Rosberg was aware what tyres Pirelli were testing

2013 Canadian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Nico Rosberg admits he knew details of what tyres Pirelli brought during their disputed test at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Mercedes face an FIA International Tribunal hearing over the test, which may have contravened the ban on in-season testing.

Asked if he knew what tyres he had been testing Rosberg said: “Yes, for sure, yeah of course. Definitely I was aware of what the ideas were and what they were testing because I need to know that to try and be able to pinpoint for them best what’s going on and what directions are likely to be best for them.”

Pirelli previously said Mercedes were not given details of what they were testing. F1’s official tyre supplier said in a statement last week, “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.”

Speaking ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix Rosberg admitted he was surprised that the test had become a matter of dispute: “No it definitely wasn’t to be expected because for all I knew it was perfectly normal that we were doing that and that’s what the whole team thought.”

“And that’s why we did it, that’s the only reason. Because definitely we don’t want to do anything that’s not allowed.”

Rosberg denied Mercedes made progress with their car during the test. “We had nothing to do with the test. Pirelli was there and they were saying ‘we need to do this for this many laps, and now this, and that, and that…’ We had nothing that we could do,” he said.

“It was completely a Pirelli test and for them to learn about their tyres.”

Mercedes and Ferrari Pirelli tyre test row

    Browse all Mercedes and Ferrari Pirelli tyre test row articles

    Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

    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.

    107 comments on “Rosberg was aware what tyres Pirelli were testing”

    1. Liam McShane (@)
      6th June 2013, 23:05

      Lie after lie. I don’t see why Pirelli would feel they need to lie. I would be surprised if both parties came out of this without a hefty penalty.

      1. Where is your proof that it is a lie? And if it was so obvious, why is the FIA going through the International Tribunal when they could reasonably go straight to imposing a penalty?

        1. Pirelli saying that it was a blind test, and Rosberg saying that he knew what tyre he was running makes one of the two a lie. They cant both be true.

          1. He says “ideas”, not “tyres”. It stands to reason that the tyres would be different enough to this year’s that Rosberg could figure out what they were doing based on the way the tyres felt.

            1. @prisoner-monkeys It depends on what the question was, really, doesn’t it. If the question was “Nico, did you know exactly what tyres you were testing?” then for him to say “Yes, for sure, yeah of course.” leaves very little room for interpretation. Without understanding exactly the thing that he was agreeing to, it’s dangerous to draw any absolutely concrete conclusions. That said, I find it hard to draw any conclusions from what he’s saying other than that he knew what tyres he was on while he was driving. And if that’s the case, then without a doubt, that will be of huge benefit to Mercedes when it comes to the development of their 2014 car.

            2. And if that’s the case, then without a doubt, that will be of huge benefit to Mercedes when it comes to the development of their 2014 car.

              Except that the tyres will change several times between now and 2014 so that the finished product only vaguely resembles what they tested with. If the data was given to Mercedes, it will only help them in the sense that they will know that they will be racing on tyres instead of wagon wheels.

            3. Changed primarily based on the feedback given to Pirelli by Mercedes’ drivers, though. Even if they will change, they’re not going to be completely different to what they’re using now, unless there are any particular issues. They’ll get a reasonable idea as to the kind of durability, how quickly the performance drops off, and so on and so forth. They’ll know if it’s an ‘aggressive’ tyre or a conservative one. They’ll have gotten all sort of useful info, even if they don’t see a shred of telemetry. Pirelli can’t suck that knowledge out of the heads of Rosberg and Hamilton, and they certainly won’t be keeping it secret from the team!

            4. So he was making a Pirelli testing and you’re saying that he was testing ideas and not the tyres, ok i’m thinking only 0,1% believe in that.

    2. Shouldn’t someone tell Rosberg to zip the old cake hole, just for his own good? This is getting farcical “For Sure”.

      1. I see that Rosberg is the appointed Mercedes spokesperson from the drivers’ standpoint, Lewis has been rather quiet about this issue.

        1. He probably learnt from Australia 2009 that its best to keep your mouth shut.

        2. Given that Rosberg was in the FIA press conference, its only natural that they went through it on beforehand to prepare him.

          Hamilton was not, so that’s why he had an easier time not mentioning it much.

        3. Well, looking at Hamilton’s illustrious career so far in formula 1 PR and media handling, I’d be VERY surprised if Mercedes haven’t told Lewis to keep his trap well and truly shut!

          What I’m most surprised about is how this test came to light! I’m absolutely amazed that the world didn’t find out about this test by Hamilton tweeting a pic of he and Rosberg looking very smug in front of the cars, giving a thumbs up with the caption “Yo, what’s crackin homies! Me and my boy Nico just chillin with Pirelli doing a ‘secret’ tire test. Don’t tell anyone though, cause it’s on the low low. Feel me?”

          lol – I crack myself up!

      2. Rosberg is a smart guy, I’m pretty sure he’s been told what he can say by Merc’s PR people.

        1. Well obviously he hasn’t, from what I can see Pirelli didn’t give any technical information to Mercedes about the tyres, but they do need feedback from the drivers so is a bit confusing whether they knew what they were testing or not.

          1. assuming, of course, that Pirelli were telling the truth about not informing Mercedes of the tyre compounds…

          2. @mantresx what proof do you have that Pirelli isn’t lying?

    3. This is a stupid situation and Formula 1 either need to own up to their incompetent management or come down on Mercedes hard, depending where the fault lies.

