Pirelli has insisted the tyre test it conducted with Mercedes was not to the better of any individual team.
The official Formula One tyre supplier issued a statement today saying “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.”
Pirelli insisted the three-day test conducted following the Spanish Grand Prix was approved by the sport’s governing body:
“The use of the car utilised 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.”
“Mercedes have no idea what was being tested. The benefit was not for them, it was for F1 in general,” Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery added. He denied the test had been held in “secret”, pointing out that the circuit was booked in Pirelli’s name.
Pirelli denied Mercedes used the test to investigate the benefits of swapping tyres between the left and right-hand sides of the car. According to Pirelli the test was “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.”
However Pirelli said it did not specifically ask Mercedes to bring its 2013 car: “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).”
“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 organise tests for the development of tyres for 2014 with all the teams in the championship.”
It added all teams were invited to participate in testing the 2013 tyres: “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.”
However Pirelli point out that it was not useful to have them all involved in the same test: “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.”
The FIA has requested information about the tests from Pirelli, which they say they have supplied.
Hembery believes the row has arisen because of the difficulty of conducting representative testing in-season, which they want to address if they are to continue as F1’s tyre supplier beyond 2013. He indicated that Pirelli would consider a more “conservative” approach to next year’s tyres because of the sweeping technical changes being made.
Pirelli said the tyres which will be run during practice in Canada “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,” it added.
“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.”
Hembery added Pirelli would like to introduce a harder tyre to ensure they reach their target of having fewer than four pit stops per race, as was seen in Spain, but the agreement of all 11 teams was required to achieve that.
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