

Seán Craddock

I've seen pictures of him at the Acropolis Rally this weekend. In my opinion exactly where he should be, he's been absent from WRC events too often and that sport needs a lot of support if it is to survive


That other Sebastian's domination damaged interest?


Conflict of interest? Ferrari....Brawn...perhaps a certain French tire company...


The FIA are playing into RBR hands. This is a storm in a tea cup. Horner and the rest of his team are a disgrace. I think Mercedes have stretched the rules but not as much as RBR have in the past. Think Newey should leave before his good name is dragged through the mud!


Would you still think its a storm in a tea cup if it was Red Bull that did the testing with Vettel and Webber at the wheel and then Vettel won in Monaco?


Unless Newey gets tired of winning, I see no reason for him to quit his current job. As for Christian Horner, I think he's done exceedingly well to build, and then to manage a team of very strong characters (including those that represent the team owner). Talk of his demise was, as always, premature.


How is this paying into Red Bull's hands?

And BTW, everything FIA did in the last couple of years was about slowing the bulls down: blown diffusers, engine mappings, now tyres which cannot handle too much downforce.


I hope your being sarcastic otherwise youre quite a blinded fan...


I can't see what your talking about. Toto Wolf is the boss now so the buck should stop with him. Nikki Lauda said they had FIA permission. Just FIA mess up and trying to blame everyone else


That's what I think, Brawn's not stupid. I wouldn't be surprised if Mercedes have written clarification from the FIA allowing them to test as they did; it all reads like buck-passing to me.


Yep but someone neck in the FIA must be on the chopping block- because the rules are quite clear in this regard and when you have Pirelli saying "we had nothing to do with what car they (Merc) & that's between them and the FIA - they say they are wiping their hands off it- and the rules to Pirelli do say "representative car 'whereas the rules the teams agreed was a 2+'year old car. Clearly Mercedes must have said that a 2011 car is not representative and that their 2011 car was in Asia doing promo work and not available.

The Answer from the FIA should have been- "too bad that's your problem- sorry mr Mercedes - you re schedule your test another time" - but clearly someone in the FIA F/D up and bowed to Mercedes pressure because Lauda and Co are saying " we have in writing- so clearly something is wrong and why Red Bull and Ferrari have a genuine reason to dispute James is suggestin someone in the FIA will lose their job over it - and rightly so!


'...because of a lack of unanimity of the part of the teams.'

I'm not saying that Pirelli is totally blameless, but there is a big chunk of the problem and it is always going to be a problem.

Decisions like tyres / engines / regulations should be completely unilateral on the part of the FIA or whatever body is in the best position to make those decisions, because it sure as hell isn't the teams.

At this point they couldn't bake a cupcake together without arguing over something.


"Decisions like tyres / engines / regulations should be completely unilateral on the part of the FIA"

When the FIA wants to make unilateral decisions, it does so. It's not doing so here because it is happy with the tyres as they are. There's nothing preventing the FIA from telling Pirelli to make better tyres and the teams to use them. The FAI could order the teams to use the 2012 tyres if it wanted to.

It's staying with the current dreadfully poor tyres out of a morbid fear that Vettel will win again if the tyres are made to work properly. Which says a lot about the level of "sport" in F1.


I believe a mid season change has to be approved by theteams, FIA and FOM. Things like the engine map ruling are clarification of the FIAs interpretation of current rules.


That's the fiction they employ, James. The engine map "ruling" was not a "clarification". Whiting took the existing rules on engine mapping and threw them out the window, then wrote very lengthy and completely different ones and substituted them for the old ones. Since doing this is technically illegal, he called it a "clarification". But it wasn't, it was the FIA changing the rules again.


I see. I thought everyone on this forum agreed that changing the goalposts, ehm tyres midseason is as as bad as the influence of the "dreadfully poor" tyres itself. I hardly see how changing the tyres for any reasons other than the delamination issues would have said anything better on the level of "sport" (Redbull must win this season) in F1


The FIA changes things all the time in the middle of the season, so I find this sudden concern that this not be done (shared by "everyone" - really?) a little naive.


I think all the other teams should now be allowed to conduct a 1000km test using the same tyres. Pirelli would gain all the data they need and all the teams would have had the same opportunity

Seán Craddock

The other teams wouldn't want to! It would cost in the region of €1,000,000 to run the car. We ditched in season testing this year for a reason


What's a million euros to teams that have carbon fiber leaf blowers for cooling down their engines?

Seriously I would like to see the teams spend more money on testing and the lower teams, their testing can be paid for by Ferrari-Merc-RBR. Mostly Ferrari. If Ferrar doesn't like it they can go race against the Corvetts in the Rolex series.


@Simmo it is called revenue sharing. The teams already do revenue sharing, just in a very lopsided way. That is a huge issue for F1 moving forward by the way.

Or you can penalize Ferrari and Merc for having the two test by making them pay.


Why should these teams pay for other teams to test? That's ridiculous.


Another day another tyre story. This time it turns out the performace of the tyres is NOT going to be changed, so presumably driver's will be managing tyres from start to finish. There I was hoping we were going to get a mid season reboot (no pun intended.) I'm glad I've just cancelled my Sky subscription.


Do the FIA need an excuse to get rid of Pirelli? Isn't their contract up at the end of the year anyway?


I hope Pirelli just says *** you F1 and bails.

After producing down-graded tires per FIA mandate, they're getting all this bad press, even amongst fans who should know better.

I've run Pirellis for years; they're perfectly good tires.


Agree with you completely Rich C!

Christos Pallis

Spot on, I run P zero's on my Clio 197 and they are far grippier than the Mitchlin that it came with. Lets be real, very little in F1 transfers to road cars and most importantly wouldn't transfer without a complete re design so drawing comparison between the tyres in F1 and Road legal are madness...... Madness I say

Pirelli are only making what they have been asked to, their execution of that hasn't been perfect but then how could it without appropriate machinery to test with?


