Horner: Mercedes had “enormous & unfair advantage”

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Christian Horner, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2013In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Mercedes broke the rules and gained an advantage with their tyre test.


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Test An Unfair Advantage For Mercedes, Says Horner (Speed)

“For any competitor to have the benefit of running a current car with current race drivers with tires that are to be used in the current world championship is an enormous and unfair advantage for both performance and reliability and in our opinion totally unacceptable.”

Ferrari: Mercedes test all that matters (Autosport)

Ferrari spokesperson: “The fundamental question refers to the compliance with article 22 of the sporting regulations, which does not allow the use of a current or previous year’s car for any kind of testing carried out during the season. This is the only substantial aspect. Everything else is irrelevant detail.”

F1 Owner Plots Bid For Sports Rights Giant (Sky)

“The part-owner of Formula One motor racing is plotting a $2bn-plus (??1.3bn-plus) takeover bid for IMG Worldwide, the media rights agency which represents the supermodel Heidi Klum and Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked tennis player.”

So street (Toro Rosso)

“Despite the cramped garages and the tiny hospitality areas floating on the Rowing Basin, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has character aplenty and if the weather is fine, it?s a great place to be, although of course the current forecast is for thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday and a sticky but dry 28 degrees [Celsius] on race day.”

McLaren and the Indy 500 (McLaren)

“Conquering the Indy 500 had become a burning priority for Bruce McLaren. He was a man who subscribed to the philosophy that if you?re not making forward progress then, like as not, you will drift backwards. By the start of the 1970s McLaren was an established force in F1 and even after they had recovered from the body blow of Bruce?s death testing a Can-Am car at Goodwood, his fellow directors continued to push forward to realise their boss?s ambitions.”

Formula one a sad, gimmick-laced parody (The Age)

“Rather than being the purest, most compelling form of motor sport on the planet, formula one has became a sad, gimmick-laced parody. Last Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, far from being a showcase of all that is noble and wonderful about the sport, was won with Nico Rosberg – the Mercedes cork in the bottle – heading a modestly paced parade of drivers and cars, all on tyre conservation strategies.”


Comment of the day

As two teams may have broken the testing ban, @Mike-The-Bike-Schumacher doubts the FIA’s ability to enforce other complicated rules:

Remember when there was talk of a budget cap, well seems like the FIA can?t even police a non testing rule! Put’s policing a budget cap rule into perspective!

The latest Caption Competition winner will be featured in tomorrow’s round-up.

From the forum

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Happy birthday to Jayantj, Rahim.Rg and Aditya Fakhri Yahya!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

McLaren team founder Bruce McLaren died on this day in 1970 while testing a Can-Am car at Goodwood. McLaren paid tribute to him ahead of the launch of their new F1 car earlier this year:

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

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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...

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  • 98 comments on “Horner: Mercedes had “enormous & unfair advantage””

    1. In the old days, managing your pace and keeping everyone at bay, taking care of the car and the tyres was hailed as a great show of dominance.

      2010 for instance, Webber managed the pack and did what he felt like. Same in 2012, everyone was waiting for the rain that didn’t happen and they all finished cm from each other. Same for Vettel in 2011… It’s Monaco, the leader wins, it’s always been like that, unless he crash, the strategy fails or the one behind takes enormous risks.

      Why is it today so different? no one forced anyone to go around the track slowly… Fair enough, Vettel might’ve burned his tyres trying to overtake Rosberg, but you don’t know what would happen unless you try. Rosberg went slow when he needed it (strategically speaking, it was a good decision to keep the field as close as possible), sped up when he wanted and ultimately won.

      All this rant about today’s F1 is wrong; IMO. It’s not too far to what we’ve seen in the past. It’s a too harsh and too unfair criticism towards F1.

      I agree it’s not ideal, but come on… we’ve seen worse.

      1. If only it was just at Monaco.

      2. @fer-no65 @hohum

        When rewatching the 89 races, I find it interesting how Prost, Senna and Mansel, purposely backed off several laps to save their tyres, then attacked. So yes, I agree, what is the big deal these days. It seems the masses responds to a internet whine, and suddenly they rally without looking back at the past and logic. Even during the Bridgestone versus Michellin era, cars backed off to save their tyres, and Schumacher too was a master of holding everyone back while saving his tyres to prevent an extra stop.

        1. Try looking at the earlier era of no pit-stops to understand why so many of us do not like this tyre centric era.

          1. @hohum I doubt Fangio raced flat out the whole Grand Prix… as he always said: “win at the lowest speed possible”.

            1. @fer-no65, Jack Brabham also said that. Winning at the slowest speed possible still involves being faster than everyone else and in those days meant being in front of everyone else, not cruising around in fourth or fifth place relying on having a pit-stop in hand to win

            2. @hohum heh, well, others are going faster and longer… so there’s room for improvement. Its not Ferrari’s nor Pirelli’s nor Lotus’ fault the others can’t do the same…

            3. @fer-no65

              Tyre nursing did not start this year my friend, the problem here is we’ve never seem such extreme tyre conservation. We did have more fragile tyres than we used to have in 2011 and 2012 but I don’t recall such uproar from fans, commentators and bloggers. Some drivers expressed their dislike both in 2011 and 2012 but I really can’t remember so many fans and pundits disapproving the tyres, in fact Pirelli seems unhappy with them too.

              I don’t like 2013 tyres but it doesn’t mean I want to see Bridgestones back. We had great racing both in 2011 and 2012, tyres were a factor but not the single most important item in F1.

            4. @jcost that’s what I’m saying, I mean, I think it’s too harsh.

              It’s coming from every angle, and some commentators change their opinion from race to race (Coulthard for instance). Changing the way it is midway through the championship isn’t clever either, IMO.

              I agree this situation it’s not ideal. I don’t like it aswell. China was too bad a race for me…

            5. @fer-no65

              I understand DC changing opinion, like Keynes once said: “when facts change, I change my mind”

              Those tyres are killing the sport, they went too far.

      3. It’s because things are now specifically manufactured top-down to be that way, and more and more people are starting to see through it.

