Lotus would have welcomed chance to test – Boullier

2013 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said his team would have welcomed the chance to do a tyre test for Pirelli had they been offered it.

Mercedes face a protest from Red Bull and Ferrari after it was discovered they conducted a three-day, 1,000km tyre test for Pirelli in the run-up to the Monaco Grand Prix.

“To have one team running this season’s car in a private test with the sport’s sole tyre supplier is unusual to say the least,” said Boullier, “especially if no-one is told about it in advance, or even afterwards.”

“Had we been offered the same opportunity in a legitimate and transparent fashion – where all teams agreed – we would have welcomed it.”

“Certainly what has happened appears to be against the Sporting Regulations and the teams’ testing agreement, so it will be interesting to hear the outcome of the on-going activity regarding this matter.”

The FIA has said all teams should have been given the chance to test and is considering whether to put the protest before an International Tribunal. Pirelli have insisted that no team had gained an advantage from the test.

2013 F1 season

Browse all 2013 F1 season articles

Image © Lotus/LAT

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

27 comments on “Lotus would have welcomed chance to test – Boullier”

  1. As I mentioned before, the easiest way out for Pirelli is to now stage another 9 tests (unless teams say they rather pass up the opportunity), so as to give everyone the same chance.

    1. Agree with you there @bascb. Their (Pirelli and Mercedes) defense was build around the permission from the FIA. They have made clear with that piece of paper that they are not with them. Only way out is testing a 1000km with every team except mercedes and to be honest with you that would be the only justified thing to do. It doesn’t really mather ‘if’ Mercedes gained an advangtage ore not, any hint of that would make the whole situation even more critical.

    2. @bascb
      9 tests ? did you mean 10 tests ?

      1. nope, only 9. Ferrari already had their covert test, didn’t they. Their fault for not being quite cheeky enough and bring the 2013 car ;-)

        1. @bascb
          Hope you’ re joking…apart the fact that u like or not like Ferrari

          My opinion
          1. No test for anyone with the 2013 car….with 2011 or lower cars anyone is free to test..

          2.Strong punishment for Mercedes

          1. yes, that was why I put in that emoticon @nomore, although I think there is something to say for not having Ferrari test (a bit cheeky, I know)

            But I think they should just run the 2013 car after a race, in exactly the way it was raced. And as for Mercedes, I think a bit of shaming them, putting them in the bad-boy corner and handing out a fine at the very maximum up to 100.000 USD.

          2. “1. No test for anyone with the 2013 car….with 2011 or lower cars anyone is free to test..”

            Actually, maybe not, given 2011 cars may not be different enough. Which would make sense since the rules havnt really changed since 2009, other than to ban E.B.D.


    3. How would that be fair? Mercedes has gained mileage, and can put the knowledge they gained from that runing into effect in all the next races. 9th team from your 9 tests after GPs would use it in one or two races. You sugestion would make sense only if F1 stops for a month and each team gets three private test days and even then there’s no guarantee Pirelli would give them the same tires to test… Mercedes should be excluded from the championship this year and in 2014, as they gained knowledge about 2014 tires so much before other teams. It’s unfair advantage….

      1. I really can’t see how that would be fair. Mercedes didn’t knowingly do anything wrong – they had permission from the FIA!
        If anyone needs to be punished it should be Pirelli. It was Pirelli who should have invited the other teams, not Mercedes.

    4. Another 9 tests where the teams don’t get the data, only Pirelli? What would be the point? And when would these tests occur? The season would be ending and they’d still be driving on delaminating tires if they tried to do that.

      1. BTW, I note that in the article it states that only Red Bull and Ferrari have lodged a protest. Yet Ferrari did get a test even if it wasn’t to the degree Merc did, and Red Bull should be welcoming new tires as they were the most vocal about the one’s they’re on now. And can you imagine the hue and cry if Red Bull got a test? People would be crying conspiracy for the next decade. Ferrari and Red Bull need to let this go, and everyone needs to move on.

        1. Ferrari initially only asked for a clarification, mainly because they’d already tested but used a legal car.

          I’m not sure when they officially joined in the protest.

          1. @optimaximal

            Ferrari were part of the protest from the beginning. The original FIA document acknowledging the protests (timestamped 13:37 on Sunday) states:

            Protests have been lodged by Infiniti Red Bull Racing & Scuderia Ferrari concerning an alleged breach of Article 22.4 h) of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.

            It was quoted in the original story about the protest here.

          2. It seems the 2011 car may not have been legal. Using the 2011 car was an assumption, but not specified in the regulations

    5. I disagree. Going by comments from those involved to date, the Barcelona tests were to assess the preliminary 2014 tyre compounds. If Mercedes got any data out of it, then it won’t be if any value thus year. And since Pirelli revise their compounds several times while they develop them, the data won’t be of any use next year, either.

      So Pirelli doesn’t owe the other teams anything, and even if they did, the teams wouldn’t get anything out of it. I think Boullier’s comments highlight what all of the teams are really upset about: with tyres being the major story of the year, they’re unhappy that somebody else was asked to test.

