Ferrari were in cahoots with Red Bull over their concerns about a test that took place using a Mercedes 2013 chassis after the Spanish Grand Prix. What some have also shared is that Ferrari was also involved in a test between the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Spanish Grand Prix. The difference here is that the Scuderia used a two-year-old chassis for the test and they figure that’s a completely different situation.

To be honest, it actually is. While Pirelli have said they don’t care if the car is a 2011, 2012, or 2013 chassis as it matters little them in order to test their tires, I happen to know for a fact that their 2010 chassis is not good enough for the test as I put the question to Pirelli’s Paul Hembery. No mystery there, Paul isn’t being disingenuous, it’s just that the regulations changed quite a bit in 2011 and that’s the reason for it.

Now it seems the FIA are keen to find out exactly what did take place at the Ferrari / Pirelli test what the details actually are before they start flogging Mercedes in an upcoming International Tribunal. The FIA said:

‘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 question I am wondering is this: If Pirelli said they actually did ask all the teams, then why didn’t Red Bull participate? They’ve got the money and team brain Adrian Newey says that 1000km is worth one second ont he track. Was Red Bull invited to test this year by Pirelli?

Clearly Ferrari are arguing that the 2013 chassis Mercedes used is a breach of the regulations and Mercedes says the FIA rubber-stamped the use of this year’s chassis while Pirelli says they didn’t ask for a 2013 chassis. The plot thinnens!

Either way, it will be interesting to see if the Ferrari test has any bearing on the Mercedes verdict or if Ferrari will be reprimanded as well as Mercedes and Pirelli. I’d be hard pressed to suggest Pirelli are in hot water as the series needs a tire supplier and Pirelli seem to be the incumbent choice at the moment but I could be wrong… the FIA have treated tire makers poorly in the past and I’m looking at you Max Mosley.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • JackFlash(Aust)

    You know Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 and their tarty concubine Pirelli MUST be in the wrong very deeply, when even Scuderia Ferrari F1 has the moral high-ground on them.

    True dat!


    To further insult all of us:

    [1]. Pirelli (… who pretend to have no idea about the ‘back-of garage’ data processing the teams in F1 do to evaluate everything else APART FROM their round black disintegrating rubber things at each corner) tell us Mercedes gained nothing from their 1000 km of 2013 chassis/driver relevant testing distance… for free!
    I don’t for one second believe Pirelli are stupid (and actually believe this PR-politics-crap they are shovelling to us).

    [2]. Even if Mercedes doesn’t get to know which tyre construction prototype is which, for what year, and which may be used this year or next… they will have reams (Gigabytes) of data recorded for each of the test runs, and they’ll understand fundamentally what those test units meant to a 2013 chassis at the track with the most comparative data for Formula1 (Circuit de Catalunya). The data has direct translation to the 2013 pre-season tests. When Pirelli does introduce the new rubber (modified construction) for 2013, it will take exactly a ‘data-engineer’s microsecond’ for Mercedes to figure which of their free-test kilometres the new tyre best represents. Same for any other future Pirelli variant. QED.
    BLAM! … This is clearly unsporting and wrong.


    • MIE

      and how exactly is this different from Ferrari testing a 2011 chassis? Surely they haven’t forgotten the data they recorded two years ago, and can do a similar comparison.

      Pirelli state that the constructions tested were for use in 2014 and not for 2013. As the teams do not yet know which of these choices will be used in 2014, it doesn’t help either team in their car design for next year.

      If either team had reliability issues to solve, then I can see how a 1000km test could directly benefit them. At the moment it would require some guesswork on their part (and we would only see the result at the start of next season).

      • JackFlash(Aust)

        “Pirelli state that the constructions tested were for use in 2014 and not for 2013.”

        Really. Is that Pirelli’s story this minute… So they tested nothing for the purpose of resolving the “Safety Issue” in the 2013 construction?… Wasn’t that the one reason the FIA said they agreed to discuss Pirelli’s allotted tyre testing in-season… the reason Pirelli at first denied vehemently — but then did a 180deg turn on days later?