        2013 is the first time serious numbers are coming on board. Pirelli are the scapegoat for this FiA/FOM drive towards ‘entertainment’ that is starting to backfire.

      4. I am under the impression that this horribly boring event was caused by the race leader. That Mercedes car is obviously ridiculous, and I am willing to bet that even that secret test didn’t help much. We see them getting pole position and finishing on 9th place at other venues. Of course everyone else will be slow. If Vettel had the balls that Perez or Sutil have, things could have turned out differently, but if you have a mule running in front of stallions through a narrow path, you will have a slow parade and nothing else.

        1. Perez and Sutil aren’t fighting for the championship and Perez is an idiot.

        2. @flig

          Vettel and Mark were not that fast in front of Lewis…

      5. I don’t think it’s really a valid excuse to bring up the past to argue about the future: we need what is best for F1 now with it’s incredibly reliable cars and close field. In that case I simply don’t see the need for such influential gimmicks: the degree of tyre conservation this year is at a new high and is just making the racing suffer as a result. Again though this is not necessarily to say we should just go back to the no-stop era as @hohum proposes: I think there should be a happy medium which allows drivers to push flat-out and make an extra stop or conserve (nowhere near the degree of now though) and eek out one less. That was the original idea, it’s just been abused unnecessarily.

        1. the most important thing is to go flat out, at least for x% of the race. To spend 400M to see this Monaco procession (take a look of the incredible radio comments from Keith) is painful, for those who knows F1 from the late 70’s. Some people like endurance, or marathon, others like sprint like the 100m. F1 is just a marathon now, there is absolutely no sprint, every people waiting the others for tyres to fade. We all know that the last second in motor racing is the most difficult to reach, and the best are splitted within one or two tenths. How you measure the driver skills when they drive continuously 4 to 8 seconds from the potential ? By attempts like Perez did ? By the standings ? By Alonso saying “I let pass every one because i see the big picture” ? It seems that fans are divided, I think because there are fans that want to see tense action when you fill the danger, the extreme, and those who like the tactical parts more important. Both are respectables, but this must be 2 categories, like sprint flat-out and endurance, maybe with the same cars, but not this middle way where you see the pace only in quali session and after that a farce.

    2. “Rather than being the purest, most compelling form of motor sport on the planet, formula one has became a sad, gimmick-laced parody. Last Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, far from being a showcase of all that is noble and wonderful about the sport, was won with Nico Rosberg – the Mercedes cork in the bottle – heading a modestly paced parade of drivers and cars, all on tyre conservation strategies.”

      I met with so diverse opinions about this race and I found masses of people seemed to just jump on bandwagons, especially those with negative opinions.

      For example, our coverage openly stated they thought the race was dull and not entertaining a bit. I followed Sky’s coverage, then I read an analysis on our network and I was so taken aback by the amount of opinions saying the race was a borefest.

      I, for one, disagree. The 2013 Monaco Grand Prix was one which started out as a thrilling strategic race, but it turned out to be a rather action-packed contest instead with two full course cautions for Massa’s strange crash and the Grosjean-Ricciardo incident, coupled with a red flag for a rather unusual reason following yet another incident. Meanwhile, Sergio Perez and Ardian Sutil pulled off two magnificient overtakes apiece proving that those who dare sufficiently may just pass other cars even here. To cap it off came a controversial move by Perez on Raikkonen and a wonderful last five laps from the 2007 world champion.

      Wait, is this what we should call boring!? I mean, what are we on? No 70+ passes, alright, at least the track separated the men from the boys. One could easily spot and remember the moves.

      Of course what sticks with everybody is the audaciously slow pace due to tyre wear. This is by what this race was communicated, it’s kind of a marketing, a bad one. As if F1 had not seen similar things with the fuel conservation era of the 1980s, which produced races like Jerez 1986 or the British GPs of 1986-1987. Bashing, seeing and emphasising negatives came to the fore. It is easy to just move on the same wavelength as the ever-growing amount of discontent people. This great mass of people and their combined energy focused on this peculiarity of this year’s F1 racing kind of draws everyone towards itself.

      They just seem to underemphasise what was in fact a very eventful race.

      1. You mention 2 great passes, in the midpack by a driver(s) with nothing to lose against drivers with a lot to lose, pity we didn’t see that sort of action at the front. You also mention Kimi’s great run at the end, where he had nothing to lose also, most of us did not get to see it because it was happening at the back, it would have been great to see Kimi or any driver drive like that fighting for a podium finish but no-one had enough tyres for 8 lap sprints.
        Then you talk about the crashes, yes they are visually exciting, yes they ruin all those tactical plans and fortunately nobody gets hurt but is this what we watch F1 for?

        1. I disagree, I thought this year’s Monaco Gp was one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

          In the past, When not much overtaking or whatever was going on at Monaco, The thrill & excitement came from watching the cars pushing inches away from the barriers, From watching the speed of the cars fly through places like the swimming pool, KNowing that a small mistake could put them in the wall.

          The problem with this year’s race was that with everyone tip-toeing around desperately trying to save the tyres, We not only didn’t see any racing (As everyone was leaving gaps to the cars infront, Something we heard via team radio several times) but with everyone driving around so slowly the spectacle of watching F1 cars wizzing around Monaco was also taken away.

          Yes Perez pulled off some overtakes & Kimi’s push at the end was exciting but look at them in context.
          Perez was taking opportunistic moves on guys ahead who were driving more conservatively, saving tyres more or thinking championship.
          And at the end Kimi was on fresh tyres driving flat out while the cars he passed were on old tyres & were driving to ensure they didn’t hit the cliff before the end (Bottas even moved over to let Kimi by him).

          Accidents? I don’t watch F1 to see accidents, I watch to see close, competitive & hard fought racing & there was very little (If any) of that at Monaco.

          In truth I don’t think there has been a great deal in any other races so far in 2013.