      This sort of rubbish is bad for the sport, and an example needs to be made of someone either way.

      1. @jameswalker …the example will probably be the FIA

    4. I cant believe that a team stayed behind in Barcelona and tested for 3 days and no one knew anything about it for a few weeks. Someone tell F1 this isnt 1937.

      1. This is what I don’t get. How did this take so long to come to light? A F1 team and both it’s drivers, along with a team of Pirelli boffs run a three day test at a famous race track and no-one heard anything about it? Weird.

      2. Traverse (@)
        7th June 2013, 0:36

        I’m surprised that Hamilton didn’t tweet about it #SuperDuperSecretTestSession :)

        1. His twitter account was suspiciously quiet between the 16th and 18th of May… But it appears he got a trip to Orlando between the Spanish GP and the test!

    5. With all due respect @keith I think ‘details’ is very subjective. There are ‘details’ and then there are ‘ideas’ which is NR’s word. NR doesn’t use the word detail or if one is to say that he knew details we don’t know how specific these details were, and I suspect the details were of the bare minimum for NR and LH to communicate what Pirelli’s changes felt like as the days went along, and I remain steadfast that Pirelli simply wouldn’t be feeding him enough details to advantage Mercedes. They simply have nothing to gain from influencing Mercedes Championship run that anyone has been able to tell me yet. Nor was Pirelli ever wanting to, or wanting to risk that.

      “It was completely a Pirelli test and for them to learn about their tyres.”

      1. @robbie As it says in the article Rosberg was specifically asked if he knew what tyres they were testing. You can see his reply which begins strongly in the affirmative. It does not leave wiggle room for the more favourable interpretation you’re suggesting.

        Also you got my username wrong and messaged someone who isn’t me!

        1. @keithcollantine Sorry about the wrong username. Notwithstanding your assertion about the abscence of wiggle room I still have yet to hear any suggestion whatsoever as to what Pirelli would accomplish or gain from advantaging Mercedes and am fully open to hear what that might be considering the considerable risk I think Pirelli would be taking by doing that, so I truly believe whatever details NR was made aware of will not advantage Mercedes. And I think that is why he has answered the question without a ‘no comment’. His answer tells me the communication between he and Pirelli during the test was normal for a tire test and was only what was needed to help them sort the mess of their tires out.

          1. what Pirelli would accomplish or gain from advantaging Mercedes

            you look, and look and cannot find? At the same time the answer is pretty obvious: They got a 2013 car and its race drivers on a track they had just raced on for the best feedback for data comparison available @robbie.

            I think that what Priestley mentioned to Keith about it being a bit of a compromise between them with Mercedes offering the car, but offering it on (some of) their conditions on the other hand.

            1. @bascb

              you look, and look and cannot find? At the same time the answer is pretty obvious: They got a 2013 car and its race drivers on a track they had just raced on for the best feedback for data comparison available

              Exactly what they needed to come up with better tires for all the teams.

              I think that what Priestley mentioned to Keith about it being a bit of a compromise between them with Mercedes offering the car, but offering it on (some of) their conditions on the other hand.

              An assumption of what COULD have happened IF Mercedes was trying to be underhanded, IF Mercedes was paying some of the shot for this test which I completely refute, and IF Pirelli would allow that, which also implicates them in helping Mercedes make it a Mercedes team test, which I completely refute.

              FIA/Pirelli needed a 2013 car and the primary drivers for this one shot at getting the tires right for the rest of the season for all teams which will benefit all teams. The use of a current car was not some gift, or some bonus for Pirelli or Mercedes…it was essential.

            2. Yes, it might have been essential for Pirelli @robbie, and that is exactly what I wrote, that in order to get that test done, they would have had to agree the team some leeway because otherwise they would not have gotten the car at all.

            3. @robbie

              Can you just clarify what you mean by “getting the tires right for the rest of the season”?

              Keep in mind that the FIA have said that the tyres can only be changed on the grounds of safety. And that even the delamination issue hasn’t been acknowledged as a safety problem – hence why Pirelli are unable to introduce the revised tyre until there is unanimous support from all the teams. In which case there isn’t really any justification for calling an exceptional test is there, especially one which allegedly focused 90% on tyres for next year.

            4. @bascb I simply don’t agree that Mercedes would have tried to strongarm Pirelli into making it a Mercedes test with a 2013 car and I guess you are suggesting with new components as well. I believe this was a strraight-up on the up and up Pirelli tire test where essential data was not shared with Mercedes. You are saying the same thing as Mercedes is that corrupt, and so is Pirelli that there was something underhanded going on and I just don’t buy it for one second, in spite of controversies that have existed in the past in F1, which usually had more to do with individuals on teams, not whole globally iconic and massive companies that have a reputation to maintain and would not possibly see any incremental gain from alleged underhandedness being worth the massive risk if indeed they were doing something underhanded. You are taking Priestley’s assumptions too literally imho, and imho he assumes it was a test like all normal F1 team tests work, not like a unique one-off Pirelli tire test of an emergency nature.

            5. @mazdachris

              Can you just clarify what you mean by “getting the tires right for the rest of the season”?

