Ferrari play down benefit of their Pirelli test

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In the round-up: Ferrari play down benefit of their own private Pirelli tyre test after the Bahrain Grand Prix because it was conducted using a 2011-specification car.

Team radio

There was a very positive response to Tuesday’s article covering all the team radio messages that were broadcast during the Monaco Grand Prix. This is always welcome so thanks everyone for the feedback.

Lots of people asked in the comments whether it would become a regular feature and whether it might be expanded to include other sessions during a race weekend. Both are possible but in order to do the latter I will definitely need help from people who can spend a bit of time transcribing the messages.

If you’re interested in getting involved, please drop me a line via the guest article page:

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F1: Ferrari Downplays Its Own Pirelli Test (Speed)

“The key point is that Ferrari only ran a 2011 car on behalf of Pirelli, in stark contrast to the later Mercedes test at the same venue with a 2013 machine. Thus there is no question of Ferrari having contravened the FIA sporting regulations by running a current car.”

F1 in no rush over IPO (Sporting Life)

CVC Capital Partners co-owner Donald Mackenzie: “It may happen this year, it may be next year, but we’re not in a big rush.”

Teams may stop Pirelli from changing tyres for Silverstone (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“It’s believed that three teams have been reluctant to agree, in some cases specifically because – as outlined here this week – they would lose the advantage they currently gain by running the steel-belted right and left rear tyres the wrong way round. That will no longer be relevant with the Kevlar tyres.”

Sauber: Monaco masked improvement (Autosport)

Monisha Kaltenborn: “What’s very important is that what we implemented in Barcelona was a good step ahead.”

The Racer’s Edge Episode 12 – Monaco debrief with Pastor Maldonado (Peter Windsor via YouTube)

Helio Castroneves And Dario Franchitti: Their Love-Hate Relationship With Tesla And Why They Don’t Respect Formula 1 Drivers (Forbes)

Castroneves: “Every sport has politics, but [F1 is] so bad. Who you know, who you contact-that’s what it’s all about. They don’t care if you are good. They don’t care if you are a great person. It feels like Hollywood business. But that’s exactly what it is. Politics absolutely is the problem. Today I respect probably only five drivers there.”

Lotus F1 overhauls IT system in preparation for 2014 (Race Tech)

“The Lotus F1 team has determined that a complete overhaul of its IT infrastructure – both trackside and at its Enstone, UK, headquarters – is going to be necessary to meet the 2014 new F1 regulations challenge, while also generating new sources of competitive advantage.”

Resource management in F1 (Joe Saward)

“Action is required to stop the next bust cycle. If only Red Bull is standing in the way of such a change then the sport must accept that Red Bull must go, although that is not likely as it could still gain just as much exposure from the sport at a much lower price.”


Comment of the day

@Robbie expects to see more conservative tyres from Pirelli next year – if they decide to remain in F1:

Pirelli took it a step too far for this year, but in general they did have the green flag from F1 to do this, and the teams had data on them going back to last September and nobody predicted these tyres would be delaminating.

Lack of testing surely is an issue but they don’t seem too motivated to increase the costs of racing in F1 by adding testing and as I say last year they had the same amount of testing and the tyres were ‘fine’ or at least, not as problematic.

Why did they gamble without proper testing? Probably because they thought they could spice things up even more so than last year and didn’t think the gamble was going to be that big such that tyres would be delaminating. I would hope it is a case of lesson learned, and that given that new tyres are on the horizon, and next year the new engine/chassis combos should provide enough spice, I think Canada may be the last race we’ll see tyres potentially delaminating.

Unfortunately I suspect delta time running will still be quite prevalent for the rest of the season, but that’s the mode F1 seems to want to be in right now. Yet this form of ‘racing’ seems so unpopular not just with the drivers (whose comfort level F1 never seems to care about) but with so many fans that I’m pretty confident we won’t see this type of ‘racing’ next year.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

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55 comments on “Ferrari play down benefit of their Pirelli test”

  1. I see nothing wrong with Ferrari using a 2011 spec car.

    1. Yes, but I also see no value in testing 2013 tyres on a 2011 car.

      1. There must have been something to gain but at least the test was fair, in my opinion the fact pirelli were testing a 2014 spec must have enabled them prior knowledge and proper aero testing as the tyres shouldn’t be of the “degrading racing” type.

    2. @joshua-mesh I read today that Ferrari did the test with his “show team” instead of the racing team, they also also did the run in the 2011, Pedro de la Rosa did the test instead of Alonso and Massa, so I´m with Ferrari in this one, they did nothing wrong in my book.

