Pirelli is not going to march into the International Tribunal quietly. In fact, they’ve got an answer to the FIA and all of you poopy-heads out there who are trying to suggest they were beyond the regulations with their private, Mercedes-fueled test. You want someone to blame, keep on moving because Pirelli ain’t clownin’ its peeps!

So as to avoid taking anything out of context, I would like to post their statement in its entirety:


Pirelli Statement

Pirelli, in development testing with teams carried out in 2013, has not favoured any teams and, as always, acted professionally, with transparency and in absolute good faith. The tyres used were not from the current championship but belonged to a range of products still being developed in view of an eventual renewal of the supply contract. Further, none of the tests were carried for the purpose of enhancing specific cars, but only to test tyre solutions for future championships. 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.  With regard to the new tyres, the problem of delamination has been solved by Pirelli’s technicians exclusively through laboratory testing. Delamination, which only occurred on four occasions and always because of on-track detritus, has never put the drivers’ safety at risk, but does risk harming Pirelli’s image. This is why the company decided to intervene.

With regard to the rules which govern its conduct, the company has always respected the contractual limits which bind it to the FIA, teams and championship’s organizers, and has always respected the principles of sporting loyalty.

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


With regard to requests for information received from FIA, Pirelli promptly provided the answers needed to clarify what happened at the tests, as far as its own responsibilities went.


The tests were conducted in observance of the contract between Pirelli and FIA, which gives the supplier the possibility of carrying out tests for the development of tyres with each team of up to 1,000 kilometres, without specifying the type of car to be used, nor sanctioning the simultaneous presence of all the teams for the running of the tests. In this regard, Pirelli has since 2010 made it clear that it is neither possible nor useful to carry out this type of test with all the teams simultaneously.  In fact, this type of testing aimed at technological development and researching new solutions, involves many tyres of different types which must be tested with a single car at a time. Testing for championship specifications is different, as occurs in winter testing which require the participation of all the teams, so as to find the most satisfying solutions for all the cars in the competition. For this reason, Pirelli insists on the need for winter testing under conditions which are truly representative of the situations which will be met during the championship.

Already in March 2012, Pirelli sent an email to all the teams, Fia and Fom, inviting the teams to indicate their availability for testing for the development of tyres for 2013. Further, the company explained that it was necessary to conduct the tests with the teams’ cars because it did not have a suitable one of its own (Pirelli has the use of an adapted 2010 Renault and, before that, a 2009 Toyota).

The invitation was subsequently repeated in various official contexts and repeated to some teams last March for the development of tyres for 2014.


This test, as always, carried out with a single compound never used in a championship, regarded structures not in use in the current season and not destined to be used later during the 2013 season. The tyre tests were conducted “in the dark”, which means that the teams had no information on which specifications were being tested or about the goal of the testing; nor did they receive any type of information afterwards.

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

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


The Barcelona test was conducted in cooperation with Mercedes between May 15 and May 17, 2013. The teams made available one car and two first tier drivers, who alternated at the wheel on different days.

The trials were done with a base compound, not in use this year, and 12 different structures which had never been used in 2013, only one of which with kevlar.

The team did not obtain any advantage with regard to knowledge of the behaviour of the tyres in use in the current championship.

The type of car used during the tests was the subject of direct discussions between Mercedes and FIA, as shown in the exchange of emails between the team and Pirelli. In particular, Mercedes informed Pirelli that its 2011 car could not be used and that it had already contacted Fia regarding the use of the 2013 car. There is no doubt that the questions relating to the vehicle were the exclusive domain of the team and that Pirelli was excluded from these questions (notwithstanding Pirelli’s need, from a technical point of view, to have a representative car in terms of impact on the performance of the tyres).

To confirm that this was an ordinary development test and not aimed at specific interventions, Pirelli made no specific requests about the drivers or about the tye of Mercedes staff that would be present during the tests and had fielded its normal team for development testing.


The tyres with the new structures in kevlar which will be given to the teams during the free practice at the Montreal Grand Prix will for the first time be track tested, following laboratory development. The new tyres have overcome the problem of delamination. This phenomenon in no manner compromises the drivers’ safety but risks damaging the company’s image. At the Canada tests, the teams will have the opportunity to express their opinions and make observations.


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.

I suspect the FIA might possibly have an answer of their own.

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.
  • Andreas

    So, the blame game is on… :)

  • Rob

    So are we expected to believe the team is stupid and was not able to pick up anything about the rest of the car’s development – regardless of what they might have picked up about the black things? Also that giving the current drivers around 3 GP lengths of running has no impact? Um… Okay if they say so…. :-)

    IMO there should be limited in season testing to avoid some of the stupid things been done by newer drivers among other things but I know that is out of favour now days….. and I know the need to test new rubber and there needs to be a solution for that… but using secret tests with a team or two with current drivers and allowing the team that sort of running where they can gain other info is NOT the way to go in my view….