              Yes. Firstly I don’t see how delaminations are not a safety issue…SV seems to think it is, for example. The only argument I have heard against that is that the delaminations have not caused the tires to go flat, therefore they are ‘safe’. I find that almost disturbing. To me, of course any delamination has the potential of sending a car into who knows what kind of potential accident. It is almost laughable to me to suggest delaminating tires are ‘ok enough’ so at a minimum, even if technically one could get away with arguing the tires don’t go flat when they delaminate, certainly the FIA can point the finger at the safety issue because there is enough meat to that argument to make it fly. Even if for the FIA, F1, Pirelli, and the teams, the greater concern is the crappy 4 stoppers and delta time running that has fans turned off.

              Pirelli said, and I believe them completely and they are dead right, that they cannot change the tires drastically from the data they gave the teams last September, because that would really screw the teams up, and really penalize the ones who have indeed done a better job building their cars around September’s data. Pirelli simply needs to tweak them enough to get away from delaminations, 4 stoppers, and delta running, and I predict only the delaminations, and most of the potential 4 stoppers will go away but I don’t think the tires will have been changed enough to stop completely the delta running, unfortunately, but I understand that just goes hand in hand with not throwing the teams too much of a curve ball from the data they were provided in September.

              I believe the teams will unanimously support the revised tires because of course they don’t want delaminations, but of course they also don’t want to be so limited from pushing the potential of their cars with delta time running that has nothing to do with the Formula 1 that they and all of us know we all need and want.

              The exceptional test was Pirelli’s one essential shot at getting the tires right, and using the test 90% for next year shows their intention of being in F1, intention of continuity, and is a heck of a lot better than if they had made this test 100% about current tires or tweaked tires for this season which would have made it look moreso than it has on the face of it like Mercedes was advantaged.

            6. I think that in that comment @robbie, it seems you are actually buying what these big companies put out for PR about being responsible and open.

              In reality all of them have to get every edge they can over the competition. You only have to look at all the scandals that keep coming out in just about every area of society where a system is found to have been defunct enough to encourage bad behaviour, or was unable to spot, or unable to stop if spotted such behaviour by their people. That is because it is about winning, and as long as you are winning, your company lets you get away with a lot.

              No where am I saying that Mercedes did test new bits, or that they were actually running the test. But its pretty clear that no team would be willing to do this test without gaining anything, because the risk was just too big for that.

            7. Yes I am buying it, because even though I am not naive enough to believe everything I hear or read, and I get the winning attitude thing you are speaking to, on this I am absolutely convinced the massive risk to two globally massive companies would far far outweigh a small incremental advantage that one underhanded test would provide.

              You’re not completely off base to suggest that ‘no team would be willing to do this test without gaining anything, because the risk was just too big for that’…unless it is as I believe, and as Pirelli and Mercedes have said, that the FIA gave them the green flag, asked them to help (as did Pirelli with emails going back to last year), and therefore assured them that they would NOT be at risk. Certainly NR’s wording yesterday would indicate he thought it was just a tire test that had to be done.

              The gain for Mercedes is better tires and better racing for themselves and the rest of the teams, and any other gain will be discovered at the tribunal, and I’m confident no other gain will be discovered.

              Any penalties should go toward Pirelli for not producing viable tires for the entire season but rather tires that have been delaminating and have been too aggressive vs. last year, but since F1 mandated these tires, the teams signed off on them and accepted the data on them last September, nobody knew how bad they were going to be until they raced in anger in the heat, and F1 itself has greatly restricted testing, F1 has to take some ownership in this issue (which is again why I think they asked a team to help and will protect them), and so Pirelli should only receive a slap on the wrist if anything.

            8. And the teams themselves were asking for better tires too, and even though initially Ferrari and Lotus didn’t want that because they perceived they did a better job with their chassis’ than RBR, I still say that they would all like better tires as long as nobody would be advantaged, and let’s face it…Ferrari and Lotus’s perceived advantage over RBR has RBR heading them, so I think everyone will sign off on the tweaked tires. If they don’t want the tweaked tires and don’t sign off on them, the main reason because they think Mercedes has gained advantage, or for example RBR will as the most vocal for change, then I guess we’re in for one terrible F1 season of delaminations, 4 stoppers, and delta running and a massive viewership dropoff imho.

          2. @robbie

            Firstly I don’t see how delaminations are not a safety issue…

            Fine, but I’m afraid your opinion doesn’t seem to match that of the FIA who have been pretty clear on the subject. The tyres can only be changed for safety reasons, unless there is complete and unanimous support from the teams. There isn’t unanimous support from the teams – at least Force India have vetoed the change, and I’ve read elsewhere that Ferrari and Lotus have done so as well. Their argument obviously being that their cars don’t make the tyres fly to pieces, so it’s an issue with the Mercedes car rather than the tyre. Anyway, that’s by the by. The point is, currently there’s no permission to run the revised tyre.

            Force India’s opposition confirmed

            AUTOSPORT understands that it is specifically questioning whether there are actually enough safety grounds for there to be a need for changes at all, especially as none of the rear failures have resulted in the tyre deflating.

            Sources with good knowledge of the situation claim that one of the arguments being put forward is that Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery admitted in a recent press release that safety was not being compromised by the tyres.

            “It’s important to point out that these delaminations, which occur when the tread comes off, do not compromise the safety of the tyres,” he was quoted as saying.

            So that’s Pirelli themselves saying that the delaminations are not a safety issue. So it’s very possible that these tyres which you’re claiming needed 100km of urgent emergency testing, because the current ones are so unsafe, may actually never be raced. So if Pirelli don’t think they’re unsafe, it wouldn’t make sense to justify calling an extraordinary tyre test on the grounds of safety. Of course, the teams who want the changes (the ones who have been suffering high tyre degredation) are now saying it is a safety issue, are obviously only now doing so because that’s the only grounds on which they’ll get changes made to the tyres which they believe will improve their competitive position.