      1. Yup, from what I’ve read it was 2011 car, driven by Pedro de la Rosa and the test was ran by Corse Clienti, not Ferrari. Corse Clienti is essentially organization for running Ferrari cars for those who are not part of the Ferrari so to speak. :)

      2. @celeste you’re right, Ferrari did nothing illegal and I suspect Mercedes did. However, I don’t think the rule makes sense, like @hohum points out above, data from 2011 cars on 2013 tyres could be misleading and reports say Pirelli has a car deemed as outdated, that’s why they asked Mercedes, my question is:

        why they didn’t asked everybody else, for God sake?

        1. So far I understand that is much the issue – Pirelli upholding that they did ask with their letter last year, everyone else feeling that certainly did not fulfill what the FIA mentions @jcost.

          But I certainly hope we will learn more about it from the online conference call Pirelli has announced for today – via

          I bet a lot of people will be watching this conference call – link today including @keithcollantine and most other F1 media

        2. This highly interesting article from Adam Cooper shows why the secrecy around BOTH those tests significantly deviates from how previous tests with the 2010 Renault have been conducted.

          In all previous tests Pirelli went pretty far to secure everyone felt ok with equal treatment and information given about the test, very curious why they changed that for these tests.

    3. Well, just thing about how people are still speculating about possible advantage Lotus has from the fact that Pirelli used to test with a 2010 Enstone car.
      Than add the fact that, just as was the case with the Mercedes test, and in sharp contrast to before, no information was shared about what was tested, how the test went, and the resulting Date weren’t shared either.

      I think that Ferrari can be lucky that it was a Mercedes driver who let it slip that they tested last week, instead of anyone finding out about the Ferrari test in a similar way, because the only thing standing between the bad blood in the paddock being targeted mainly at them, was the fact that what Pirelli did with Mercedes was worse for most involved in F1.

  2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    31st May 2013, 0:46

    For a moment I thought they have had a 2013-car tyre test too

  3. Kind of funny in the Franchitti/Castroneves interview that Franchitti didn’t stick up for his own cousin when Castroneves lists his 5 drivers that doesn’t include DiResta.

    1. Helio sounded a bit bitter I thought. The whole bit about Button was rubbish. Of course you need to a good car, otherwise you might as well have a spec series, which is exactly the thing that puts me off Indycar.

      1. @matt90

        They both said nonsense. Being born in 1984, my first F1 hero was Nigel Mansel and back then I didn’t know he had a top car, for me in early 1990s the winner was the best and period, I didn’t put the car into the equation, now I’m old enough to know that Senna in a Lola would not achieve what Senna achieved in a McLaren! So what’s the difference from then to now? It’s the same, you must be a good driver but if you don’t have a race winning car you probably will not become WDC.

    2. @us_peter hehehe… thought the same… more amazing he didn´t attack Vettel. Franchitti HATES Vettel!

      I think Alonso, Felipe Massa is a friend of mine, Schumacher. Schumacher is not racing anymore, but. I think, no. I would say Sebastian Vettel. Even Mark Webber. He is a good driver.

      Anyone else think he was going to say Lewis??

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        31st May 2013, 3:22

        @celeste yesterday you mentioned Lou too :P well let’s start not quoting the British driver No 10.
        (just a joke)

        1. Just thought it was peculiar how he stop himself and well with that name doesnt leave much room for other drivers…

          1. Maybe he just admires the work Louise Goodman used to do in the F1 paddock…

      2. Definetely he was going to say Lewis! Had the same quote copied to give the same comment, then I saw yours @celeste

  4. Castroneves: “Every sport has politics, but [F1 is] so bad. Who you know, who you contact–that’s what it’s all about. They don’t care if you are good. They don’t care if you are a great person. It feels like Hollywood business. But that’s exactly what it is. Politics absolutely is the problem. Today I respect probably only five drivers there.”

    Same in Indycars, mate, same in Indycars. You still need money, you still need contacts, to be there. Nothing’s for free. Ask Esteban Guerrieri, who pushed hard for 2 years in Indylights, finished 2nd both times, yet he had to come back to Argentina…

    Besides, for Holywood business, first there’s Indycar. When you got Milka Duno going round in circles 10 mph slower than the rest, not once, nor twice, but FOUR consecutive years, you find it hard to believe she was there for talent, and not for marketing purposes.