          Fact is that complaints about the tyres are not coming from just a few ‘purist’ fans or from 1-2 teams/drivers anymore, Its now coming from just about everyone including from many people who until now have been very supportive of Pirelli.
          That shows to me that there IS a big problem with the effect the 2013 tyres have had on the ‘racing’ & its not just something been thrown out there & made to look bigger than it is.

      2. @atticus-2 the most amaizing thing is that Coulthard said great things about the Spanish race (in response to Brundle’s harsh criticism?), and how he had just driven Clark’s Lotus and realized those guys didn’t race flat out all the time because they had to save the car and all, and then after Monaco he attacks hard saying things cannot continue this way.

        Funny, huh?

        1. Keep in mind Coulthard is a mouthpiece for RBR and will follow RBR PR pov.

          1. That must be tough, considering his close relationship with McLaren too. Man it must be hard for him to sleep at night!

            1. And his continuing relationship with Mercedes.

        2. @fer-no65 It is. I wonder if he indeed wanted to strengthen the case of RB as @hohum suggested, or not.

      3. I sure am one from the negative “bandwagon” (if well-deserved criticism can be called a bandwagon simply because there’s a heap of it).

        started out as a thrilling strategic race

        Strategic races might sometimes be interesting enough: that is when you feel the tension and the frantic effort behind the seeming monotony. This was definitely not one of those races; and to use “Monaco GP 2013” and “thrilling” in the same sentence is plainly a travesty.

        rather action-packed contest

        I guess I’m not alone in thinking that seeing inevitable crashes from the usual suspects in an artificially bunched-up field is not the kind of “action-packed” one prefers to see, unless he has a quite distorted expectation of a F1 race.

        pulled off two magnificient overtakes apiece

        Magnificent, as in “an reckless game of chicken that has nothing to do with actual skill, and which only a driver with not much to lose and lots to prove can afford” (Perez), or magnificent, as in “someone in the midfield always pulls this trick in each and every Monaco GP” (Sutil)?

        a wonderful last five laps from the 2007 world champion

        A dash that was effective because it was done in a top car on fresh tyres against midfield cars on worn tyres; which was aided by Bottas “believing” himself to be lapped; and most of which we didn’t get to see on TV, anyway.

        Monaco is not about wheel-to-wheel battle, and no one in his right mind expects that. But when you cannot even expect cars to be dancing centimeters from the wall, what’s left of actual racing?

        Don’t tell me that a race where the leader drove around seconds slower than anyone (including backmarkers) bothering or being able to go fast was not one of the most disappointing races in years.

        Interesting, though, that while those who value strategic races, and those who enjoy action provided by crashes more often come from opposite ends of the spectrum, you are a “connoisseur” of both.

        1. Well, I think I just learned to appreciate the positive things in crashes. Not that I enjoy mindless wrecks or seeing cars torn apart, but I do like to watch and re-watch incidents to determine who did what which led to the crash, it’s like a mini-investigation every time. And if devised with careful assessment of the moves and motives one could determine who (if any) was at fault.

          …And of course, then come others with other assessments, entirely possibly better-judged than mines, and challenge you to look at it from a different point of view.

          I think these things do make crashes interesting.

          I got this kind of perspective watching NASCAR since last fall. Btw, I think I’m even more a “connoisseur” deeming this GP an exciting one, when NASCAR provides such as show in terms of passes, passes for the lead and table-turning events week in week out.

      4. I agree that the sky, or should I say Brundle ‘tired of tyre-talk, so let’s talk them down a bit more’ approach is wearing me down a bit.

        My opinion of the race is the same as yours @atticus-2, it was a great Monaco race. Seems Sky lacks perspective on how this race usually runs.

      5. Race was ok for Monanco, I never had high expectations for Monaco, that track is like that. I was expecting a sprint race after the red flag but top three and Lewis Hamilton’s engineer did not want such a thing…

      6. I liked the race in the context of it being a Monaco GP, but I wouldn’t use the lowest deg track of the season as an illustration for the fact these tyres aren’t as bad as people say they are. In reality the one stop was incredibly marginal and that just simply should not be the case on a track like Monaco.

        It’s all very well and good that this particular race was a good one, but the Spanish GP was dire, Bahrain was good but not great, China was generally quite boring, Malaysia was an exercise on tyre conservation until the Bull fight and Australia was an average open to the season.

    3. Traverse (@)
      2nd June 2013, 0:28

      Regarding COTD – The FIA will have no issue policing a budget cap system. Believe me, anything that relates to money is universally policed with extreme stringents.
      Example: If I accidentally run someone over I would probably be afforded a degree of latitude from the criminal justice system (“The Man”) but if I were to accidentally under-calculate the amount of tax owed to HMRC, I’d be hanged, drawn and quartered in a heartbeat. The FIA will easily implement and administrate a budget cap if they so choose introduce one because money, IS king.

      1. @hellotraverse
        But that is if you are caught. The reason so many people tries their hand at tax evasion is because it does work. Some are caught, others are not.
        Take a look at Dolce and Gabbana and their tax evasion. That had been going on for years and years and involved gazillions of Euros and they are first caught now.
        Just imagine if the budget cap had been in place in 2000 and Ferrari had broke it. They would likely have been fine for years afterwards, because finding out those things can very quickly become infinitely complicated. Only to end up like Armstrong and be stripped of titles years and years after the crime was committed.
        I think that is one of the worst scenarios you can imagine in sports. As a fan of the sport it just feels ridiculous. Especially as we don’t know what the others were doing, and some could be investigated more thoroughly then others etc.
        I don’t think that a budget cap is a good idea, simply because it’s so hard to enforce and even if they find evidence that one team has broken it, that will be so long after the events took place that they could be in a situation where they have to punish a team which doesn’t exist anymore, or runs under a new name and management.
        I see the budget cap as a good idea, but with thousands of things to go wrong.
        I am afraid that it will just end up as a farce and in the end, that hurts the fans. If they wanted to save REAL money, they shouldn’t change the rules all the time. That would be a lot cheaper for everyone.

        1. Traverse (@)
          2nd June 2013, 18:49

          Tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance on the other hand is perfectly legal. I get your point that big companies and wealthy individuals get away with tax avoidance but this is only true because governments worldwide allow it to happen.