Another year another FIA scandal


I heard they (Pirelli and the FIA) were close to signing another 5 years of F1 tyres


I understand that Pirelli has signed a preliminary agreement with FOM for 5 years of advertising and other commercial benefits, but it's conditional upon the FIA awarding them the new contract. This incident would seem to throw a sizeable spanner in the works - not that this is particularly new for Formula 1. There's a saying about organising a knees-up in a brewery which seems quite apt at times like these...


Bernie lobbied hard to get the Pirelli deal. The FIA favoured Michelin. This is just another turf war which fans are seeing the public fallout but not the private reasoning behind it all.

This has occurred because the teams are so mistrusting and can't agree on saving their own business and Pirelli are sat there saying, 'if we test we're breaking the rules, if we don't test we have unsafe and unpopular tyres - we can't win'

Meanwhile Michelin is lined up while Bernie is in a weaker position as the FIA scramble to recover their powers.


summed that up perfectly. Politics this year is out of control!


This is great. About ttime we had another scandal. is f1 after all.

I dont really see why everyone is getting upset. This sport thrives on exploiting loop hole's, bending the rules and getting one over the other team.

It appears Ferrari are red faced that they didn't think of doing the same thing, brawn proving he still can spot wiggle room in the rules from a mile away.

It's also hard to take red bull seriously after their secret maps...secret handles to adjust ride height.....flex wings etc. I loved that Newey and horner played the rules and when found out they had to make adjustments. didn't see all this protest nonsense.

Besides, bernie and the fia should have gotten their house in order, sorted the tyre contact earlier and insisted on some sort of regular testing for perelli so tyres could be raced. Instead perelli have to use out of date cars....and now dont have a car, so how are they supposed to develop the right compounds blind?


I've been re-watching race weekends from 2007 lately, and I'd forgotten how different things were. Sure, the whole re-fuelling thing made a big difference to things too.

But you watch quali, and start to finish there are cars out on the track going for it. None of this, "Nothing happening for the first three quarters of each session, then suddenly everyone's out for one hot lap" business (in which the tyres are gone by the time they get to sector 3), or wondering whether or not certain teams will go out at all in Q3. And then the races. Sure there is tyre talk, but I'm yet to hear a radio message from any driver asking if they're allowed to race, or from an engineer telling their driver to cruise for a whole stint. I'm yet to hear a message like the one to Vettel last race, after he put in one quick lap towards the end of the race. On the contrary, what I'm hearing is engineers on the radio telling their drivers to keep pushing hard and take positions.

While the lack of re-fuelling means something else needs to pick up the lost strategy element there, this year's tyre drama is a bit much. But part of the need for strategy is because the cars otherwise struggle to overtake on track.

Simply changing the tyres to more durable ones (whether it's Pirelli or someone else) won't necessarily do it. Change the regs to cut down on aero dependency so the cars can actually follow each other, give 'em tyres they can push hard on, and let 'em have at it out on track.


Not sure why that posted as reply to a comment rather than a new one. Probably somehow Pirelli's fault.


You're assuming that Merc exploited some loophole. In fact it seems open-and-shut that they simply broke the rules, and are trying to claim that the mysterious Pirelli contract with the FIA overrides the rules. They're going to lose that argument.

The RB "secret maps" did not break any rules and did not even exploit any loophole. There were as legal as can be.


The RBR engine maps did exploit a loophole, insofar as they were contrary to the intent of the regulation. That is why the regulation was redrafted. You are correct, however, in stating they did not breach the regulation and were therefore legal.


Just let the other teams have a 1000k test on the unmarked tyres. Job sorted no?


No, if the rules are broken by one or two teams they have to receive some kind of penalty for it.

In my view this punishment needs to be harsh, really harsh so this whole circus will act as adults with common sense.


New tyres need testing, Merc didn't know what rubber was what. If you had a test at silverstone the week of the race it wouldn't cost that much, every one would be in the same boat. Nobody would have an advantage, it's all done and dusted with no claim and counter claim going on for months.


It is not for a team to decide if new tyres need to be tested if the rules are broken in the process. If the rules are broken (which seems to be the case here) there needs to be a punishment otherwise it would be better to say goodbye to the rules alltogether.

For the delamination issue, a new spec tyre can be tested on fridays (because it should be as close as possible to the existing ones) so why bother to give all teams a3days / 1000km test?

The smaller teams have a disadvantage with that.

It is better to take out Mercedes for 3 races if they are found guilty.


Who's going to supply and pay for the engines? Ferrari and Merc wouldn't have used their 2013 quota of engines as they are under parc ferme between each race. They are sealed by the FIA at the end of each race.

I suspect that is why Merc and Ferrari were used.


What coz Red Bull don't have the money? It's Marusia that might struggle with a test


Ferrari might be in hot water too. Article 22.1 stipulates:

"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.",

F1 is a real mess these days.


Based on Article 22.1, it is clear they are talking about current year car, previous year and following year. In this context, can't use 2012, 2013 or 2014 car.


Thats what the rules say, but if the governing body.. The FIA gave specific approval for the use of the 2013 car, there cannot possibly be any repercussion for Mercedes.

People have to be honest with themselves, do they Really think Mercedes would have done the test with the 2013 car without ensuring they have a bullet proof excuse? Ross Brawn has been doing this for too long to just blatantly disregard the rules without covering off legalities.


That could be true if you assume the governing body have the power to unilaterally grant arbitrary exceptions to the rules. I'm sure Red Bull will be arguing that they don't, and that the rules bind FIA officials as well as the teams.


Well Mercedes says they couldn´t use an older car because the 2011 car was at some event in Asia. Is that a bullet proof excuse? I´m not so sure. Mercedes could have done the test later. So it is up to FIA now to rule on the matter


It's road car division Corse Clienti whose car was tested, not the Scuderia.

The F1 Team should be fine.


If this is true - and I'm not 100% convinced by any of the interested parties' versions of events yet - then it could be quite significant.

The regulations say that testing is only testing if it's "undertaken by a competitor entered in the Championship" and this would make it much easier for Scuderia Ferrari (the competitor) to demonstrate that the test was not undertaken by or for them.