    What do they want, really? the world, today, works that way. You first have money, then they see if you’re good. You either are too incredibly astonishingly good or you got THAT contact that makes or breaks or a company throws money at you or your dad has tons of money or you’re just lucky… Or all those put together.

    It’ll never be like in the old days when a mechanic got to drive a car, found he was incredibly fast, and started a career like Fangio.

    As if F1 was so outside this world… It’s funny Helio mentions the 90’s. HA ! yeah, cuz in the 90’s this didn’t happen. Diniz, Tuero, the Japanese fellas with Yamaha and Honda backing…

    And tell me what motorsport allows you to challenge for wins for years regardless of the car you got… it’s about the car AND the driver…

    That sort of comment really annoys me…

    1. Also:

      Jensen Button won a championship and poor guy now he’s gasping for top 10. Now you’re telling me the guy did not learn how to drive anymore!? It was actually one year from another! Absolutely insane. That’s my opinion.

      Indycar has that too. Scott Dixon, 2003 champion- 10th and 13th in 2004 and 2005. Even Franchitti could only finish 7th last year after winning his last 4 Indycar titles in a row.

      1. @david-a Castroneves himself finished 11th 2 years ago. And he normally ends the year in the top 5.

        So according to him, he really forgot how to drive…


      2. Scott Dixon, 2003 champion- 10th and 13th in 2004 and 2005.

        That was down to the engine. Toyota pretty much ended development on there Indycar engine in 2004 as they started working on there Nascar program.

        Franchitti could only finish 7th last year after winning his last 4 Indycar titles in a row.

        Down to the new car. The old Dallara suited Dario’s driving style perfectly.
        The new DW12 doesn’t suit the way Dario likes to drive, Especially under braking due to it using Carbon brakes. Dario made a big deal through 2012 about having to left foot brake because there was no space to rest his left foot anymore as there’s no clutch pedal anymore.

        1. Proves @david-a and my point. It’s the car and the driver… sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it…

          1. indeed, it shows that in Motorracing its very often as much about the car as it is about the driver.

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      31st May 2013, 1:32

      @fer-no65 Esteban Guerrieri, as you mention. is a good, yet just one of many examples about that in every single country. There was a promising guy here in Peru, called Juan Manuel Polar (he was not a superstar but was fast), and once I even saw a pic of him in the Bar-Honda junior test programme, or something like that, i mean he had the chance to be at the factory and so, but I think he didn’t get the money to actually try the car for a long shot. It’s always about backing. Wonder why there are 2 Mexican guys in F1 today? (They are talented, of course, but) ask Carlos Slim

      1. @omarr-pepper

        Well, Jose Maria Lopez (that guy that got a contract with USF1 before the team finally went burst in 2010) has always been tipped for an F1 seat. It’s annoying to hear here when they talk about him and his “missed chance”. Ultimately, he wasn’t that good, nor he had the resources. He was a test driver for Renault in 2005, 2006, but while at it, he was sucking badly in GP2.

        It’s a bit of both worlds. Some greats don’t make it, some bad ones make it. Some get backing (what would’ve happened to Kobayashi otherwise?), some don’t… afterall, Indycar’s just the same, you only need less money…

        1. @fer-no65

          I think the only way to be “safe” these days is being phenomenal!

          Very good should work, but good isn’t enought. Being above “very good” is the only way you will get an F1 seat “for free”…

    3. When you got Milka Duno going round in circles 10 mph slower than the rest, not once, nor twice, but FOUR consecutive years, you find it hard to believe she was there for talent, and not for marketing purposes.

      Except the only time Milka ever got any camera-time was when she got into a little catfight with Danica years ago. I don’t recall Indycar nor ABC/ESPN or VS/NBCSN ever using her to promote the series either.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        31st May 2013, 3:18

        @fisha695 But similar to BBC about Susie Wolff, Discovery Channel Latin America made a 2 hours documentary about Milka as “the real racer girl” or another pompous title.

      2. @fisha695 it wasn’t talent either. She still was a beautiful girl, “racing”. Not a that big as Danica in terms of marketing, but something was there… otherwise, it couldn’t be possible.

        1. She was backed by the Venezuelan Government via Citgo and thus brought a ton of funding.

  5. I actually think the 90’s were worse for F1 pay drivers. People seem to forget the 94 season in particular that was absolutely littered with them. It lasted right through the 90’s. It wasnt ’till the early 00’s that it seemed to subside a little

    1. @DPQ1234 I remember the long list of drivers in the 90’s that came and went. But from the top of my memory its hard to remember names ;)

      Although given a bit of thinking time: Taki Inoue, Gianni Morbidelli, Andrea De Crasherus, Roberto Moreno, Pedro Diniz and Damon Hill…

      Obviously I jest about Damon, but I’m sure you can list a lot of other drivers in that period that bought their seat.

