Rivals sceptical Mercedes learned nothing from test

2013 Canadian Grand Prix

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Drivers from rival teams to Mercedes expressed doubt they could have conducted a three-day test for Pirelli without advancing their knowledge of their car.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton conducted a three-day test for Pirelli ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, which Rosberg won. They have been called to an FIA Tribunal which will examine whether Mercedes broke the rules.

Sebastian Vettel, who finished second in Monaco, said: “Surely it would be I think a big advantage compared to everyone else if you’re the only one who does it. If everyone does it, it’s the same for everyone. But clearly that hasn’t been the case for all of the teams.”

Asked if he thought Mercedes had gained an advantage for this season, Vettel replied “or Ferrari”. Ferrari also conducted a two-day tyre test for Pirelli but did so using their 2011 car, leading the FIA to drop that part of their investigation.

“I think it’s difficult to judge but surely every lap matters,” Vettel added. “These days testing is very limited on the track.”

“We’ve got two times one-and-a-half hours on Friday and there’s not that much you can do so you have to really get into the rhythm for the weekend. So any sort of extra testing is very, very valuable.”

Kimi Raikkonen said Mercedes could have made progress with their car regardless of whether or not they knew which tyres they were using.

“It’s a fact that if you give a chance to the teams to do that every team will take it and be very happy to do it,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter if we know what tyre it is or not, fact is it will help you in some way always, that’s why we do testing otherwise we would never do testing if we wouldn’t learn anything.”

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa also believed the test will have helped Mercedes:

“I think we don’t have tests. So whatever thing you can do to understand about the car is important. But is not part of the rules so we don’t have this possibility. But if you have, for sure it’s a help.”

However Jenson Button would not be drawn on questions over the test. “You’ve got to trust what they say,” he said, adding “it’s not something I can really comment on.”

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    26 comments on “Rivals sceptical Mercedes learned nothing from test”

    1. I’m just wondering – did anyone here guess anything along these lines would happen in the start of the year quiz for ‘Biggest political story’?

      1. I just went back through all 15 pages. On pages 5-6 you have some people mentioning the tires but I have a feeling they were not considering a potentially illegal test as part of that answer. Later in the thread we have someone who makes a general “cheating” statement which this does not necessarily qualify. Finally we have the only answers that really comes close the first reads “something to do with Hamilton…” and the second “the whole Mercedes [thing]” (forgot exact words).

        So, even if we take all of the answers that are half-right or hint at something you still come up short, with an answer something like this:

        “Some kind of cheating with Hamilton and the Mercedes, probably regarding the tires.”

    2. There’s a legal procedure for sure, but it’s hard to see how a team wouldn’t benefit from 3 days of testing, regardless of the tyres and all.

      It’s not just the car that you’re getting to know from an engineering point of view, the drivers are also learning. Last year before Mugello, when McLaren announced that they’d use the test drivers because “Mugello wasn’t representative of any F1 track in the calendar”, Hamilton quickly asked to do the test. Even if McLaren eventually said no and even if they were right (Mugello really is unique), the other guys in the paddock were happy to have track time.

      Mercedes really are in deep… I doubt it’s going to stay just like that. It probably won’t be such a big hit as with McLaren in 2007, but surely it won’t be a soft punch like Renault in the Spy-gate.

    3. Kimi tells it like it is!
      Merc are sunk.

      1. Doubt it. It’s pretty vague, the supposed advantages to the Pirelli tire test I mean, especially when Mercedes weren’t there trying different things with the car and they wouldn’t end up with data from Pirelli to really know what to relate to what tires. So…car time sure, but of any value that they can carry forward? I think this is nothing more than competitors not wanting to let other competitors off the hook.

    4. I think it’s Toto Wolf’s responsibility, the reason why he is in the team is exactly to avoid this situation. Both Brawn and Lauda are petrol heads and will always get carried away with their passions – not see objectively. The very reason for Toto’s presence is to bring structural integrity and objective thinking to give team different perspective.

      1. I’m a fan of the conspiracy theory, maybe all this was set up by Toto Wolf in order to get rid of Ross Brawn so Paddy Lowe will have no issue in replacing him the next year

        1. +1

          I did think the same thing, but it would be a big blemish on his career to leave Mercedes like that.

          1. My thought is that Ross Brawn is having a good contract with strong clauses when Mercedes brought the team especially after the hilarious championship won with Button
            If Mercedes group are satisfied with Brawn why just recruit both Toto Wolf & Niki Lauda & re-balance the power between all of them, another thing is when the Paddy Lowe rumor was released in the paddock Ross Brawn has denied it & said that he is the actual team principle & Mercedes has no plan to replace him with Paddy Lowe and then the announcement of Paddy joining Mercedes was made, but i do agree with you this is not the best way to leave Mercedes but it is F1 and this staff happens

    5. I find this hard to believe. Formula One is a professional sport with many highly paid individuals who are very anal about rules and regs…so if Merc thought for one minute that they could pull a fast one, they would have known there was no way they would get away with it.