            You’ll note there that I say 100km of testing, because it has been said several times now that 90% of the testing was on 2014 tyres. So again, your claim that this test was necessary on the gorunds of safety simply does not hold true – there are no urgent safety issues to address with the 2014 tyres; Pirelli just wanted to test next year’s tyres on a car which wasn’t two years out of date. Which is fine, except for the fact that it’s banned!

            1. Ok that’s some interesting stuff. I thought Mercedes weren’t the only one’s to have a delamination (I think it was LH), in fact I thought a Force India or some other team did too, but anyway…

              I think that is a compelling point you make about the assertion by Force India that anyone who experiences a delamination has to blame their chassis/car design not the tire, ie. the tires are fine, but I would think there would still be some shades of grey there because it is pretty unique, to my thinking, that a team could design a car that would do that to the tires, ie. that there wouldn’t be some sort of range of performance built into the tires to account for what must amount to a pretty minimal variation in design of chassis given the strictness of the rules, and that more than one team’s chassis has ’caused’ a tire delamination.

              I’m a little confused by a few things you’ve said…

              The point is, currently there’s no permission to run the revised tyre.

              They just ran the revised tires in Montreal in P1 once the track dried up, and are to be using them for the whole weekend starting in Britain.

              So that’s Pirelli themselves saying that the delaminations are not a safety issue. So it’s very possible that these tyres which you’re claiming needed 100km of urgent emergency testing, because the current ones are so unsafe, may actually never be raced.

              Why won’t they be raced? If they are ‘safe’ ie. it’s not a safety issue, and not everyone has signed off on them being revised (even though they have tried some revised tires this morning in Montreal), does that not imply that we will still be seeing delaminations on occasion?

              Or…if the tires which ‘I’m claiming needed 100km of urgent emergency testing, because the current ones are so unsafe, may actually never be raced’ then does not that absolve Mercedes of the accusations that they will have gained an advantage? They won’t be on tires that Pirelli tested with them back in May.

              Also, the teams aren’t just NOW saying it is a safety issue, they have been for several weeks, but I take your point that SV particularly came across as ‘grasping at that straw’ back before Monaco, but then if they have been trying revised tires this morning, haven’t the teams that wanted change gotten what they wanted? Isn’t it now just a question of how on the up and up (or not) the Pirelli test was?

              But anyway, perhaps you have presented a case here that safety cannot be used as a defence for an emergency test, and I may end up wrong with my assertion that one thing the FIA can do is say it was in the name of safety which would have been hard to argue against, but I remain steadfast that the tribunal will find that there was cause in Pirelli’s eyes which they convinced FIA of, and that there was no data sharing toward Mercedes, and that in fact if Pirelli has a clause in their contract that they can test, then that test requires cars, and there must be some sort of provision in the fine print that we are unaware of that circumvents the ban on in-season testing, otherwise how would the clause have gotten in there, why would Pirelli have even bothered to email the teams last year asking them to comply to the possibility of helping them with a tire test, and why would they, once again, risk everything, along with Mercedes, for so little gain?

            2. I think that is a compelling point you make about the assertion by Force India that anyone who experiences a delamination has to blame their chassis/car design not the tire, ie. the tires are fine, but I would think there would still be some shades of grey there because it is pretty unique, to my thinking, that a team could design a car that would do that to the tires, ie. that there wouldn’t be some sort of range of performance built into the tires to account for what must amount to a pretty minimal variation in design of chassis given the strictness of the rules, and that more than one team’s chassis has ’caused’ a tire delamination.

              If you have a look on the BBC sport site, there’s a great blog post on there by Gary Anderson (former Jordan F1 designer) about ply-steer and how that caused huge blistering on Goodyear tyres back in the day. I’m not suggesting that this is exactly what’s happening here, but what it does illustrate is how you can get a certain interaction between a car’s suspension and geometry setup, and the tyres bolted onto the car. If you think about it, just the fact that some cars are naturally harder on their tyres tha others should tell you that not all of the cars use the tyres in the same way. In fact, it’s what has defined the championship for the past two years, so I don’t think it’s reasonable to say that there’s no variation in suspension or geometry. Especially now where you have exhaust gasses firing directly at the rear tyres, and brake ducts which are increasingly loading downforce directly onto the rear uprights, and straight onto the rear tyres. It’s pretty telling that it’s specifically the rear tyres that are causing so many problems.

              They just ran the revised tires in Montreal in P1 once the track dried up, and are to be using them for the whole weekend starting in Britain.

              If you’ll remember, Pirelli actually said that the tyres would be ready to race from Canada onwards. What’s happened is that all the teams who are having no major problems with the rear tyres, have vetoed the introduction of the new tyres. Pirelli have brought the revised rear tyres to Canada for teams to use in free practice, in the hope that it will convince teams that the new tyres won’t upset the running order, and lead to them unanimously agreeing to change them. Which, frankly, I can’t see them happening. If you’re Lotus, then having one of your nearest competitors struggling with tyres which occasionally fail and put them out of the race is brilliant news for you, so you’re not likely to give that advantage up, are you. Pirelli hope that the situation will be resolved by GB, but there’s no guarantee that this will be the case.