  6. Dario and Helio are just jealous that they never got the opportunity to have a go in F1. My opinion.

    1. Dario was with the Jaguar team back in 2000 & Helio did stuff with Toyota back in 2002.

    2. I am not all too sure about that @blockwall2. There might be a part of that in it, but I think its more about what Castroneves mentions with loyalty to a boss who stands for what he promises and the politicking of F1 than disgruntlement or jealousy as such.

  7. The bottom part of that Adam Cooper article is very interesting, everything after he brings up safety. I was going to post here about how I was surprised they couldn’t push it through on safety grounds, glad I read the article first.

    1. Yeah, I thought about the safety card as well, but I really understand how Pirelli would be very reluctant to do so, even if it was a real safety concern (a line Red Bull was pushing for before the Monaco weekend). And given that its really more about PR – delamination looks bad – its pretty clear teams are going to go with that without protesting.

      In the end, maybe the fact that Red Bull made such a fuss about these issues could in the end mean that no new tyres will be accepted unanimously and they will have to race the whole year with these tyres!

  8. I have a lot of sympathy with the COTD, particulalry in respect of theis ‘driving to delta time’ concept. I really think the drivers should be arbiters of their own pace, not some geeky boy with a laptop.
    And so my radical proposal to remove this . . . (puts on tin hat to avoid all the flack that I know is coming) . . ban pit to car radio. And that’s even having really enjoyed the excellent radio transcript article.
    I would allow race control to car radio for safety information, but go back to pit board communication only between pit and car. That will place he driver back in control of their own race and concentrate on the racing instead of the ‘performance management’. Yes, there will be mistakes and errors, but there will be inspired decisions made by the drivers themselves in respect the car in front, the car behind and the way the car feels.
    I am now ducking down behind the sofa, awaiting derision.

    1. particulalry in respect of theis ‘driving to delta time’ concept. I really think the drivers should be arbiters of their own pace, not some geeky boy with a laptop.

      Actually I think that is a very valid point @timothykatz, and reading Keiths great article with the pit radio yesterday really shows how the guys are currently being micromanaged with messages to slow, to speed up, to change bias, to put switch xyz into position yellow 2 or something, and constantly compared to what inch of the track they are losing to their teammate etc.

      I would say that is as much reason for Vettel to “rebel” by going for a fast lap as a perceived boredom from pacing himself through the tight Monaco streets for 77 laps, its frustration with not being let to do his own driving (much the same goes for Hamilton and probably others as well)

      1. It makes kimi’s “leave me alone, I know what I’m doing all” the more reasonable,doesn’t it @bascb & @timothykatz?

        We got the idea Smedley was talking Massa through the race, but increasingly every driver apparently gets ‘handled’ like that.

    2. Banning the pit to car radio would not change anything, They would just use the pit board to signal what target times they want the driver to hit by putting the actual time up or a code pre-determined before the race (Like is done with other things).

      I think the biggest problem with the tyre management this year is that its been handled more by the team than the driver in terms of drivers been given a lap-time to hit, Been told where there spinning up the rear’s, how much throttle to use, what engine maps to use etc…
      In the past when tyre management played a role it was purely down to the drivers feel rather than the data been given to him by the engineer’s.

      The other issue with banning team radio is the safety aspect. If a team see’s the brakes are about to fail, tyre pressure is dropping or if there’s a problem with wing or suspension loads they have to radio the driver & tell him to slow down & pit.
      Even with an option to do this through race control, Having to contact race control, inform them of the issue & getting them to radio the driver waste’s time & in that time whatever the issue was could have caused an accident so its best to have a direct & instant link so the driver can instantly be informed.

      1. I think the biggest problem with the tyre management this year is that its been handled more by the team than the driver in terms of drivers been given a lap-time to hit, Been told where there spinning up the rear’s, how much throttle to use, what engine maps to use etc…
        In the past when tyre management played a role it was purely down to the drivers feel rather than the data been given to him by the engineer’s.

        That is the biggest thing about this IMO too.
        It might not be a drivers favourite to have to save tyres (or engine, etc), but its still racing. Being nannied around the whole race based on what the data tells the engineers must take a lot of the fun out of it though, as well as a feeling of being only a RC engine instead of a World champion/race winning driver.