          Governments turn the other cheek to tax avoidance because they want to attract the most successful multinational corporations (most of which are only massively successful because they don’t pay their tax bill in its entirety) to their respective shores. If governments actually wanted to they could clamp down on this immoral (but if I’m honest very alluring) practice in a heartbeat but they don’t, because the consequences would be big business leaving the country and taking their acumen, money and their significant social influence with them.

          So an F1 budget cap is a possibility and could easily be enforced but the outcome is inevitable – the FIA introduce the budget cap, Ferrari complain because their development and standing within F1 would take a big hit, Ferrari they threaten to leave if the FIA continue with the project, the FIA chicken out and reverse the decision to implement a cap and Ferrari continue to subjugate F1.

    4. Horner may or may not be right about the “huge advantage” MB may have gained from 1 days testing, to me it highlights 2 major problems with F1 now;
      1.Tyres are everything in F1 now.
      2.A total testing ban is bad for what is supposed to be a DEVELOPMENT formula, and therefore bad for us fans, the hard core of which, believe it or not, want to see a contest of skill rather than a lottery based on tyre-track-weather conditions.

      I know the teams voted against testing on the grounds of cost, but more likely as they see it favouring Ferarri, but surely running 1 car for 1 day 4 or 5 times a year at a non-championship track would cost less than testing new parts and set-ups on Fridays on a different track 20 times a year as happens now,frequently with inconclusive results.

      1. but surely running 1 car for 1 day 4 or 5 times a year at a non-championship track would cost less than testing new parts and set-ups on Fridays on a different track 20 times a year as happens now

        Totally wrong.

        Testing new parts on a Friday cost’s the teams nothing (FOM pay transportation costs & arrange the transportation to every race weekend).
        Sending out the crew to a track for even 1 test day would cost the team a fortune as they would have to pay for all the transportation cost’s, They would have to organize the transportation, They would have to pay towards renting the circuit & they woudl have to pay to send there crew out plus they would be paying for stuff like tyres, fuel, oils etc….

        The other thing however is it would be a few extra days where the crew would be away from home, Something which with 19-20 races is already becoming a problem. The way round that is to bring back test teams, However that also raises cost’s which is why they all dropped the test team’s to begin with.

        1. Linda, I take your point, however the parts tested on a Friday have to be built in sufficient numbers to be used by 2 cars for the entire weekend and if they do not produce the expected results that money is wasted and a new design must be developed and again a weekends worth built before the next race where they may or may not succeed again and different tracks will produce different results making it hard to compare the results.
          On top of this F1 teams are clustered around areas where racetracks are only a short drive away, yes they will have to pay to use the track but if the BBC can afford a track for Top Gear then I think any solvent F1 team could afford a few track days.

          1. @hohum – while there is some merit to your point, the flip side is that testing at one specific track will not validate performance modifications designed for a different track and for different driving styles, thus it is far more cost effective to test at free practice.

            1. @sars, not true, you only need 1 part for a test or multiple different versions of a part to learn if it achieves the hoped for result, it is not a case of comparing lap times but a case of reading the data from all the sensors so the track does not matter, this is TESTING not PRACTICE.

          2. however the parts tested on a Friday have to be built in sufficient numbers to be used by 2 cars for the entire weekend and if they do not produce the expected results that money is wasted and a new design must be developed

            And the same is true when testing outside of race weekend, Except there are often a lot more parts been tested which means a lot more is been spent on them.

            I remember times in the past when we had testing where teams woudl spend a fortune to design/produce & send out a part (Or a series of parts) to a 2 day test only to find most of the bits either didn’t produce any gains or only produced a very tiny improvement.

            Also they often don’t produce 2 development parts, They tend to produce 1, Do a back to back test with new & old parts, Look at the data & then produce more to use on both cars for the next race if it was an improvement.

            built before the next race where they may or may not succeed again and different tracks will produce different results making it hard to compare the results.

            Thats not a problem as they have the sensors, aero paint, driver feedback as well as other data to see exactly how well (Or not) a part is working.

            The only thing a return to testing would do is raise cost’s massively & give the more well financed teams a bigger advantage over the mid-field/back of the pack teams which would see the gap between the front & back of the grid increase again.

      2. @hohum

        They should just add 2 in-season test for everyone. Like what Pirelli did with Mercedes, they should have 2 days test after Spanish GP and then 2 days test after the first race after summer break.

        That would’ve help teams and Pirelli.

        1. @jcost, but that is far more expensive than a couple of track days at their local non-F1 approved track.

    5. The tyre test is a black cloud over f1 atm. And it looks to me like the fia should just let all the other teams do a test with pirelli in a 2013 car. Making too big a fuss about it could damage f1 and mercedes as a brand, and that could mean a withdrawal from the series.
      I wouldn’t want to see mercedes punished, even if they deserved it.
      It’s a strange time and you need all the manufacturers you can get!

      1. @solidg The problema is if the FIA juts allow everybody to test now and don´t punish Mercedes is sending a message that teams can do whatever they want.

        1. @celeste

          What kind of punish? Ban them? Because it would make more sense to let everybody else test, so the perceived advantage gained by Mercedes looses effect.

          1. @jcost The point is not what punishement, but they should be. That´s for the FIA to decide. They could suspend the team for some races.

            But if the FIA don´t punishes Mercedes is like if you don´t punishes one of your children after he made something wrong, next time another children don´t obey your orders. How are you gonna ask the other kids to do as you said?

            1. What if they say it’s not 2013 tyres? They still can get away with their extra mileage. If I was FIA, I would ask Pirelli to let everybody else try the same tyres. Problem sorted.

            2. @jcost it was still 2013 car with 2013 drivers. They learned about the car, and the drivers learned about the car. And the regulation does not give latitude in what car can you run and what a test is.

              I recomend you read Adam Cooper series of articles about the how the test was conducted, it really give you an idea why the other teams are so mad and why I think both Pirelli and Mercedes should be severely punished.