              Why won’t they be raced? If they are ‘safe’ ie. it’s not a safety issue, and not everyone has signed off on them being revised (even though they have tried some revised tires this morning in Montreal), does that not imply that we will still be seeing delaminations on occasion?

              Yes, potentially it would mean that there will be more delaminations. Although bear in mind, as I say, that there are teams on the grid who aren’t having those problems, so it isn’t impossible that Mercedes and co will work out how to stop this from happening. Bear in mind that Paul Hembery has maintained from the start that these delaminations have only occured as a result of damage to the tyre, so if he’s to be believed then even without the delaminations, in each case it would have meant a puncture anyway. Obviously Pirelli have a big interest in stopping this from happening – punctures are something we tend to just accept in F1, whereas a tyre surface failure looks horrendous and makes Pirelli look very bad indeed.

              if the tires which ‘I’m claiming needed 100km of urgent emergency testing, because the current ones are so unsafe, may actually never be raced’ then does not that absolve Mercedes of the accusations that they will have gained an advantage? They won’t be on tires that Pirelli tested with them back in May

              Yes, very possibly, but the question of advantage is a bit of a moot one. The first thing to ascertain is whether Mercedes are in breach of Article 22, the details of which we’ve already covered ad-nauseum. But to clarify – the question of whether the test was a ‘test’ according to the definition of Article 22. If it wasn’t, then no questions about advantages need to be answered. Ok, other teams will feel that they did get an advantage, but as long as they’ve not broken the rules then it’s al fair isn’t it. I mean, that’s F1 all over. But if they did break the rules, then the question of relative advantage may have some bearing on the severity of any punishment levied against Mercedes. Even still, the overwhelming question, and one which other teams are asking, was what kind of advantage Mercedes will have got from getting a sneak preview of their 2014 tyres. That question may need to be answered regardless, and may form part o the decision as to whether or not the test was able to maintain sporting equality.

              perhaps you have presented a case here that safety cannot be used as a defence for an emergency test, and I may end up wrong with my assertion that one thing the FIA can do is say it was in the name of safety which would have been hard to argue against

              I don’t think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that safety will be one of the primary reasons whereby Pirelli could call an exceptional test. No doubt at all, in fact it’s probably the biggest reason. The question however was whether or not this test in particular could be justified on the grounds of safety. All I’m saying is that I find that hard to accept, since firstly they did comparatively limited running on a development tyre designed to address an issue which Pirelli themselves have been at some pains to convince us definitely isn’t a safety concern, combined with extensive running on a prototype tyre which won’t be run by all teams until October and so can’t, by any reasonably justification, be considered a potential safety concern.

              why would Pirelli have even bothered to email the teams last year asking them to comply to the possibility of helping them with a tire test, and why would they, once again, risk everything, along with Mercedes, for so little gain?

              I’m not sure that anyone is suggesting that Pirelli and Mercedes went ahead with a test which they knew they couldn’t justify and was in breach of the rules. As you say, that would be practically suicidal on both their parts. So I think we have to assume that they believed that what they were doing could be justified in front of the FIA. Now, whether this justification relies on a ‘clever’ reading or the rules, or some kind of agreement to which we are not a party, we don’t know. We haven’t been told. We’ve been told by them that they had permission from the FIA, but the FIA appear to dispute this. That’s all we know at this point. We can reasonably assume though, that there isn’t a direct communication between the FIA and the other two parties where they give absolute and unequivocal permission for this test to go ahead. Because if they did, then it would have been cleared up while the protest was still with the Stewards at Monaco. They coudn’t ascertain that what Mercedes and Pirelli did was ok according to the rules or any other agreement besides, hence why it has been referred on. There is then at least enough confusion about it for us to know that this isn’t an open and shut case by any means. It will likely be one for the lawyers to argue over the exact legal interpretation of phrases like “undertaken by”. Neither me nor you can possibly hope to work out at this point what the outcome will be.

            3. Fair enough @mazdachris you make some good points and it’s a great discussion. Just got back to the computer and now I’m watching today’s practice on the PVR. And lol they’re talking about tires…big shock. They’re just reiterating a lot of the points we’ve been talking about. What constitutes ‘safe’ when the tires have been delaminating but not puncturing…Teams who are doing better on these tires than others don’t want to be punished for that with changed tires…Brawn has been forthcoming about the test and seems relaxed and confident they did nothing wrong in the test. etc etc. And I see there’s an article here about Brawn making the decision. Haven’t read it yet but I’ll assume he means the decision for the team, lol, not the decision to approach Pirelli to do a test which is a whole other kettle of fish. They were just saying the tribunal will take place within the next few weeks.

              I’ll just make the point that I fully concur that if there was something underhanded to be found out I am fully on board with everyone that thinks heads should roll, but I will be massively disappointed at that type of behaviour…way more than I was with spygate, crashgate, liegate as those were incidents that involved rogue individuals, not massive corporations, which is very much how I have been looking at this.

              I have not been this defensive of M and P because I think I know more, but because I refuse to believe there would be this level of what I would consider to be massive cheating, and I honestly would really have to re-evaluate my 35 year tenure of being a fan of and watching F1, and I really don’t want to have to give it up. I have been quite frankly shocked at the number of people that have immediately jumped to the conclusion that there MUST be lying and cheating and underhandedness going on and it makes me wonder why they watch if they think F1 is THAT corrupt, all the while knowing that F1 does not have a squeaky clean record in this regard, and yet all the while feeling like these kinds of accusations take it to a massively different level for me and I find it virtually impossible that this was underhanded. I HAVE to know that while teams are capable of bending the rules, looking for loopholes etc etc…all the stuff we’ve lived with throughout the years, that two entities like Mercedes and Pirelli MUST have the integrity they are claiming they have. So particularly if Pirelli intentionally helped Mercedes advance in any kind of sneaky underhanded way, I might be done.