      2. I take your point completely about safety information, and perhaps there’s a way round that. Maybe warning lights on the dashboard- ‘Stop immediately’, ‘Box this lap’, ‘Slow down and box this lap’ is probably all that’s really necessary.
        There’s a very finite limit to the amount and complexity of information that can be communicated by pit boards lap by lap, and it certainly would not be anything like the “turn the brake bias forward by half a percent” or “you’re spinning up the tyres at the exit of turn 12” that was reported in the radio transcription. So, while you’re correct that a delta time requirement could be displayed on the pit board, the nit-picking micro-management information couldn’t accompany it.
        Anyway, I was expecting abuse and altercations for my original posting; hasn’t happened yet. And I certainly didn’t expect people like BasCB and Bosyber to think it had merit.

        1. When it happened, I thought opening radio was the best and easy way to go @timothykatz, and I am not sure we can go back to no radio, but your post sure struck a chord.

          I tend to follow @F1PitRadio tweets during the race (and his video edit afterwards), and that helps make sense of why teams/drivers do something etc., providing context to the messages that the FOM chooses to air.

          Having listened to an increasing amount of “more tyre saving in turn X”, I do see it can work, and as an engineer I see that as cool bit of optimization, having all the info available to tune the car, but I am not sure that it is the best way to go racing.

          If you want that, I’d almost say add back in toggles for the suspension, and the driver can be the Active part in that too with hints from the radio, replacing the role of electronics in road cars. As @bascb says, RC driving by different means.

          There is this trend in computer games to have hints that tell you how/when to do things, which can be initially useful to learn them quicker; however, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t (want to) turn those off pretty soon after. The drivers (well, apart from Kimi?) can’t.

          1. Hmm, that’s an interesting thought @bosyber So when you start playing a game, you use the hints, but after a while you become skilled and in tune with the game and turn the hints off.
            I’m sure the parallel isn’t exact, but it’s close enough for someone to argue that information overload (as in “spinning up the tyres in turn12”) gets in the way of learned skills and intuitive car control.
            As Kimi said “Yes, yes, yes . . . ”
            What I’m looking for is a situation where the man in the car is faced with racing against the other man in the other car. And I’d support any move towards any system that avoids one team of computer strategists, managers and engineers in one pit garage against another set in the next garage.
            Incidentally, is any form of RC allowed from the pits? Are engineers allowed to adjust any aspect of the car or engine remotely?

  9. £330,000 on champagne. Wow, this is whats wrong with the world in a nutshell. From a personal perspective that could pay off my mortgage 2.3 times whereas it will take me another 26 years complete. More importantly, I wonder how many children could be saved from poverty and worse with the money spent by these guzzling, conceited idiots at their depraved little soirees.

    1. @coefficient At least while they’re spending it that money goes back into circulation, although I have to admit I’m dubious as to how many jobs are dependant on the champagne industry.

    2. I guess they certainly have more money than sense. But hey, they earned the money honestly (hopefully), so it’s their right to spend it in any way they wish.

      1. I very much doubt anyone can amass a personal fortune of billions honestly. I would hazard a guess that corruption is an accepted inevitability in those circles and they would probably guffaw with arrogant laughter at your comment.

        1. Well the person mentioned in the article is said to be an entrepreneur, and we don’t know much else about them, so we can’t judge whether he/she was corrupt or not.

  10. With all of the changes to the 2014 regulations, I don’t see what benefit there would have been for Pirelli to test a future compound on a current Merc.

    The only advantages of testing a current regulation car with Pirelli tires would be to fix a safety issue (which Hembrey says was not the case) or to gather data on how the car current performs with a Pirelli compound.

    With no real benefit to Pirelli, is still seems reasonable to conclude that this test violated the rules – or at least the spirit of the rules – and provided valuable insight to Mercedes.

    1. I certainly agree with your first paragraph.
      I can’t imagine what vehicle Pirelli might use to test next year’s tyres on. Perhaps a GP2 machine on EPO and steroids? It’s not as if Red Bull or MacLaren or Marussia are going to say “Here’s our 2014 test mule, see what your tyres make of this!”
      If Pirelli have to have the tyre specs done and dusted by September 1st and none of the teams are going to reveal their cars until January 1st, well . . . .

  11. Well, Ferrari plays down the significance of their test, but the FIA is still asking them much the same questions as they are asking Mercedes it seems.

    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.

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