    • I tend to lean toward Gary Anderson’s comments. I believe he was relatively straight forward with his assessment that a team is going to gain insight regardless of if they knew which compound was which.

      • MIE

        Pirelli state that the compounds were all identical, it is the construction that is different.

        “This test, as always, carried out with a single compound never used in a championship, regarded structures not in use in the current season and not destined to be used later during the 2013 season.”

        I’m sure Mercedes will have determined which of the 12 different tyre constructions they are happier with, but they don’t know which Pirelli will choose to use in 2014.

        “The trials were done with a base compound, not in use this year, and 12 different structures which had never been used in 2013, only one of which with kevlar.”

      • tom

        Given all the restrictions, I doubt that Mercedes could have learned anything new regarding the tires.

        But of course you always learn something about your car on a 1000km run.

  • Rapierman

    Recent statement by the FIA indicates that a disciplinary inquiry was launched and that Mercedes and Ferrari were to respond. I might understand how Mercedes might be asked, but how does Ferrari figure into this?

    • MIE

      Ferrari are the other team rumoured to have done a 1000km test (even if it was with an older car).

      • Rapierman

        ….and Fake Charlie just informed me that they used a 2011 car, outside a “current-plus-1-year” regulation. Mystery solved.

  • tom

    Actually, when it comes to the legality of the test, whether or not Mercedes gained any additional insights during the Pirelli is entirely inconsequential.

    I think what we can deduce from that statement is that the legal team over at Pirelli has realized that their previous defense saying that they indeed asked all teams didn’t hold, because a 2013 car was used during those tests. Apparently, all the other teams assumed that a 2013 car was off the table anyhow.

    That off course also means that Pirelli passes the buck to Mercedes. Pirelli is standing back, saying that it simply asked the teams to help out with a car, not which car. In that sense, every team had the same information and they are responsible for turning up with a car of their choice. So according to that interpretation, the fact that Mercedes showed up with a 2013 car was entirely their own choice with Pirelli being completely out of the loop…(other than asking for an as representative a car as possible for the 2013 rules)

    In that case, Pirelli would be perfectly innocent of any wrongdoing and Mercedes will have to defend their choice to bring a 2013 car to the party. Mercedes will probably argue that while the sporting regulation forbids Mercedes to make any test runs with their current car, this wasn’t a Mercedes test but a Pirelli test which the FIA explicitly allowed.

    So ultimately, it will probably look like this:
    Pirelli: We didn’t explicitly ask for 2013 cars, so every team got the same invitation.
    Mercedes: We didn’t conduct any test drive, Pirelli did, so as long as everyone got invited…
    Pirelli: …Which they did…
    Mercedes: …none of this is any concern of ours.
    Red Bull: But we weren’t asked!
    Pirelli: Yes you were.
    Red Bull: But not about 2013 cars.
    Pirelli: Why would we? It’s up to you to take the car you think works best as a test car for current tire-runs.
    Red Bull: But the sporting regulations clearly forbid any test runs on current cars!
    Mercedes: Only if it was us conducting the test, which we were not. Pirelli did.
    Ferrari: Wait, you mean we could have brought a 2013 car to our secret test?
    Pirelli: You mean to our secret test…
    Ferrari:…yes, of course…

  • All right, here’s how I think this went down. Do I have evidence of this? No, but like what I think really happened in crashgate it is what I choose to believe and I think my F1 life is better for it.

    I think Pirelli has been cracking a bit under the political pressure over the tires. They’ve been operating in a state of passive panic for a while now. They probably have been quietly asking about getting teams to test in garage conversations this spring. Nothing official, just stuff like “so if we where going to do a test, think you might be interested?” That kind of stuff. Brawn finds out about the Ferrari test and brings up the subject, Pirelli probably tells Brawn they have wanted to do other test but haven’t found much interest yet. That’s when Brawn makes his move and convinces Pirelli to do another test and offers Merc to supply the car. Now Pirelli is obviously way out of their league in politics and regulations in F1 so Ross assures them he ail take car of the legal stuff with getting them a 2013 car. Only he doesn’t, on purpose. Ross knows that he’s not allowed to bring a 2013 car BUT since he can claim Pirelli was the ones doing the test Merc is not to blame. He then adds on all kinds of new bits to the car to test them for durability and long term performance unbeknownst to Pirelli.

    TLDR: Ross Brawn sets up and uses Pirelli to get a free test and take the blame. Merc also probably used new parts (wing bits and such) that Pirelli wouldn’t even notice. Nelson Piquet Jr. is an evil little @#%#