No doubt Mercedes will also be arguing that the testing they were involved in was undertaken by Pirelli, not themselves, but since they used their regular race team and drivers it's going to be a much tougher argument for them to make out.


And this corse clienti team are incompetent labourers who nothing about an F1 car and development? Please


As far as I am aware, Corse Clenti use technicians rather than engineers to run these cars.

Ferrari has been using a two year old car with a test driver and a test team that is different to the race team.

If conspiracists want to see a development opportunity there, why not. For others, it will look like a pretty bulletproof case in favour of both Ferrari and Pirelli.


Ferrari used a 2011 car, so I don't think that applies

All revved-up

I agree - the use of a 2013 car by Mercedes is just blatant.

Doesn't Ferrari's 2011 car have a different front suspension from their current car? There was also exhaust or double diffuser back then. I think Ferrari at least tried to provide a car that's substantially different to the 2013 car, but so different as to be useless to Pirelli.

The meaning of "substantially different" must be interpreted in a useful manner. If "substantially different" is interpreted to mean so different as to be completely useless to Pirelli building a 2013 tyre, then what is the point.


They should have just wheeled out something from Schumi's days.. I agree if the car is too old the tests will be meaningless to Pirelli. I believe they blamed a lack of current car to test as part of the problem with this year's tyres and they used a 2010 Renault, so I don't see any other choice other than a 2011 car, as the 2012 car on are explicitly barred from testing.

All revved-up

the second paragraph - last line - should read "not so different"


Hmm..."substantially with current, previous and subsequent year..". Doesn't that go back to 2011 and doesn't that give room for discussion as to the meaning of 'substantially'? Anyhow....another episode of the current mess.



Current: 2013

Previous: 2012

Subsequent: 2014

So 2011 'should' be valid.

That's not to say there aren't issues with a lack of transparency though.

Mohammed Al-Momen

but it says "which conform substantially" and also says " from the previous or subsequent year."

so they could be, no?


Substantially probably has a legal definition and a car that uses different suspension, nose height, lacks ebd and changes to drs system to name a few, could be a seen as a completely different car.


That's the problem isn't it. It depends on your definition of "substantially different"

The cars over the last three years have been largely evolution rather than complete redesigns.

Apart from banning EBD how much of the rules really changed from 2011 to 2013 to constitute a substantially different specification car.

And thus that has been Pirellis problem cars older than 2011 are not representative and the big reason for the current tyre issues. How can they expect to get the tyres right if the test cars are nothing like the current cars.


" that has been Pirellis problem cars older than 2011 are not representative and the big reason for the current tyre issues"

No, their problems stem from a combination of things. One is the lack of proper testing, but the other is their own decision to roll out very "aggressive" tyres for this year. They could - and really should - have made some minor tweaks to the 2012 tyres and left it at that.

We can't discount the possibility that the 2013 tyres are working exactly as intended by the FIA and Pirelli, and that both simply failed to anticipate the size of the resulting backlash.


I don't think the cars age matters, as long as it is recent.

In many ways, a test with a 2011 car would be relevant to current running.


And a test driver unlike Merc...


Pirelli has to be close to pulling the pin on F1. There has to be a limit to how much damage they are willing to take.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when people inside Pirelli ask 'remind me again why we're doing this?'


I was watching a mid week thing on Sky and Adam Parr says Pirelli are loving the publicity. He also said the deal is very good for them as the teams have to buy the tyres - in the past the were provided free of charge.

He reckons the deal was pretty much done, and all parties were ready to sign up for the next 3 years.

So, that probably means they will pull out next week and Michelin will be back!


This is all far too political and convenient to be honest.


I see Hembery is spouting his usual nonsense. When will he learn that people watch F1 for the technology on show, rather than for his black blobs of rubber. [mod]


Hembery's and Pirelli's intention is to create race where commentators talk about the tyre from a strategy perspective.

Unfortunately, with no proper testing, it is very difficult to have it bang on.

Also remember there are only four compounds for the whole season and 19 different tracks. You are bound to have some weekends where the tyres don't fit the 2/3 stop they'd like to see every race.


They connect these low-flying machines to the Earth so as to keep them from flying off into space!


@ rohan those black blobs is the only way the show gets on the road,pun intended.


The rubber is one of the most important technologies however unglamourous you think it is. As the *sole* (hmm, pun) medium of delivery for every last bit of machinery and driver input it's arguably the most important of all.


Lets see how far the cars get without tyres.


People buy black blobs of rubber that are on those F1 technology cars... that's why they're there... no?


Surely in Motorsport those bits of rubber are the most important technology - you know what the call a car without tyres after all?

And a tyre company head speaking about tyres - bizarre! 😉


This year is a disaster...scandal after scandal


I must confess to rather enjoying it. Political wrangling has always been part of any multinational endeavour the size of Formula 1. Seeing how the sausage is made, to paraphrase the saying, is fascinating to me.


The usual, in other words. Formula One is coming very close to appearing scripted, with potted dramas like professional wrestling, just to get us waving our team flags and wearing our team hats and getting excited about the outrage done to our favourite wrestle...racers.



with regards to the number of pit stops, Pirelli could simply be more conservative with their choice of tyres for the upcoming events. I believe there is nothing that could prevent them from, say, always choosing hard and medium from now on.

Speaking of which, for how many of the future events have Pirelli announced their tyre choice?


Yes but some harder tyres will struggle to warm up on some tracks, so you have to be careful

As far as I know the tyre choices up to Canada are public and not after that


What makes me laugh, is that Pirellis Paul Hembery says that Mercedes did not get any advantage. You drive 1000 km of tests with current car and no advantage at all? There is 2 options to this statement. Either Pirelli and Paul Hembery are not the smartest or they think that F1 viewer has a brain of a golf-ball and after hearing Pirelli says it was OK, they believe everything really was OK. It's one of the most famous tire suppliers and to get as stupid as explanation like this is beyond me. Also the way that Pirelli tried to keep it secret is just not right. There was a press conference after the SPanish GP, where Paul Hembrey talked about development and future plans of Pirelli and no word about the Mercedes tests, they just had, not a single word. The only question really is, was the advantage Mercedes got big or very big. Doesn't really matter what kind of tires they were using, it could be tires for year 2070 aswell, that doesn't mean there isn't any advantage. If there wouldn't be any advantage, teams would not run those tests. And Mercedes and Ferrari know this.