  2. – where all teams agreed –

    Well, there’s your problem, chief! :)

  3. The issue is not the fact the test took place, but the fact it was so private. And if teams weren’t informed about it, why? I don’t believe for a second they didn’t consider realised the repercussions of this, which is really what makes the whole thing, for me, weird.

    1. Pirelli have been incredibly vocal about the issue of developing tyres for the current season and next on a completely unrepresentative platform that is their 2010 Renault.

      It seems they initially approached Ferrari, who brought along the (?) F-150, but it likely also didn’t give the results they wanted. So they went for a 2013 chassis.

  4. didn’t consider the*

  5. Problem is Lotus is a top 3 team and I still say any of the top 3 teams doing this test would have made for far more controversy than there is. I don’t believe Merc will have gained much of an advantage, and I certainly don’t expect that suddenly their rear tire issue is going to go away.

    Sure it sucks that Pirelli took the tires a step too far this year and that this test and the change to the tires for Britain was even needed, but that’s what F1 gets for meddling with gadgety racing.

    I think everyone within and without F1 needs to let this go. All the teams including Merc will be able to start to compile data on the tires when they come here to Canada, so I expect by Britain everyone will pretty much be on the same page.

    I think if anyone needs to be punished over this it should be F1 for fooling around with inferior tires to begin with, including last year, and yet I think F1 has already been punished for this mistake of Pirellis because most people are not fans of delta racing and F1’s reputation is being questioned and fans and teams and drivers are all complaining.

    Imho, it’s done, and Merc are not going to go on and suddenly become a Championship contender either for the WDC or the WCC. And the top 3 teams didn’t get this test so nobody can say any one of them were advantaged. And trying to be fair to everyone means that nobody would have agreed, or there wouldn’t have been the time and the money. The urgency was there to get these guys (all the teams I mean) on some better tires. I think Pirelli HAD to do it as they did it, and I think Merc was a perfect choice.

    1. @robbie

      Problem is Lotus is a top 3 team and I still say any of the top 3 teams doing this test would have made for far more controversy than there is.

      Mercedes are only 3 points behind Lotus in the championship standings, have just won a race, were second best team at Sepang, have finished on the podium three times and convincingly been the quickest team in qualifying. An additional 1000km test was a perfect opportunity for them to try to sort the tyre wear issues that they have been experiencing on Sunday. So, in my opinion, it’s really weird to claim that Mercedes have nothing to do with the fight at the front and that a test with Lotus would be something completely different. It’s also hard to imagine even more controversy than there is already now, perhaps only if Red Bull were in the place of Mercedes.

      1. I do hear you, but I still say Monaco will have been an anomoly for Mercedes. Prior to the last race they were a distant 4th in the WCC and I predict they will go back to being that again, and at best this year hope to finish a strong 4th. So in that regard I think Pirelli were wise to go with a non-top 3 team, keeping in mind they weren’t 3 points behind Lotus at the time of the test. I personally don’t think the level of controversy is that high, and I think there would be much more from the other 2 teams if a top 3 team got the test.

        To me, to say Merc gained a significant amount from this test, is unlikely to begin with, but if it were so, that would reinforce for me the importance of them not then being perceived as swaying things toward a team that so far has seemed to be the most consistantly strong. Merc has been falling backwards during the races, and I really would be amazed if the suddenly won’t be suffering from their rear tire woes, and if that happens then I agree that they must have learned something significant, and I will still say thank goodness a top 3 team didn’t get the test.

  6. the point that seems to be missing an explanation is, simply put, why are all the teams so eager to do a 1000km test if, as pirellei state, the team does not gain any data/information/benefit whatsoever? the team pays for the privilege? altruism in F?, you’ve got to be dreaming.

  7. The point is, F1 was my passion and since Bahrain. I have questioned whether I should watch it or not, I mean all they do on SkyF1 (especially Brundle) never stop talking about tyres in commentary and every single thing is related to tyres these days. When Monaco was on, I only watched it because I was bored. Normally, I would count down days before the race started. Either way, F1 is starting to lose a fan due to this ******** business to do with tyres. If Mercedes broke the rules then the FIA can deal with it, and if they didn’t then the FIA will deal with it. Fed up of this moaning about tyres

    1. Very true about SkyF1 (especially Brundle)… Last race it was a bit better with Hill’s and Herbert’s reasonable comments. But Brundle still keeps talking about tyres and then talkes that there’s too much talk about tyres. Maybe he needs a break.

  8. I’m sure that any team would have been happy to have an extra test even if Pirelli claim that Mercedes gained nothing from it. As I understand, Pirelli didn’t pay all the costs. Why would Mercedes have wasted their resources on something that doesn’t bring them anything?

    1. Because it will bring them something…new tires. Same as for everyone. So that perhaps they can all start to get away a little from running delta times and squandering the potential of their cars and get back to more proper racing.

Comments are closed.