        MIE mate. There are so many ‘porky pies’ and creative PR being told here, I am not even sure “Paul Hembery” is the guys real name anymore…

        ps. I’m no Ferrari fan, but SF’s 2011 chassis based data is a fair way from the Merc’s 2013 chassis based data – re correlation to the 2013 pre-season kilometres of testing on the 2013 tyres. Not un-correlate-able for sure, but much more clouded by the progression of chassis behaviour and aero differences between 2011 and the 2013 car solutions. JF

        • MIE

          I think Ferrari’s position is the one that is changing. Domenicalli was quoted by AUTOSPORT:
          “For us, there was no doubt that a 2013 car, and the previous two years’ cars, are not possible to be used during the season.”

          Yet a 2011 Ferrari was used for a 1000km test between Bahrain and Spain.

          It is F1, and everyone will have their own agenda. Perhaps we may get somewhere near the truth once the Tribunal results are published?

        • KevinW

          If one wishes to believe that tires are all that matters in test sessions, then it matters not at all what car is run, as long as the teams have no idea what the tires under the car are. I for one believe that there is a LOT more to an F1 car than its tires – regardless of Pirelli’s myopic opinion. Aero balance, alignment, suspension setup, brake balance, driver approach… all can be tested and evaluated, comparing one setup to another, including test of gear ratios, and parts, with no real knowledge of the tires at all. The relative data remains valid, and can be used to improve the car. This is why current cars are excluded.

          • MIE

            I think possibly that all F1 teams know what aero balance etc. to run at Barcelona (it is the single most used test track in F1). Aside from that Pirelli would want the car to be identical for each run in order to get meaningful tyre data (they need to know whether it was the change in tyre that caused the behaviour difference, and not some external factor like the car). That is why having multiple teams at the same tyre test wouldn’t really help Pirelli, they would just need to bring even more tyres.

  • Gload

    My apologies if the following is already in play elsewhere in F1B: Given that the sporting regs limit each car to 8 engines per season and require no less than 5 consecutive races for each gearbox (or risk grid spot penalties), perhaps running 3 grands prix distances during a tire test isn’t all “up side” potential after all. Seems like the price for participation may be on the risk that come Austin or Brazil you have no fresh shove. Or the testing made your gearbox give out a week sooner than expected. Does anyone know if the special tire tests allow participants volunteering a current season chassis to swap out engines for ones that aren’t counted in the season limit of 8? More accurately I suppose a 1000k test split between two cars is only 1.5 additional grands prix…but still that’s more than the engineers planned when they ran reliability calculations….just saying.

    • MIE

      I am sure both Ferrari and Mercedes could stretch to a new engine and gearbox for these tests. The limit imposed is only for the race meetings (not any of the pre-season tests or allowed in season aero tests, promotional work).

    • KevinW

      Mercedes changed the gearbox during the test session, but suffered no grid penalty at Monaco, so it appears there is no issue with changing the box out and back in between events. Ferrari used a 2 year old car, not subject to any engine/trans endurance limitations, so this issue/limit is not relevant.

  • Mustard

    Don’t know about you guys but I’m so over this topic…think I’ve read all the quotes from every side twice over.

  • 1sttvbn

    If I were Pirelli….I’d get the hell out of F1…And I mean right now. Run for the hills. Who needs this much grief?

  • Narasim

    I am not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but doesn’t the 2011 Ferrari have a completely different suspension geometry than their current car and their 2012 car? We all remeber 2012 was the first iteration of Ferrari pull rod and 2011 was conventional push rod. Wasn’t it the evil seed of purpetrated by McLaren former employees Mr Fry and Mr Lowe. Lest us forget both Ferrai’s and currently McLaren’s learning curves.

    As has been mentioned on the podcast, sure you can bolt new aero bits on a 2011 car, alter the ecu and yes the technical rules have been relatively stable, but isn’t the suspension what translates the aero to the tires. Like we all joke, you can make a great car cheap by putting it on shoddy rubber but can’t make a cheap car great by over buying tires. Wouldn’t you think that the significant difference in suspension geometry would make direct relevance to the 2013 less likely especially with the learning curves both Ferrari and McLaren have had with pull rod suspension.

    • JackFlash(Aust)

      It has been mentioned in brief, but not described as well as you have done.

      I agree. I said as much above in reply to MIE:

      “ps. I’m no Ferrari fan, but SF’s 2011 chassis based data is a fair way from the Merc’s 2013 chassis based data – re correlation to the 2013 pre-season kilometres of testing on the 2013 tyres. Not un-correlate-able for sure, but much more clouded by the progression of chassis behaviour and aero differences between 2011 and the 2013 car solutions. JF”

      The 2011 Ferrari is a very different suspension animal to their 2013 contender.