    6. Any advantage Mercedes got from the test isn’t likely to be about the tyres themselfs but instead from simply gaining 1000kms of seat time for its drivers.

      I’ve heard it said many times that everytime your in an F1 (Or any other race car) doing laps your learning something & gaining experience of the car & how best to drive it.
      There was a story a day or 2 ago about Hamilton needing to adapt to the Mercedes brakes due to them using a different supplier to what he’s been used to at McLaren. Surely a significant amount of test mileage help’s him learn more about this & figure them out a lot faster than he would have if he only had race weekends.

      They may not have run any new parts, May not have known what tyres they were using & may not have made any setup changes. However there are still an awful lot of gains a driver can make just by getting seat time & Hamilton/Rosberg getting that extra set time is more of an unfairness in my opinion than having run Pirelli development tyres.

      1. As you mention, the biggest advantage would have been from just getting to know the car, feel the car and learn how it reacts. Wasn’t Mercedes improving their times a lot during 2011 without any updates mid season, just from fine tuning how they ran the car?

        Its really hard to gauge how much on an advantage was gained though and what Horner mentions

        “For any competitor to have the benefit of running a current car with current race drivers with tires that are to be used in the current World Championship is an enormous and unfair advantage for both performance and reliability and in our opinion totally unacceptable.”

        is quite an exaggeration, the easiest answer to that complaint is: – all fine and well Mr. Horner, but Mercedes did not in fact ran with “tyres that are to be used in the current WC” making the complaint irrelevant.

        Its a bit sad he overdoes it like that, because it takes away from the fact that this test clearly was against what everyone thought was agreed about in season testing. And it took place more or less at the same time as teams voted overwhelmingly against re-opening for in season testing, so its certainly something serious.

    7. Any time an article from the Age is included in the Roundup it seems like it’s always something negative. Anyway for all this talk of tyres I take a very long term approach: These tyres won’t be around forever, and one day F1 may go back to the processional affairs of the early 2000’s. Both should be avoided, but if I had to pick one to watch I’d take the current racing.

      1. @colossal-squid

        I don’t think we appreciate how good things really are at the moment.

        1. @mike I’m really enjoying it! Ok, so the tyres have gone a bit too far, but we still have a field comprised of some of the best drivers ever in the sport, many cars are very close performance wise and there’s a legitimate chance of four or even five teams winning grand prix this year.

          This is a far cry from the 90’s and 00’s where it was two big teams, two main drivers fighting for the championship and in the process most of the field got lapped. To my mind, there wasn’t a huge amount of overtaking either, but a lot of mechanical failures. It’s easy to say that the past was better, but rose tinted glasses distort your vision.

      2. I do not really like the tone of that article in the Age. Now, I can fully understand why a lot of fans, like @hohum etc, want that. But surely the likes of Webber and Button (amongst the seniors in the field) can only remember those

        the old days of legitimate, no-holds racing.

        from seeing it on TV, or at best with their parents visiting a race.

        The only days when they really went full out, was when it was doing so between pitstops. But even then they went slow, driving to a given limit, and speeded up the moment the pitstop got nearer, either to get the undercut, or just a good inlap to stay ahead. F1 has not been a “pure” form of sport for ages, or maybe never has been.

        1. As I see it, many commenters here and elsewhere are clamouring for the return of a type of racing that was never there. Many have in their criticism of the present come to create an idealised version of the past, where men were men and the racing was hard, fair and on the limit. This was never the case. Even in the 1950’s drivers took great care to nurse their cars due to the high mechanical failure rate. There has been always some factor that has ensured that drivers conserve their car’s performance to benefit themselves. Like you have said, they sped up or slowed down as it suited.

          Finally, what makes a sport pure? It is something as simple as chess or running? If the measure of a sport’s purity is the lack of technology or rules surrounding it then by its nature F1 is impure. But soccer will have goalline technology, tennis has hawkeye, Rugby has the tv referee. Just because F1 has external factors influencing the racing (DRS, tyres) doesn’t necessarily make it impure, to my mind.

          1. Yes, I see it much the same @colossal-squid

        2. This “drivers never used to go flat out for the entire race” argument is a silly strawman. Nobody is actually saying “Drivers USED to go flat out for the entire race”.

          This much is true though: we never used to hear drivers complaining that they could not go any slower! And while drivers have always sought to control a race from the front, that never used to mean going 8 or 9 seconds a lap slower in the race than in qualifying to try to preserve the tyres.

          Deliberately putting rubbish tyres on the cars is a radical change for Formula One, and no amount of talk about how “Fangio had to manage his tyres” can alter that. If this is what the sport is to become then lets put all the drivers in Masarati 250F’s and abandon the charade about being “the pinnacle of motor sport”.

          1. Nobody is actually saying “Drivers USED to go flat out for the entire race”.

            I’ve seen several comments on this site stating just that. I know that isn’t your argument, but to some it is theirs.

            I do not disagree that the pendulum on tyres has swung too far in the wrong direction. Where once we had Vettel doing all but one lap of the race in Monza on the soft compound we now have too much degradation! There remains a need to have some degradation of the tyres. The racing in 2010 and earlier was very often processional. I welcome Pirelli’s construction of fast degrading tyres, but they have indeed now gone too far. I just caution against those who wish for a return to much harder, more durable compounds, as I fear that the pendulum swinging in the other direction will cause the processions to return with them.

      3. @colossal-squid I completely agree with this post.
        I fully see the view on current racing, where the amount of tyre conservation is too high and Pirelli have gone too far with the tyres. Pirelli could perhaps make the racing better with more 2012-spec tyres, but I think people have been too cynical about them.
        If one day F1 goes back to processional racing (at GPs other than Monaco), with only a couple of teams capable of winning, we’ll look back on 2013 with a bit more admiration. We’ve had it worse than this.

      4. But the early 2000’s were processional because of the aero influence and the re-fuelling/tyre stops turning the race into a series of sprints with passing happening in the pits not on the track. Another possible reason the racing was less tactical was probably the fact that only 6 cars got points, the rest had to ” top 6 or bust”, nowadays 10th. and even 12th. are worth $millions.