Also the answers from Mercedes staff Ross Brawn and Toto Wolff suggest that they tried to keep it all a big secret but failed. Ross Brawn has always been on the dark side, with Ferrari, then with controversial Brawn GP and now with Mercedes...coincidence? I think not. The man is smart, no doubts about it. Just that he uses it the wrong way.

Don't know what kind of decision to wait from FIA but I'm afraid there will not come any harsh penalty for Mercedes or Pirelli. Altough in my opinion they should punish both. Mercedes for driving a 2013 car and gettign advantage over other teams and Pirellis for trying to manipulate the championship and both trying to keep it a big secret (altought they say it wasn't a secret, all their actions and answers really tell the other story).

I'm pretty sure, both Ferrari and especially Mercedes got a lot of information (read advantage) from these tests or it's just coincidence that after the tests Ferrari showed better form and winning in Spain by some big margin and Mercedes won his 1st GP of the season, almost getting it 1-2 if it wasn't for Hamilton making a mistake. The championship is already manipulated, the question is what FIA will do about it, as they are in fault in this aswell.


We could do with more facts and less speculation. Might help us to stay objective until a clearer picture emerges. Implying that the test helped Ferrari win in Spain rings hollow considering that Ferrari have been their own worst enemy so far or FA would have been leading the WDC. And the tests were carried out with a 2011 car. As for Merc in Monaco, even Marussia would have won from pole given everyone behind them was driving to a delta, not to forget that Monaco is Monaco.


If refuelling is allowed during races, 2013 tyre will be tremendous.....


Without DRS the 2013 tyres would be tremendous, also without these tyres DRS would be a pretty good solution to the problems of 2010. If you had one but not the other, defensive driving would still be possible.


I can see this issue being much like the team orders, in that the issue of it coming up does not really highlight issues with those breaking the rules, but the issue is with the rules itself.

F1 is no longer developing how it should, teams are too limited on testing, this limits the ability of all aspects of F1 to improve. So many parts of an F1 car are built to a defined standard by the FIA, so much that the constructors championship is more about paint colour than it is who built the car.


The FIA have to be careful how much trouble they want to cause about this. The wisest thing is to grant all the teams a 1000km mid season test after Montreal and then call it quits. Or else there is a good chance that there will be no tyre supplier next year!


The contract the FIA signed with Pirelli does not say how current the test car should be (or not).

Thats the loophole Brawn drove the bus through.

How will it be solved? Next week, the FIA will come up with a "clarification." Any bets?


And the 2013 car is substantially different from the 2014 car which the tyres were tested for (much of the tests anyway).

Christos Pallis

I think this is the head and the nail has just hit it....

The F1 tyres being tested were for 2014 according to Pirelli. Brawn (merc) would therefore stipulate that the design of the 2013 Merc is substantially different to that of the 2014 cars hence legal to the wording.

2013 car is only a problem if in this scenario Pirelli were testing 2013 rubber and they were not. Think they admitted to one quick run on the new bead for 2013 but using a 2014 compound!


Your probably right you know.. But there's still the argument that the agreement the FIA has with teams says a car that's is 2 years + old. Then there's the argument that all teams were notified - I bet there will be some technicality by "how & when they were notified" and clearly many teams were not formerly notified by the FIA - someone in deep s--t over this.



I think you've nailed it- defining 'current' sounds like a very Brawn-esque tactic!


I literally hate myself for saying this, but I'm beginning to miss Max Mosley.


'A team is not allowed to test a current car during a season'

I don't think that anyone would argue that Mercedes would have benefited from the test, but I'm guessing they'll be saying that they were there to help test the tyres - not their car - and so there's the loop-hole...maybe.

Or maybe they should have just called Red-Bull before the test to get a few friendly pointers...


It's clear the people suffering the most from the current tyre politics are the fans. The current tyres are embarrassing and Ferrari are a disgrace. They are happy for all the cars to go round at 5mph just so long as they can keep winning. F1 has been ruined as a spectacle due to the banning of refueling and the introduction of these ridiculous tyres as well as drs. The years when Kimi and Lewis won were two of the most exciting championships in memory with some fantastic races, the current regulations are a joke.


Here's a 2010 article by James Allen, which might be worth re-reading:

Tornillo Amarillo

Mercedes should not be blame when the problems are the tyres, Pirelli inconsistency and FIA lack of leadership about tyres.


So to me, the key point is that they were testing planned 2014 tyre constructions...

James, with Mercedes clearly not quite in a position to challenge for the title this year, but obviously expecting to be strong challengers in 2014, would Mercedes be taking the risk of being punished this year with the aim of getting a glimpse of the dynamics of the planned 2014 tyres while they are in the process of designing the 2014 car and therefore getting a huge advantage for next year...


Sound like a reasonable theory, the problem with it is:-

Merc can't be sure the tyres tested will actually be used for the 2014 season. In fact as this was a test it is quite likely Pirelli will change some of the tyres characteristics for the final tyre.

Merc would still have to determine from this data what the effects would be on the completely different 2014 car. In fact you could argue that data from the 2011 car would be just as useful and would avoid the controversy. No, there has to be a better reason than this for taking the gamble on the loophole and the inevitable outcry. It would seem Merc still think they can salvage something from this season, the car is fast, they have a good driver line-up and the team is well motivated, it is only the tyre issues holding them back. The chance to have a run on the new tyre due to be introduced at Canada was probably the big temptation and worth the risk.


Solidly logical post. Anything else does not stand the test of logic, from my point of view. The current (somewhat farcical) controversy is being overshadowed by the totally farcical commentary by readers on this (and other) site.

OF COURSE Mercedes gained advantage. Why else DO it? The test was OBVIOUSLY done in secret (plenty of evidence coming out on that). The rationale for the testing, and the structure of the test itself, laid out by Pirelli is hilarious in its obfuscation and lack of respect for any intelligent reader.

