According to Sky Sport F1, the Formula One teams were warned not to take place in any in-season testing including the Pirelli testing option for 1000km. The letter surfaced this week, which Sky Sport F1 referred to here, in which the the teams were told that no in-season testing was allowed including the Pirelli test:

“Pirelli is entitled under the terms of their agreement with the FIA to offer teams 1,000km of tyre-testing, subject to each team being treated equally. However, there are no provisions within the sporting regulations for such testing to take place in-season.”

It was suggested that the letter was sent from the formula One Teams Association or FOTA last April and did reference the very event in which Mercedes took part in after this year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The FIA are starting an inquiry into the matter and are expected to render some sort of judgment on Mercedes for taking part in the test outside of the regulations. It is unclear if the FIA will also offer some sort of implication for Pirelli as well but as the Italian tire maker is in the process of trying to determine their future in F1, that may not happen. Either way, the Pirelli test is now being viewed as testing’s version of herpes at this point and one wonders if Mercedes has a prophylactic strong enough to keep them from taking more than just tire data home with them.

Now the world awaits the FIA’s International Tribunal for a verdict.

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.
  • charlie w

    So the proverbial “smokin’ gun” has appeared?

    • Andreas

      It could be that, or at the least clear proof of the left hand not knowing what the right hand does. And it will be interesting to see what FIA makes of all this. FIA themselves has apparently in their contract with Pirelli agreed to things that isn’t allowed according to FOTA. So if anyone, who should be punished?

  • Steven

    See, the thing about this letter is that Reb Bull and Ferrari are not members of FOTA anymore, they quit. They are the ones making the most noice about this, particilarly RB. If RB or Ferrari dont have to obey the Resource Restiction Agreement, why does Mercedez have to obey the ban on testing?
    Im starting to think that this was more of a political move, and there may be more teams involved. Ferrari has tried to have the ban on testing abolished numerous times, and they are not complaining as much as they are looking for a clarification by the FIA. Perhaps Mecedez and Pirell(backed by Ferrari, perhaps?) took a calculated risk, perhaps this will open the floodgates to in-season testing. IMO theres nothing wrong with testing on the day following a few GPs, the cost wouldnt be as high, the team and drivers are already there…

    • I agree with you that testing should be done the MotoGP way and handled the day after a GP at certain tracks. Makes the most sense. As for the letter, it was an understanding by FOTA to all members about the ruling of the in-season testing and language. Regardless if RBR and Ferrari were members, Mercedes were and that’s the point. Membership in FOTA doesn’t dictate the accurate reading of the regulations.

      • Exactly, pick 3-4 races during the season and test on Monday. Fans pay $20 to watch from certain parts of the track and everyone’s a winner. After Spain, after Germany, after Abu Dhabi, etc.

  • Jack Flash (Aust)

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 has now got a full case of ‘the clap’.
    Pirelli already had it from their poor offering of rubber in 2013.

    To add insult to injury (infection), the FIA is not administering any antibiotic course, but rather pointing at Merc and saying “I told you not to fool around with that tramp Pirelli… didn’t I?”


  • Andreas

    The claps, indeed… :) Just to add to the confusion, Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet now claims Red Bull actually were invited (ostensibly not to this particular test, though), but decided to decline because the rules weren’t clear and “as championship leaders, it was too big a risk to take”. It’s not formulated as a direct quote, but they do quote Helmut Marko earlier in the article. So when Christian Horner says they were absolutely not invited, is it the left hand/right hand thing again? :)

    It doesn’t change the core issues – was Pirelli’s initial invite enough to say they’ve given all teams equal opportunity, and should there have been a unanimous decision to change the sporting regulations first (as FOTA seems to argue)? More to come, I’m sure :)

  • danfgough

    The politics angle of this has just been ramped up with 3 more teams now making noises about this. The interesting thing is which 3 it is:

    Lotus: Long standing complainants, especially to Merc and Red Bull
    Marussia: In ferrari’s pocket for an engine deal next year
    Force India: Now this opne surprised me as they have a Merc engine, but then McLaren are playing nice at the moment so maybe there was pressure for FIF1 to say what Macca are thinking!

    Usual F1 circus!

  • Uncle Sam

    Man, I love the sport and drivers of F1, but I swear I wouldn’t piss on Bernie Ecclestone and the other F1/FIA politicians if they were on fire. Allowing Ferrari and Mercedes to ‘privately’ test with Pirelli makes the sport an absolute joke. Red Bull and Lotus work their tails off to get an edge and along comes Pirelli and allows this total bs test to take place, now giving Ferrari and Mercedes an edge (that they didn’t earn). Like everything else on this bottom-of-the-barrel planet we live on, this is all about money. Bernie and the FIA don’t think its good for business for Mercedes and Ferrari to be less competitive, so they completely ignore the regulations and rules and thumb their nose at all the employees at Lotus and Red Bull who have been working their butts off for a competitive edge. F1 = joke.
    Having said that, Nico, you drove your butt off! Way to go man!