        The closest thing to pre pit-stop F1 is MotoGP where even the best make mistakes that end their race as does a pit-stop effectively, tyres are chosen by the rider to suit the track and the riders style and tactics but no-one is forced to use a sub-standard tyre. I believe every F1 fan ought to be a MotoGP fan as well. And I forgot to mention the engines are not equal but are constantly being developed. Please consider @collossal-squid,@deej92,@bascb,@vettel1, et al.

        1. Please add ” in the good old days” after “racing was less tactical”

        2. But the early 2000′s were processional because of the aero influence and the re-fuelling/tyre stops turning the race into a series of sprints with passing happening in the pits not on the track

          That was more or less what I had wanted to say, @hohum, that surely guys like Button and Webber might look back on racing between stops as the golden days, but those was hardly an era when racing was either exiting nor “pure”, you would have to go further back than that

        3. @hohum You are correct in your analysis of the factors that created the dull racing during that era. I was wrong to lay all the blame on the tyres, but I still contend that they were a major factor in such processional racing. Take as recently as the 2010 season – the championship battle was fantastic, but I don’t remember too many great races. Bridgestone’s compounds were far too hard.

          While the factors you have listed have changed or been removed from the sport, The aero-influence remains, however. IMO degradation of the tyres is an important factor in ensuring dull processional racing does not return. I’m not a fan of DRS, and would rather fast degrading tyres that offer more tactical nuance for the teams and drivers rather than an overtake button. I do not defend the tyres this season, it’s been too much. But remember the great racing that was given to us last season, or even the interesting tactical battle of Australia a few months ago. This in my view is to be preferred to the racing of the past (such as 2010).

    8. “Formula one a sad, gimmick-laced parody”

      So sad, so true. And the press, so blinded by their own spectacle, embarrassing.

    9. Thanks for the wishes Keith :D

    10. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
      2nd June 2013, 3:20

      Thanks @keithcollantine, wish u and your site the best, mate.

    11. Horner and Ferrari are right. The testing row is straight-forward. Mercedes should not have used the 2013 car. However, Mercedes claims that it has FIA’s approval for using the 2013 car. If that’s the case, then it’s FIA’s problem for breaching the rule. If the case goes to tribunal and let’s say it is clear that FIA indeed gave Mercedes the nod to use the 2013 car, what punishment will be given to FIA? Will someone in authority be suspended/fined/sent home?

    12. Why is Christian Horner so bitter? His team have won all championships for the past three years and is well on course to win another two this season, but when the fourth-placed team in the standings (possibly) breaks the rules he not only protests, but also sends a reminder to the FIA along the lines of “are you going to start punishing them yet, or what?” He is like a football player asking the referee to give his opponent a yellow card.

      Also, I find it very ‘noble’ of Horner that he only wants Mercedes, and not Pirelli punished, but if the FIA gave approval for Mercedes to use its 2013 car, contingent on Pirelli inviting all other teams as well, then I don’t see how the tyre supplier should be innocent.

      1. And realistically, I doubt that Horner now thinks Merc is a Championship threat, AND he was the one complaining about the tires the most anyway, and now that they will be on revised ones come Britain, there’s a good chance his team will be one of the stronger beneficiaries.

        I think this is just Horner considering it a small victory if he can get Merc fined, or whatever, just like Ferrari and Lotus didn’t want any changes to the tires because they felt they had a bit of an upper hand on RBR, or at least that RBR appear a little handcuffed on the tires, which is a rare sight to see these recent years, and so they want a small (or maybe not so small) victory by trying to see that the tires remain unchanged. At least that WAS Ferrari’s tact, until they themselves did a test. Sure, with a 2011 car, but there should be something said for some level of ‘underhandedness’ there too, if Merc is to be accused of such. And something to be said for Ferrari helping Pirelli, when they were supposed to be one of the ones, along with Lotus, wanting no change.

      2. @adrianmorse
        Why should a team only have the “right” to complain about other teams and their misbehavior if they are a threat to their position in the championship? I don’t really see the logic in that.
        If someone has broken the rules, they should be punished accordingly.

      3. @adrianmorse About a month or two Horner gave an interview to Autosport, subs only, about what his job in RBR was. He said there that one of his Jobs was that RB was in the best internally and external to compete. And that he didn´t care how this made him look in the public.

        He is not bitter, he is fighting for his team. And that´s what RB pay him to do.

    13. And I still say that if Horner thinks Merc gained so much, then all the more reason the test should not have gone to a top-3 team, especially his. And…I think one could argue that Hemberey is pointing out using a 2013 car is less significant than many think, because most of the test should ideally have been done on a 2014 car, but those cars don’t exist yet.

      I think this is much ado about nothing. There seems to be enough evidence that Pirelli needed this test and had the permission to do it, and they didn’t share data with Merc, and all of this F1 recognizes was necessary, as the current tires just aren’t cutting it. I think PH is correct when he says if he waited around for some sort of concensus the necessary test would not have happened at all. I think this will dry up and blow away once all the teams have some data from the Montreal running, and by the time they all get the tires for Britain and start adapting to them under those specific conditions, they’ll all be pretty much on the same page knowledge-wise, a level playing field. They all should improve a little as should the quality of the racing for the fans.

      1. @robbie so what will be do is “suddenly” Mercedes is now the top team? We still think they will win the championship in fair circunstance?

        1. @celeste I will then suspect, as will pretty much 100% of people surveyed, that Merc gained far more from the test than Pirelli and Merc have let on. I will then feel, like most people I suspect, that we were duped, and I think that will be the end of Pirelli in F1 too. They will not only have shown themselves to be conspirators trying to affect the Championship, but they will also show themselves to be untrustworthy. That is why I highly doubt they would think the risk of this test with Merc was dire. They HAD to have felt they were doing something within their contract and with F1’s permission, and something that was absolutely necessary given how the tires and the racing has been, with universal condemnation as to delta running and delamination.

          So for now I just do not believe that Pirelli and Merc would be so obviously and blatantly conspiratorial. What would Pirelli gain by trying to improve Merc’s chances intentionally. It’s not like there’s another tire maker in F1 that they want to beat.