Some serious wrong has been done, regardless of the loophole rule wrangling we will sit through. The FIA response will be enlightening, unfortunately this is not a "tempest in a teapot", and the FIA has the near term future of the sport in its hands. That is not overstating the situation.

Sadly, axing Pirelli, and suspending Mercedes for the season, seem the logical means to manage this. Getting a tire replacement will be the sternest test for the FIA, but the Todt/Michelin connection will likely prevail.

BUT, I doubt that outcome, and see the results as a mess.


Hello we have someone else that can see what's going on here


That's my guess. Mercedes surely did it for an advantage for next year. Pirelli needed a representative car, and what better car to use than one that eats its tires. It was a win win.

Seán Craddock

James what has Jaime told you about Pirelli tests? He probably knows what was wrong with the old car. Did Pirelli modify the car from it's original form to accommodate changes in rules?

If I'm not mistaken they're selling a 2011 HRT because they don't want it. Would that not be a better car than the current car they test with?


He said it was difficult because the 2010 Renault was well off the pace of the 2012 cars, so not terribly representative.


James, is there any rumours on possible tyre companies that could replace Pirelli for next year?

Despite the fact that it's getting late in the day for contracts for next year I haven't read about any other company showing significant interest in F1.


Maybe what the FIA and some of their backroom friends want anyway. Check out how underhandedly they dealt with Dr. Gary Hartstein.


It's all very well Pirelli saying they didn't ask Merc to bring a 2013 car, but perhaps they should have asked them not to?


Pirelli is lying when saying they did not test the 2013 tyres?

Just watch it on Youtube clips, both Hemphrey and Brawn say during the Monaco interviews thyat 2013 tyres were tested too.

This going to be huge. I predict Mercedes beijng stripped off their contructors points for the rest of the season and Pirelli gets no contract for 2014 and beyond.


Even this article quotes PH as saying 2013 tyres were tested in the Merc test to address delamination issues only. PH still works for Ferrari, no? Then how would Pirelli be lying if PH admitted right from the beginning that the tests covered 2014 and some aspects of 2013 as well?


Pirelli said in the official statement they only tested 2014 tyres.


These posts are starting to remind me of a football match where everyone criticizes the umpire, even though none of them have read the rule book.

So many posts seem to think that they know who is guilty and who is not, when it is apparent that hardly anyone has read the regulations, let alone knows how to interpret them.

My "guess" is that all of the correspondence leading up to this will be so ambiguous, that any good lawyer would be able to mount a convincing argument for the defense.

We've been fed a dribble of the facts.

Until the tribunal, everyone is guessing.


My bet is, there'll be no tribunal, just the usual FIA "clarification" and an accompanying stream of Bernies ghoulish jokes and fiendish wisecracks.



everyone is bringing up theories and counter- theories to support their own stance on this.


Apparently they are having this pre-tribunal meeting to decide if there is to *be a tribunal.


Pirelli saying they did not ask for a 2013 car- is a really heavy statement because this is really at the crux of the illegality!. Either way both Merc and Pirelli have a responsibility to the regulations!

I too do not buy into the "blind test" no advantage for 2014. Surely if Pirelli and Mercedes sampled several compounds - they have an indirect knowledge of next year tyre compounds and this in turn "directs" Mercedes into how their 2014 car should ride. To me this is a much bigger knowledge than purely having knowledge of 2013 rubber!.

Lauda was confident of the email and advise tail between the team and the FIA but I truly smell something wrong with this because surely 11 teams would know if they received an email inviting them to test ( per the regs). Eric Boullier has already stated they got no notice because Ethel would surely have take up the offer- who wouldn't !

Further I read elsewhere that Pirelli invited teams last year- May 2012 to be available for such 1000klms test- but this is complete and utter garbage because last year and this hear are two different ball games- also some teams mentioned they had knowledge - but this was just general discussion at team meetings and NOT FIA sanctioned invited - with formal offers to ALL teams.

I can see Pirellis contract not being signed and ai can certainly see another tyre Maunfacturer like Michellin being declared very soon. Because quite frankly why is the FIA taking so long to sign their contract. Further I see that the FIA are at fault for not discovering this test sooner- which tells me they are not interested in what Pirelli think anymore. I for one was standing up for them with all te bullying they copped from Teams especially Red Bull. But seriously Pirelli must go because they have shown that not only technically they have delivered tyres that are often beyond marginal - but also they have not followed correct protocol and gave way to pressure- which does them no good what so ever even if they are faultless - which Injust don't accept for the above reasons.


How can the FIA "discover" a test they were aware of from the very beginning.


The email in question was sent to teams over a year ago. However if a team is going to do a test with a current car then Pirelli should send another email or statement to teams telling them the situation. And also telling them they have the right to such test with a current car too. It seems Pirelli forgot to send this second email to teams. That´s why RB is saying it was a secret test.


You do realise Pirelli did not want to test with multiple teams don't you?

These test needed the car to remain unchanged for the entire test so it is not a variable and the tyre data can be compared across the different 2014 specs they were testing.

There was nothing to gain running multiple teams in the on test. not to mention the need for a clear track so again there are no other outside variables.


It is not about what Pirelli wants. FIA requires that all teams must know about it if a team is using a current car and they do 3 days test and 1000km. Then teams can decide whether to do the same test or not. I guess some teams may decline because they don´t have a big budget.


Merc is adamant that the use of their 2013 was okayed by no less than the FIA's legal department. Goods can't get heavier than that.

Red Bull is playing a game of sour grapes that will catch them out in F1's murky World. They realise and have quickly changed tack to say they are blaming Merc only and have no fight with Pirelli. It couldn't get stranger! Merc didn't organise the tests.

I can almost confidently predict that Red Bulls decibels will get progressively lower as they realise that they might possibly have walked, eyes wide open, into a grimy political trap.

Does anyone recall that before now, Paul Hembery had always hinted that the current tyres are designed to stop Red Bull?