              But I don’t get the vibe from NR, Brawn, the commentators at this practice session, the drivers who have commented etc, that ‘Pirelli helped Mercedes advance their cause in this year’s Championship, but that at most Mercedes may have gained some advantage strictly from having car time, and I remain confident that since this was a Pirelli tire test of no data sharing, and I remain confident Mercedes was not trying new parts or anything like that, Mercedes ‘advantage’ would be of quite minor significance, a nominal amount of the type that any team would glean strictly from car time with no data sharing and no new parts and umpteen sensors attached.

    6. I’m going to say it.

      We’re all surprised Rosberg is the one doing all the talking and not Hamilton.

      1. Traverse (@)
        7th June 2013, 0:39

        Hamilton’s got more sense.

        1. Legend_Gordon
          7th June 2013, 2:20

          cough cough LH learned his lesson from the McLaren Spygate incident with Ferrari back in 2007, plus all the other times with McLaren 2007-2012 ….he’s growing up. :)

      2. The Blade Runner (@)
        7th June 2013, 9:03

        Roscoe’s going in on his behalf I believe! ;)

    7. Has anyone asked if they used totally different engines to the 8 they have for the 2013 season?
      Surely they wouldn’t put all that mileage on the engines they need for this year??

      1. @ivz No they definitely wouldn’t. They’ll have used some other engines.

        1. which would make it more costly for mercedes surely? so they obviously “invested” in the test, an investment that would no doubt pay for itself with the future results as a result of the test. there must be logistic issues here also, having to fly new engines in (maybe they even tested 2014 engines – has that been asked?)

    8. Dear Hamilton, my apologize, I thought you were the one with a big mouth.

      So far Nico has said to Vettel that they tested, during the GPDA drivers meating and now this.

      1. So far Nico has said to Vettel that they tested, during the GPDA drivers meating.

        @celeste Really? I thought that was just a rumor, well I guess they won’t be friends anymore, next thing you know Nico will also take his dog to the races, they’re the only real friends in F1!!!

        1. @mantresx Well Nico Rosberg and Vettel never have been close, contrymen yes, friends no.

          @bascb well that will made more sense

      2. Yes, not only have Mercedes denied that version (not a big surprise really), reality is, that it was Charlie Whiting (he was tipped off by a supplier of the teams – I am a bit curious who it was) who informed the 3 directors of the GDPA, that is, Pedro dl Rosa, Seb Vettel and Jenson Button @celeste.

        As most sources mentioning that are from German press, it seems they could have gotten that directly from people at RBR and maybe even got confirmation of it from Mercedes.

      3. last week the rumour was that Hamilton was the one that opened his mouth, and in some f1 forums everyone was slagging hamilton for being the dumbest driver in f1 for opening his mouth about the test when no one in f1 outside mercedes knew about it. this week the rumour is now rosberg. either way the test was definitely secret, as no one in f1, including possibly the FIA seemed to have known about it until the monaco gp when one of the mercedes drivers apparently let it be known about the test. it was interesting hearing hamilton saying the test was “fun” which showed to me the drivers did not care if it was illegal or not, probably because they assumed the team had sorted the legalities, which it seems they did not.

    9. Mercedes-AMG PR has released a reaction to Nico’s comments:

      “Nico did clarify his comments, that he was only given generic info on the tyres. So in that sense he knew. but nothing more.”

      1. Thank you for that. Nothing else would make any sense to me.

      2. @journeyer Can you post a link please, been to the page and twitter nothing there… and even so is more like damage limitation… I believe Rosberg did knew…


          This isn’t the link you are asking for but read it anyway where Brawn speaks of not knowing what tires they were on and that they were coded in batches and Merecedes has not been given the results of the test

          1. Please, Rosberg let the rabbit scape…

            All this is more proof that Mercedes and Pirelli were doing something wrong, the lies, the contradictions, the secrets…

            I hope the IT set a date fast and the punishement is fitting to the crime

            1. More proof? There isn’t ANY proof.

            2. @robbie They made the test with out telling the other teams, even when FIA told them to do so

              They hired extra security so nobody could take pictures of the test

              They used they drivers even when FIA ordered test has to carried by Pirelli

              They did it with the racing team and 2013 car

              Pirelli said they didn´t tell them what tyres they tested, now Nico said they were told…

            3. @robbie and if FIA is sending them to the IT is because it also thinks thats there is enought proof

            4. @celeste if they actually thought that there was enough to go on to punish Merc GP they would have done so already. They wouldn’t be taking time to argue this in IT, if there was enough proof, the FIA would have passed punishment. Also photos were taken of the test, thus someone was around (probably spies from another team) and they sat on the info only to bring it to light on the eve of the Monaco GP to help gain the maximum publicity. Also unless you can show what regulation dictates the fine details of what person, car year and time frame they are suppose to do this, I’m sure we’d all like to see it. Also Merc GP didn’t have to tell anyone the test was going on, that is Pirelli’s job.