          Let’s ask ourselves this. Has any team that has complained about the Merc test, and claimed they would have liked to have been the team to do the test, said that the test was not needed? Nor that better tires were not needed? Lotus and Ferrari were the most vocal to see no change to the tires, yet Ferrari did a test too, and Lotus have said they would have like the chance. Red Bull, who were the most vocal for change, should understand how volatile things would have gotten if THEY were allowed to do the test, and so should just be grateful that the better tires they so vocally asked for are on the way.

    14. Well Christian, if Pirelli are to be believed, Mercedes did not run tyres due to be used in the 2013 world championship.

      1. @geemac
        Yeah but who knows if that’s true?
        It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to think that they have changed their opinion about the compound they tested when they found out that so many fans and teams were furious because of what they had done.

        1. Very true @mads but until we know all the facts, all of the speculation means little. At this point we can’t believe anything anyone says to be honest as everyone is manoeuvring to advance/protect their own interests.

          1. @geemac
            Absolutely. I hope that, it won’t take long before FIA comes to a conclusion so we can all move on.

        2. Why would Pirelli lie about that, if there are contractual issues in play, lawyers ate involved, and they wouldn’t encourage such a blatant lie that can be easily discovered should this ever reach a court. Quite unlikely @mads; posturing is easy for a team not involved in this like Red Bull though, so I tend to believe what Pirelli officially claims (and what they do not say) over RBR for now. As @geemac said, the rest is just speculation at this point.

      2. I am pretty sure that they mentioned that they spent 90% of the time on tyres for 2014. This implies that 10% were run on tyres intended for 2013.

        1. @mike-dee

          This implies that 10% were run on tyres intended for 2013.

          I think this quote from Pirelli’s official statement to the FIA would dispute that there is any such implication.

          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

    15. Is it just me, or is Horner trying just a little too hard to get Mercedes in trouble? Even after Pirelli provided some insight into what happened in Barcelona – claiming that it was a test of 2014 compounds – Horner and Red Bull have only ever made generalised statements about the “advantage” Mercedes supposedly got. This suggests to me a lack of understanding as to what happened on their part at best, and at worst, and attempt to pressure the FIA to punish someone for being faster than them.

      1. I get the same feeling from it @prisoner-monkeys. At the same time, they have clearly started backpedaling a bit with the tone towards Pirelli (not a good idea to be on bad terms with their supplier, is it)

      2. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        2nd June 2013, 16:23

        It’s not a lack of understanding it’s more like selective blindness they obviously know all the details because they will have at least read the press releases we have. + probably more information the media is not privy to yet. They are simply trying to make it look worse and alot worse at that, than it actually was. Maybe it’s because mercedes took their 4th monaco win or maybe it’s because ferrari could be implicated as well I don’t know. I just hope that if it does go to tribunal the committee in charge are not as selectively blind as ch.

      3. @prisoner-monkeys to me it’s pretty self-evidentially related to the fact Mercedes were chewing through their tyres like Clint Eastwood did his toothpicks before this tests (even more so than Red Bull) and it would appear after Monaco that their degradation problems are less severe. I can see where he’s coming from.

        However, the blame really lies with Pirelli for conducting such tests without explicit gratification from the FIA and without having invited other teams to conduct such tests. It’s a pretty farcical situation all said and done.

        1. Is that you, Helmut?

          Mercedes was experiencing the most tyre degradation through long, sweeping bends, like Turn 3 in Barcelona. Monaco does not have any corners like that, and so tyre degradation was less of a problem.

          Furthermore, Mercedes have been consistently quick through sectors like Monaco, with short bursts of acceleration, sharp corners and definite braking zones – like the final sector in Barcelona – all year.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys, no my name is Max.

            I wasn’t suggesting otherwise: of course traction is the strong point of the Mercedes so the real test if they will have had any benefit will come in Canada. However, that doesn’t detract from the fact they had this tyre test and subsequently won the following race. It looks suspicious on face value.

            I will draw attention to this though @bascb:

            However, the blame really lies with Pirelli for conducting such tests without explicit gratification from the FIA and without having invited other teams to conduct such tests.

            That’s the main point here; Red Bull feel that Mercedes may have gained an advantage and we simply can’t judge that currently. But the whole situation would have been easily avoided if Pirelli hadn’t shrouded this test in secrecy. That’s highly strange to me and the major gripe I have with this whole situation – why would they have reason to hide it?

            1. @vettel1, Don’t misunderstand me, I am all for it that the FIA get all the facts on the table of why Pirelli and Mercedes (and Ferrari) though it was ok to test like this, because its very hard to believe they did not do anything untoward when they went to pretty great lengths to hide what exactly they were doing.

              But its nonsense to claim by anyone as fact that Mercedes has gotten a huge advantage, because we simply have no way of knowing that. And even the other teams won’t be able to tell (if they do, that means they know a lot more about this test than they are telling us).
              You rightly say that apart from the question of the legality of this test (a big question mark) which should be investigated, the secrecy surrounding it surely must be a big worry for everyone in the sport.

            2. @bascb I’m not saying they did: remember, this is Horner’s words not mine! I’m simply coming up with a theory as to why he feels that way.

        2. But if Horner really feels that

          it would appear after Monaco that their degradation problems are less severe. I can see where he’s coming from.

          then he should step down as fast as possible. Because an insider like him should know, that Monaco was always going to be the track where tyre wear came into the equation least of all, and Mercedes was going to have their best chance of winning by setting pole and keeping up front there @vettel1

          So that means that this cannot be the real reason. Either its just PR – playing to the public who does not understand that Monaco is a bit different for tyres – or its something else, because Horner is a clever guy.

          1. It does seem rather inconsistant of Horner to have been the most vocal about needing Pirelli to improve the tires mid-season, which Ferrari and Lotus objected to, and to then turn around and decry Mercedes for helping Pirelli come up with improved tires mid-season.