Yes, it is impossible to even contemplate that Merc didn't leave that test with a tonne of data. The question is if the heist was "legal" or not. It would seem that with the gaping vagaries and contradictory clauses in the FIA-FOM and FIA-Pirelli contracts, politics, bias/old boy networks are the only standards available to the F1 paddock to pick what is "right" (even if it turns out to be sickeningly wrong).

Tom Haythornthwaite

I have complained vociferously against the tire rules but never against Pirelli. They are doing what they were asked to do and the F1 climate has made it very difficult for them. It must hurt that they cannot really use their F1 tires for any credible publicity.

I predict:

* Pirelli have already signed on for 2014 and more.

* Charlie Whiting will get a secret wrist-slap that we will never know about.

* Mercedes will receive a suspended one-race disqualification.


+1 I agree.

This is all so ambiguous.

Pirelli doesn't ask for a 2013 car.

So why does Fia mentions a 2013 car in it's emails.

Ross Brawn says they sort and got confirmation.

Someone stuffed up, gloss it over, and move on.


Didn't Ferrari begin using a pullrod suspension in 2012? If so, it seems that the 2011 car would be substantially different than the one they use today.

Jonathan Lodge

Different suspension has nothing to do with this. Both pull and push rod suspension comply with the current regulations. Both types of suspension kept ferarri near the front.

The substantial difference refers to changes in regulations and not a teams approach to them.

If it were so simple then the best car to use for testing would be last year's McLaren...


In any case the car that was used was F150 Italia which wouldn't be a legitimate platform to use in 2013 thus it wouldn't be allowed by the scrutinizers onto the track in 2103.


Sorry 2013


Interesting statement here 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.”

Which sounds like an admission that Merc broke the "sporting regulations" and is counting on the mysterious "rules that Pirelli has negotiated with the FIA" to save their skins.

I'd love to see the details of the Pirelli contract with the FIA.


It is beginning to look, to me, like the FIA couldn't manage a one-car funeral.


In all this political posturing this is the one clear fact


I must confess I'm finding this uncertainty over whether the 2011 cars "conform substantially" with the 2013 cars quite odd. The 2011 regulations permitted off-throttle exhaust blown diffusers, completely different rear bodywork designs (including exhaust exit placement), a multitude of different engine maps and higher front noses. None of the cars on the grid in 2011 would pass scrutineering for this season, as far as I can make out. Surely that means they do not "conform substantially"? I'm studying Law so I realise there's all kinds of wriggle room surrounding interpretation of the words involved, particularly given the aero & engine regulations remaining constant, but I would have said if they can't pass scrutineering then they're not conforming by definition, much less "substantially".

Has to be said, this is why I'm starting to prefer sportscar racing to F1 these days. Granted, that's not perfect either with the Balance of Performance system the ACO uses, but that's pretty small fry compared with what this series comes up with.


Don't understand why Ferrari is pulled into the discussion. Diffrent car, diffrent driver, whilst Merc used current car and leading drivers.


Ferrari's should not have been a secret, but the fact that it was an old car without current drivers does not make me too mad.

Mercedes running for 3 days with current car and current drivers is out and out cheating. Forget what they did or did not learn about the tires, they could have tested parts, etc. Very nasty politics from Merc.


Pay attention. The whole point was for Pirelli to test various tyre constructions for 2014. For this to be of any benefit the car has to remain unchanged throughout the testing. I.e. no new parts and no change to setup. And if they'd had new parts they would have already tried them in FP1 a few days previous.


But then the old car would have been better for them than the new, considering thar the wing size will be substantialy reduced, and the turbo engine with HERS will effectively eliminate exhaust blowing of the diffuser. Thus having the new car disadvantages Pirelli so only Merc could gain from using the 2013 car.



do all these 'sagas' seem to you to have one final purpose/target only: to stop RBR/VET from winning 4th WCC/WDC in a row?


As theories go this should be classified under X-files, however this is F1 and nothing would surprise me.



I too, believe its a Red Bull curve ball.


Really? I think it is merc and ferrari that are involved:-)


Much ado about nothing...just sayin'

All revved-up

I do not blame Pirelli for the controversy.

No one has a problem with a tyre test - if Mercedes had supplied a 2011 car.

The blame is with Mercedes - for cheekily using their 2013 cars and their own drivers.

But I'm puzzled why they would so blatantly breach the sporting code. This could spiral into an outright testing war, and Lotus would be most disadvantaged - if they do not have the financial power to run testing programs.

The gap between the top teams and the rest of the pack will widen.


Apparently Mercedes had their 2011 car somewhere in Asia for some event. That´s why they asked FIA to use their current car. FIA seems to agree with that. However I think the event explanation is not good enough. They should´ve done the test at some later date


Anne, I agree you did say seem. However you also go on to say that you do not consider the event explanation to be good enough, and they should have conducted the test at a later date. The only point I was making is that whether you , or I, consider an explanation to be good enough is not relevant.

Not trying to have an argument 🙂


With all due respect Anne, it doesn't matter whether you , or I, think explanations are good enough. If the FIA gave Mercedes the go ahead (to use a 2013 car) then how on earth can Mercedes be at fault?


First I said "it seems" FIA gave them the go ahead. Why I said that? because after the race in Monaco FIA issued a statement saying it wasn´t clear to them that both Mercedes and Pirelli followed all the requirements to conduct the test.


Could F1 possibly get any more boring than this? I mean it's ridiculous the amount of restrictions in this sport. Teams are like dogs on a leash.


If you design out the real racing then you have to replace this with a bit of controversy to keep "the fans" engaged. Welcome to "Reality F1"

Bit harsh but this is the road we seem to be heading down.


I can't understand how Ferrari have been brought into this. The rules on testing state;

"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."

Therefore if Ferrari ran a 2011 car they should be fine.

Mercedes obviously used a 2013 car and are stuffed.


4 very simple questions for you:

1. How does a car "conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations?"

2. How does a car "conform substantially" with the previous seasons regulations?

3. How does a car "conform substantially" with the subsequent seasons regulations?

4. How do you quantify or substantiate the meaning of the rather vague term, "substantially?"



Easy. Any car designed for 2012, 2013 or 2014. Cars designed for 2011 regs are not included.