            5. @magillagorilla

              The International Tribunal was set up after Flavio Briatore took the FIA to court and demonstrated that legal process hadn’t been followed when handing out his personal exclusion after the whole crashgate saga. The whole point of it is to ensure that when looking at these kind of exceptional cases, they’re assessed purely from a legal standpoint, so as to guarantee that any punishment handed out is not going to fall apart in the face of a robust legal defence. Obviously it’s not going to be used in small breaches of the regulations, but in major situations like this which will require a comprehensive and legal reading of all of the relavent contracts, communications, and rules, that’s exactly what it’s for. If the FIA didn’t think there was a case to answer, then it wouldn’t be passed to the tribunal (as it wasn’t with Ferrari). But even if they’re absolutely 100% convinced that Mercedes and Pirelli have done something wrong, it would still need to be subject to this kind of independent legal scrutiny.

            6. @magillagorilla

              “Also unless you can show what regulation dictates the fine details of what person, car year and time frame they are suppose to do this, I’m sure we’d all like to see it.”

              Since the story broke, there has been a steady stream of articles on all of the major motorsport sites which describe how Mercedes allegedly violated the sporting regulations with the Pirelli test. The proof you are looking for isn’t hard to find.

          2. @magillagorilla But it wasn´t the normal level of security. Here is an article in how hard it was to take pictures of this test.

            And SPORT BILD, don´t know much about the media, has discover from Mercedes Mechanic that enve them were told they were allowed the tract to film, only after the camaras never turn out they started to get suspiscious

            And since the IT is new in the FIA bet Totd wants to use it.

          1. thank you… still PR damage limitation IMHO

    10. “We had nothing to do with the test was completely a Pirelli test ..”

      If that were true then Pirelli would have had their own test driver(s) conducting it, not you and Hamilton. You can’t say “We had nothing to do with the test” when you are the ones doing the test!

      1. Disagree of course. Has any tire maker ever had it’s own test drivers? And how would they, struggling around in a strange car at many seconds per lap slower than the ones racing in anger, provide relevant tire wear information?

        Obviously the point is NR and LH were the ones driving the cars, Pirelli engineers were the ones doing the test, gathering the data, making the changes to sort out what was what in terms of the direction to go, providing generic info so that the drivers could provide basic info about oversteer, understeer, balance, grip level etc…

        Please answer my question then, if you are so convinced something underhanded went on. What did Pirelli have to gain by risking their reputation, probably their tenure in F1, and Mercedes reputation, by allegedly helping advantage Mercedes?

        1. @robbie then what Jaime Alguersuari and Luca di Grassi are…

          1. I don’t know. Are they Pirelli test drivers?

            1. @robbie Yes, they are

              Jaime Alguersuari and Lucas di Grassi are set to remain as Pirelli’s main Formula 1 test drivers for 2013.

            2. Didn’t know that. I would suggest it is as Pirelli and NR has stated, that there would be no point in putting these two drivers in a car they’ve never been in, to lap way slower than the primary drivers, which would not give Pirelli the data they needed, otherwise Pirelli would have happily used them to help avoid any controversy. Obviously it was crucial, and worth the controversy, to use NR and LH.

              Can you answer my question which nobody else has? What would Pirelli have to gain by helping advantage Mercedes for their Championship run? I suggest they would only stand to lose bigtime, so there must have been very viable reasons they did this test with Mercedes that have nothing to do with advantaging them.

              I note that even the rival drivers have not said ‘Pirelli will have helped Mercedes to advantages.’ The strongest accusation they have made is that car time may have helped them. I refute that because it was not an opportunity for Mercedes to try different things with their car, it was a Pirelli tire test and only different tires were being tested and Merc wouldn’t know how to relate coded information on batches of tires to how their car was performing on the track.

            3. I don’t know @robbie, you tell me: If you were a big tyre manufacturer and were given the opportunity to ingratiate yourself with one of the largest car producers worldwide (with whom you have a long and large commercial relationship), would you do it?

            4. Just to make it clear, I am not saying that this was their motivation -who knows, perhaps nobody else was readily available to run this test with them.

              But this is all beside the point – whatever the reason why Mercedez was the one chosen to do the test, the fact is that the test took place – nobody disputes that. The rules don’t say that it is only forbidden when then team gains an advantage nor when they have complete knowledge of what the other party is doing nor whether the motivation for their choosing is clear: you just can’t do it.

            5. Well, I don’t know @antifia, if you want to get cosy with one car manufacturer who is big, but hardly one of the biggest, and in doing so greatly upset a couple of others who are amongst the bigger companies as well, is that really a good idea (Renault/Nissan is solid on volume, and FIAT is big when you take their American interests into it)?
              Remember that Mercedes is very big not as much for their car sales, but more for their Truck sales. And I am not aware that Pirelli actually makes truck tyres for the market.

              Not to mention that most car manufacturers do not actually even want to have a single tyre supplier (and being dependent on them). Instead they have a mix they use for most of their cars.

            6. But @BasCB, it still beats cattering for a drinks company ;)

        2. no, pirelli wern’t trying to help merc in any special fashion. but merc took it’s own steps to help itself. they could have used their test driver like ferrari did last year.

          no one else is asking the question, because it’s a stupid question. pirelli has nothing to gain by helping merc. stop asking it.