      The has to have been some legal justification for what the did, it wouldnt make sense otherwise. The risk vs cost vs value of their decision providing it was not entirely legal would be a no-brainer. If they are found to have broken the rules, where the is a clear breach of legality, they could have all the points taken away, even thrown out of the championship!

      If there is a loop hole in the contracts or rules somewhere, well.. kudos to Merc for finding it. Ross and Toto seemed very relaxed about it at Monaco, so they may have a joker up the their sleeves.

      1. Agree. As I’ve said before the risks if this was indeed something underhanded would not nearly be worth it. Even the other drivers seem to acknowledge it would be only an advantage in car time and learning about the car but I would say even that is a bit of an exaggeration since Mercedes weren’t testing/changing out parts on their car for comparison purposes, nor did they know anything but generic coded info about the tires and Pirelli kept the data so there is no way whatever a driver ‘learned about the car’ would be able to be relatable to anything visa vie racing in anger on the tracks.

        I believe Pirelli and Mercedes have too much integrity, Pirelli would only stand to lose and have nothing to gain, and Mercedes simply would not risk their integrity nor reputation nor would want to win that way, let alone as you say think they could get away with it, let alone would be able to sleep at night.

        1. @robbie

          “I would say even that is a bit of an exaggeration since Mercedes weren’t testing/changing out parts on their car for comparison purposes”

          you don’t know that. Obviously, running cars for 1000km over 3 days, lots of little bits need to changed, such as breaks, break ducks, this bit, that bit. Who knows what little bits went on the car?

          Also, it was a great benefit for Hamilton to get 500km or so of car time, while he’s still sorting out the feeling of the Merc – from his steering wheel to the brakes.

          Not to mention the benefit for Merc in 2014 with the tires – since their car will be used as a baseline for the tires themselves. There are some characteristics of the Merc that will find their ways into the new tire I’m sure, that could help Merc down the line. Also Merc will have a better idea of the tires as they are designing their 2014 car.

          Not to mention, Merc has 100 of little sensors they have on the car to constantly monitor the systems, and they would have those data. And I’m sure, as Rosberg indicated, the drivers had a sense of the type of tires they were on based on grip level, corning, wear over “x” laps and so on.

    6. they did the test with current drivers and current car and current tires. of course that helped them better match the tires with the car. anybody who thinks otherwise is stupid and a coward.

      1. Alexander (@)
        7th June 2013, 8:15

        And don’t forget about next year, they have already run the 2014 tires on track, it may give them indications on how to develop next years car, and of course on the catalunya track they have all the setups figured out..

    7. Hearing from an FOM guy who’s in Montreal that something very significant has come out relating to the test which is going to “blow up” tomorrow.

      1. you mean it was not mercedes but red bull in disguise and the ferrari test was part of a bigger mclaren spygate plan with pedro ? omg ! :)
        /end of joke attempt

      2. Whiting giving his OK?

        Or Mercedes having had far more data than anyone let on?

    8. Mclaren are trying to make this a case about whether they gained an advantage – and not mentioning the real issue, that they tested a 2013 car when it is not allowed. the advantage or no advantage is irrelevent i think, as that part cant be proven, and is not a rule they broke. Any team can go testing and go backwards even, but they wont because it is illegal to test a 2013 car.

      1. Of course that’s the case. If someone murders someone else and admits to the murder the case for the defense is not “did this person commit a crime?” but “how vicious was the crime and how out of his head was this person who committed the crime?” Once guilt is assumed, implied or admitted the case becomes less “we didn’t do that” and more “we didn’t hurt anyone THAT badly…”

        They’re already admitting guilt essentially and trying to get a lesser punishment. That’s my view, anyway.

        1. @neiana

          Comment of the week!

      2. Mclaren? …O_O

    9. It’s been years since Kimi and I agree on something.

    10. I love the older and wiser Button.

    11. Obviously Mclaren and drivers won’t comment due to Merc being engine supplier

    12. I remember before the season started, reading an article, can’t remember it’s link, but was about Mercedes might look for an excuse to pull out as a works team… I don’t like conspiracies in F1, but in this case, why the hell would they be so stupid to breach such an obvious rule?

    13. I said it two weeks ago. Mercedes should be out of the competition. They broke the rules voluntarily and being conscious of what they were doing. It was mot a mistake, it was not misinterpretation, it is not even arguable.

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