If it was that simple, legal minds wouldn't be working overtime on the problem as they are doing now.

The word, "substantial" was not quantified in the racing context in the FIA contract. E.g. would putting a 2014 or 2010 engine in a 2013 car make it "substantially different?"


Whether a car would be able to pass scrutineering for a 2013 race. The 2011 Ferrari has different nose height, lower downforce due to no ebd and substantially different aero. You could argue that it has four wheels and is red, but so was Ascari's Tipo 500


If all the car needs is to pass scrutineering for 2013, then a dollop or two of illegality will do the trick and make the car legal for a tyre test. A wing or two in the wrong place perhaps, or a bendy front wing?


Another point which I haven't seen anyone else make yet is that the fuss about using a 2013 car vs a 2011 car is kind of redundant.

If they really were testing 2014 tyres (and I say that with a pinch of salt) then using a 2013 car is probably even less relevant to the 2014 regulations as a 2011 car is to the current regulations.

Yes there is the letter of the rules (as they interpreted by the teams and the FIA at any given time), but the majority is just usual.


Wouldn't it be possible that the FIA wants Ferrari's test data to compare to Mercedes' and see if there are any significant differences that could prove favoritism?


That was my guess as to what this request was about as well.


Safety reasons are BS. The tyres only delaminate. They don't deflate like in previous years. Mercedes found a cheeky path to a free test and jumped on it.

No exscuses.

If RB thought it was legal, they would have jumped in before Mercedes did 100%.


I'd give "safety reasons" a wider remit than just what happens to the tyres themselves if it were me - superheated tyre debris being thrown through the air at 100mph+ isn't going to be particularly good for the other cars, or indeed marshalls unfortunate enough to get caught in the crossfire. Besides, all it takes is a tyre delamination to fire someone into a barrier at high speed and you've got a safety issue.


Couldn't they have got hold of an HRT to do the testing?

Christos Pallis

But they need a representative car hahahahahhahahaha


So here is my call as to how this plays out.....

Too political to hang anyone.......

Some minor penalties and move on.....

but to what......

No change to tyre performance.

Merc won @ Monaco because they could get pole and control the race with a very slow delta.

RBR showed that they had the best race pace and

best race management.

SV extends his WDC lead.

Rest of season proceeds with racing to a delta and SV slowly and laboriously wins his 4th WDC.

We all hope for a better dynamic in 2014, but are disappointed because one engine dominates so the WCC & WDC will be won by that works team and the customer teams can via for the minors.

Who would buy shares in that?

I'm afraid to say, I think this sport is in serious trouble.


"I think this sport is in serious trouble."

IMO, a big part of the problem is that the FIA, the body responsible for running the sport, also wants to be involved in deciding the outcome.

Try to image the FA changing the size of the pitch, or the size of the goals, or the size of the football, in an effort to stop Man U winning every year. It would never happen. But this sort of thing is taken as normal in F1. That's where a lot of the current troubles originate.

I know this practice has a long tradition in F1, but it needs to end and the FIA needs to start conducting itself as a neutral body concerned ONLY with the integrity of the sport. If doing that results in Ferrari or Red Bull or some other team winning a few years in a row, then that's what should happen.


Man U don't have budget restrictions, they're allowed to train and the rules don't change every two years to make the sport greener


Well Ferrari's car was both within the "subsequent" year and substantially similar to exclusions of the regulations. The car would would have had to be a 2010 to not be.

Pirelli is talking out both sides of their mouth. Paul Hembry stated during Monaco that they did not ask for a 2013 car but only one that was representative. Now they say the did neither. The invite is from 2012 not for this year.

Looks like someone in the FIA might have signed off on this, which is par for the course with the FIA involved. Next thing you know they will disqualify a driver for cutting a corner but not 3 other drivers that did the same thing in the same race...wait they already did that.

There is only one equitable solution for this and that is after Canada or before Silverstone they allow all teams to test for 3 days except Ferrari who can test for only 500KM. Ferraria Merc and the FIA can split the bill with Ferrari paying the least.


I am puzzled by the situation of Pirelli’s wanting to use new tyres from Silverstone onwards. I thought the FIA said that the tyres could only be changed on safety grounds. However, Pirelli are saying there is no safety issue and it is just to stop the type of delamination which is bad PR for them. So then why would the FIA (or teams) allow them to change the tyres?


They can if all teams agree. But i suspect some teams will veto it when they find out that they are not able to generate sufficient tyre temperatures.

richard piers

What a mess F1 has become and it gets worse not better. Too many apologists.

Time for the little ringmeister to be put out to grass and for some fresh thinking and proper authority to be put in place.

The new power unit regs will be good but the aerodynamics have gone from being dangerous and questionable to being a hugely expensive and totally irrelevant joke.



IS the invisible elephant in the room


Couldn't agree more


All teams run on the edge of being legal,they need someone to catch them at it.


I'm curious about the engine(s) and transmission(s) used during the testing. Would these have been extra units outside of their season supply?

Regarding the legality of the testing seems the only clarity we have is that there is a web of rules, contracts and agreements (in place and expired) that leave this controversy a nice Rorschach test that supports whatever opinion we might have.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome is.


Wow, the FIA has realised that this whole episode is going to explode, I do think Mercedes thought they could get away with using the 2013 car and have the safety issue card ready, Pirelli blew that by saying they was using 2014 tires and now the FIA has worked out the worse case ending in this and that will be Mercedes walking away. The bosses at merc want results and have thrown everything at it and if the proper penalty is given they will be thrown out with a huge fine, Mercedes will probably walk and leave the sport with some huge supply issues with engines.

So the FIA are trying to make the whole thing less of an issue by bringing Ferrari into the mess and trying to share the blame and say both mis-read the rules and let it go. Pirelli will also walk if they are made to look bad and they aren't signed in as there is no Concorde agreement stating the teams bond to F1 or even an agreement on tire size for the next few years (if tire size isn't agreed, how can they test 2014 tires?).