            I highly doubt Merc gained an ‘enormous’ advantage. If they did, then thank goodness a top 3 team didn’t get to do this test with Pirelli, especially RBR. I highly doubt Merc will have now solved their rear tire deg issue and will now be vying for the two Championships, and I fully expect that once the teams all get to compile data at this Friday’s practice here in Canada, and then they all get to use the tires all weekend in Britain, everyone will be on quite a level playing field, so I agree that Horner is coming off as disingenuine. But that’s part of F1, no? Just as Ferrari and Lotus didn’t want a change in tires taking away from the advantage they perceive they have over RBR (ie. win by having someone else suffering) so perhaps is RBR trying to squelch Merc in any way they can. They’re already way better than Merc on the track (for the most part and looking at the points standings), and will only improve with new tires equally with everyone (Pirelli’s aim) and now Horner wants to damage them off the track too. That’s F1, and sport. Horner’s words, if they can affect Merc negatively somehow, are the least expensive way to ‘win’ and don’t require extra staff and R&D and parts. They’re words. The worst that can happen is they fall on deaf ears of those who are influential in resolving this issue.

            1. As to the word ‘unfair’. Sure on the face of it, it looks unfair that Merc was used to do this, imho, necessary test. ie. if it wasn’t necessary it wouldn’t have happened.

              It is unfair that we have to see delta racing because Pirelli unfairly didn’t get enough testing in under the right conditions to nail down this year’s tires. But it is an economic reality. And the teams voted for this amount of testing.

              What would have been fair, Mr. Horner? That everyone be included? If Pirelli waited around for concensus on that the necessary test would not likely have happened and how fair would that be to the teams and the fans to watch delta ‘racing’ for the rest of the season. There wasn’t the time or the money for everyone to test, and for everyone to at least be at the test…still…using who’s car? They’d never decide that in time.

              Would it have been fair for a top-3 team to do the test? I think not. A bottom 3 team? Pirelli would likely not have gained the right data from them.

              F1 wants gadgety tires to play a big role in the racing these days. Personally I think that is unfair to the viewing audience, or at least the portion of us that would rather see drivers able to push their cars to the limits.

              I think F1/FIA/Pirelli did the most fair thing they could do under the circumstances, even if it still had some small shade of unfairness. The whole situation is unfortunate, and certainly when it comes to sport, and business, fairness is never guaranteed.

              I wonder if Horner/RBR have ever done anything that was perceived to be unfair but which they were able to justify in their own minds if nobody elses? I wonder if SV ever thought it was unfair to be told to hold station only to ignore that unfairness, prevail, and live to fight another day.

    16. Watching modern day formula one cars going around Monaco is nothing short of incredible. The cars have outgrown the track hence virtually no overtaking. It’s also dangerous but given its heritage will always stay on the calendar. Despite what people say about the tyres they still fly around that track.

    17. TedEadman007
      2nd June 2013, 14:35

      Please pay no respect to ‘The Age’ article. People in Australia have no clue whatsoever about Forumla 1 and what the sport entails. The majority of the Melbourne population attend the GP as a ‘thing-to-do’ and vest very little interest in the sport. They would rather be watching a local Carlton v Collingwood Aussie rules ‘football’ match. Our media is equally to blame and as ignorant and incompetent.

      1. I didn’t even bother to read it, let’s face it with “friends” like that who needs enemies.

    18. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher)
      2nd June 2013, 15:58

      Yay! COTD!

    19. The problem with F1 is that the FIA regards it as its business not to merely organize and run the sport, but to try to control the outcomes. This practice has a long history in F1, and everyone accepts it, but perhaps it’s time that changed.

      The exhaust blown diffuser in 2009 really was illegal under the regs – but it promised to upset the existing order in F1 and deliver a championship to a team other than Ferrari or McLaren, so Charlie Whiting signed off on it anyway. And that sort of thinking is dominant among the people in charge of putting on F1.

      I follow a number of different sports and in all of them except F1 it would a huge scandal if the governing body was trying to favor some contestants over others. To add insult to injury, F1 this season (and to some extent last season as well) is managing to combine the worst features of professional wrestling and a chess match: it’s managing to seem both fixed AND boring!

      I think it’s time the people running F1 took a leaf from other sports (I’m tempted to say “real” sports) and stopped trying to influence outcomes in a misguided effort to “put on a show”.

      1. Agree and disagree. Yes F1 is unique and benefits when one team/driver doesn’t keep winning all the time, so they’ll try to prevent that sometimes, and they always prefer that seasons wind down to the last WDC deciding race. And yes I too wish they would stop trying to influence the outcomes. But as much as I dislike these degrady tires and DRS, I think they were meant to do the opposite of ‘fixing’ the racing. They were meant to shake things up and give us more potential winners of both the races and the Championships. Unless you are trying to claim they are trying now to fix it in Mercedes favour, and that I do not believe. I think the biggest example of influencing outcomes occurred when they moved MS to Ferrari to end the WDC drought there post-Senna. Eventually they even had to stop that train. Most other sports require far far less equipment and money and are more about the athletes and are therefore much harder to influence outcomes, but F1 is it’ own unique world with their own bat and ball, that’s for sure.

        1. F1 is unique and benefits when one team/driver doesn’t keep winning all the time

          Why is F1 “unique”? It could be argued that football would benefit if Man United didn’t win the league so often – would the FA be justified in changing the size of the pitch, the composition of the ball etc to try to achieve that result?

          Yes, I know that it’s always been this way in F1 (though not as much as at present I think) but perhaps it’s time it ended. Even by the standards of other motor-sports the degree to which the FIA is involved with trying to influence the outcome in F1 is quite unusual. In this particular instance its efforts to tilt the playing field in a certain direction have had the (doubtless unintended) side-effect of ruining the racing.

          There are worse things than one team winning the title(s) a few years in a row and we’re seeing some of those worse things right now. And what if (Heaven forfend) Vettel wins again this year anyway? What travesty of sport will be inflicted on us next year in consequence as the FIA goes to ever greater lengths to stop him?

          The cure here is much worse than the disease.

    20. Poor losers Red Bull.

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