Doesn´t matter what Pirelli saya,they´re not the ones to blame,look at the Ferrari´s test,they did it in a 2011 car,so why didn´t Merc did the same?The point of this whole thing is: why the hell they had to run a current car?Very tough to back Mercedes on this one;this seems VERY unfair.


Apparently the Merc 2011 wasn't available. for what ever reason I don't know. Merc apparently asked if they could use the 2013 car and got permission from the FIA. What I'd like to hear is why the FIA would allow it or who allowed it. I'm sure all will be revealed.


James, why was Pirelli testing 2014 compounds when they don't have a contract? Do you think Pirelli are honest with their statement on the parameters of the Merc test?


According to them: Because they expect to have a contract and time is short to specify compounds and constructions ahead of September 1 when they need to deliver the full spec to the FIA and to teams for next year's cars.


James, with the loss of down force next year, wouldn't Pirelli prefer an older car, maybe even from 2009, no exhaust generated down force, smaller wings in 2014.


It's as much about the power delivery. 2014 engines have a lot more torque

Stephen Taylor

What if this fiasco scuppers the contract?

Liam of Sydney

So James, are Mercedes given an unfair advantage for 2014? Are Mercedes able to build some of the characteristics of these proposed 2014 tyre for their 2014 chassis? This seems unfair to me.


Guess it would depend if they were able to able to get access to the data from the tests which no one has proven they have yet. From what I read only Pirelli have the data.


That is for the inquiry to establish

I have no idea as the full facts need to be established


I hope that next years tyres is better than this years,,,,as the cars next year will generate wheel spin and these degrading tyres will not suit the Turbo V6's.

Autosport states that Hankook will not want to take part in F1 due to the testing constraints within F1 and the short time frame. This should mean Pirelli will stay or if FIA have a secret Tyre supplier on stand by....i.e. Bridgestone / Michelin.

Torchwood Five

Looks like that protest blew up in Ferarri's face, then.


One of the most important issues will be : WHO (legally) conducted the test, ie what regulations apply.


Pirelli ran the test, Merc just supplied the car and drivers.


Maybe Mercedes will argue that Barcelona car was substantially different than the car in Monaco and following races 😉



Mercedes are not the FIA spokespersons. The onus is not in them to say anything about a tyre test. If the issue is secret, then FIA is duty bound to inform all teams as Pirelli had already requested them to come forward.



I am getting very tired of the tyres debate. Why cant the FIA / Pirelli / Teams get to together to test the new tyres out maybe do it on a Thursday therefore a 4 day venue. Costs would be for an extra day but do this maybe 7 or 8 times during the season. I feel that F1 and the tyre debate may get current and long term fans isolated and bored.

Another mistake by the tyre company was changing the tyres from 2012 to these current grainer's. They should have left the tyres to last year compounds, they were good for the aggressive drivers and gave us good racing. This year the racing is no you cant race the fastest car or tyre car you have to look after your tyres....this is not F1 any more. F1 is about the showcase of technological innovation, pure racing and driving to the limit which we are not watching at the moment.

James any news on how the tyres will be like for 2014?



Testing should be done during the race calendar but consisting of 4 days but with a limit running of 25 laps or 30 laps, with 7 or 8 race venues to test (race circuits and no street circuits).


It would make more sense to allow testing on the Monday, just let the teams use up the rubber and fuel they have left from the weekend.


Consisting of 4 days instead of three days (race Week /weekend). Pirelli or FIA could Chair when the tests should take place maybe 3 GPs beforehand.

Tornillo Amarillo

If it is not Pirelli, who then?

James, it is interesting to know which tire company is supplying which category currently.

For example Michelin will du FE next year. What are Firestone, Bridgestone and others companies doing?

Very interesting the problems aboug tyre size and testing pointed out by Hankook this week. Could you give us more input please?


It was a 2011 model


Strictly speaking Scuderia Ferrari didn't conduct any tests. F150 Italia utilized by Pirelli was provided by Corse Clienti Division that is a separate entity to Ferrari F1 Team. The driver that was driving F150 isn't currently competing in F1 GPs, so Ferrari is clear. The question is still what, how and why ? Mercedes were using their current F1 W04 car despite the fact that those cars components are of limited life and they didn't get any compensation from FIA so that they may replace engine/ transmission after 1000 km of intense testing without being penalized.


Not saying I actually believe Ferrari did anything wrong but I think the argument that Corse Clienti ran the test and therefore Ferrari couldn't benefit from anything learned is a bit naive. They are affiliated with Ferrari and could easily pass information on.


4 sure even McLaren benefited from the famous spy gate. On legal grounds you would need a water tight B&W evidence that separate entity leaked info to SF which was beneficial to them. So Ferrari did it in a legally very complex way while Mercedes blatantly used W04 with their first line drivers.


It has surfaced now that Lewis and Nico even used different helmet liveries opposing to their usual one, to avoid being identified. So it is quite strange to do this, to say the least, isn't it ?, certainly if this is true and correct.


The fact that Mercedes did it so blatantly leads to me believe that they must have written proof and permission that that FIA allowed it. Contrary to what is being said the test was anything but secret with no effort being made what so ever to try and hide it from anyone so unless they had permission they would be pretty stupid to be so obvious - which I doubt they are.


Sorry but F1 is so boooring!

I do enjoy Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP races though. Redding's victory was epic!!! Now, bike races are for men, F1 races nowadays are for primadonnas...


Yet you feel compelled to visit a F1 related website and even comment? If you don't like it, don't watch it and go watch your motoGP.


Then why do you watch it and/or comment on a F1 blog?


Indy is also for men.

Rob in Victoria bc

I'd like to see a return to single lap qualifying,no problem about saving tires for the race then.


Surely it's possible to run tyre tests using current cars, under FIA observation, in such a way that the team involved does not benefit or take away any usable data?

Couldn't the team staff set up the car for running with a pre-agreed suspension/downforce set up, then Pirelli staff run the car driven by a Pirelli test driver and all recorded data is erased from team equipment prior to the car being returned?

I'm sure it's more complicated than that but surely it's not beyond the wit of the people involved in F1 to work out an acceptable protocol for this?