          I note that even the rival drivers have not said ‘Pirelli will have helped Mercedes to advantages.’

          what? everyone is saying that, that’s the whole point, everyone thinks that the test would have helped merc, but no one is accusing pirelli of doing it specifically to help merc, merc was the only one to take up the test, and then it went downhill from there.

          on the driver topic, yes pirelli have two test drivers under contract AND their own f1 cars bought from lotus and the likes. pirelli even bought the HRT f1 cars when HRT left f1, only as a promo item though, not good enough for testing.

          1. No…the other team drivers who have spoken on this have said the drivers would have benefitted from car time. That’s not the same as Pirelli helping them to make it not just a tire test but an opportunity for Mercedes to try new components on the car etc etc, so to me means that the car time benefit would be negligible. It was strictly a tire test run by Pirelli.

            As to primary vs. test drivers…again, Pirelli and Mercedes point on that, and I wholeheartedly agree, is that using drivers unfamiliar with the car, lapping way slower than NR and LH have been doing, would not give Pirelli the data they needed….obviously, or else they would have used other drivers and not risked the controversy.

    11. People are focusing on the new 2013 tyres and the 2014 possible spec, and forgetting about the 1000km of aero mapping aero testing, mechanical parts etc. In the end the tyre thing is the icing on top of the cake although Rosberg admitted to have an idea about the compounds, I hardly believe they’ll gain from the knowledge of tyres that probably won’t ever run again.

      1. But if mercedes weren’t able to change things on the car or determine how/what exactly they were running (for needed correlation with other stuff), nor able to export any data (remember the Pirelli Atlas software w. disabled export function), then only ‘time in car’ remains @peartree; Unlikely they did not gain a thing, but not so clear it was huge. Let’s hope tribunal works to clear that up.

        1. it matters not if they gained an advantage, that could or could not have happened, what matters is they broke the rules and went testing. what so any team can go testing and get away with it if they dont gain an advantage? the rules state no in-season tests, mercedes are guilty.

    12. Legend_Gordon
      7th June 2013, 2:27

      Let me clear, the issue on the tires is moot point, the emphasis was the fact Pirelli had allowed to run a current f1 championship spec 2013 that was unsupervised by FIA stewards and none of the other teams knew about it.

      You can’t **** in my pocket and tell me raining, as may have been born in day just not yesterday.
      Merc and Pirelli both have to made an example of or teams in the future will break the rules. Hell the next thing you’ll see is Ferrari reverse engineering tires and becoming a new tire sponsor called “prancing horse” cause they can spend the money.

      Then again in the “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough” —Mark Grace

    13. Oh wow what the hell Mercedes. Lewis and Nico should have a PR persons boot pressing down on their neck at all times this weekend.

      Canned response: We can’t talk about it due to the upcoming hearing.

    14. This just becomes more and more shadowy by the day, doesn’t it? To me, it sounds like both parties are trying to be economical with the truth to save their own backsides. Ultimately I guess it will come down to who can provide hard evidence to the tribunal as to who said what and when.

      From what I can gather, Mercedes have not been summoned to the tribunal because of the test, but because they used their 2013 car, rather than a 2011 one like Ferrari. Fair enough, they can’t get away with that one and will likely receive a punishment of some sort. How big that punishment is will depend on whether the FIA IT decide that Mercedes have gained an advantage from running the test, and there’s no way they can determine that. There was no FIA representative present who could monitor what they were doing and Mercedes aren’t likely to hand over any data they accrued. Unless they have proof that they did no testing on any aero parts/set up, in which case they have no case to answer regarding a perceived unfair advantage.

      Pirelli are going to have to prove there was no unfair advantage given to Mercedes. This proof will probably need to include either a) that these were 2014 tyres and Mercedes definitely were not told what the compounds were (although they could probably guess by comparing laptimes on each batch of tyre?) or b) there was an agreement with Mercedes that they would run the updated 2013 tyres but must not change any set up or evaluate any data. Then they’ve got the questions regarding the legality of the test itself. Clearly, no other teams were asked to take part, people were barred from entering the circuit (or even standing outside it!) and the FIA will want to know why they did not have a representative present.

      From what I can see, things look worse for Pirelli than Mercedes, providing Mercedes can prove that they did not gain a competitive advantage.

      1. If the drivers knew which tyres they were testing on then they definitely have an advantage. Potentially a really big one too. No other team has any idea at this point what the 2014 tyres are going to be like, so this knowledge gained by the drivers will be massively important when it comes to developing their 2014 car. Other teams won’t get to have a go on these tyres until the end of the season, by which point they’ll be well into the development phase of their new cars. Pirelli have given Mercedes a huge advantage in terms of the development direction they can take. Even if no telemetry is on a computer for them to analyse, the drivers themselves will have gotten a real understanding of how these prototype tyres behave, and since its their feedback which is informing the way the tyres will be tweaked, they even have some idea how the tyres will be changed between now and the point where the construction and compounds are finalised. This is why they’ll have used their race drivers – because if they know what tyres they’re testing, then the advantage they get from this could potentially be enormous. Not for this season, but definitely for next season.

        1. No other team has any idea at this point what the 2014 tyres are going to be like, so this knowledge gained by the drivers will be massively important when it comes to developing their 2014 car

          – that might actually help Pirelli then @mazdachris, because IF Mercedes get away with providing car and drivers here, I am sure they will now have the teams suddenly pushing to get on to testing as well (doing much to water down the testing restrictions that were agreed in doing so).

          I mean, if Pirelli had had trouble getting a current car (and by the face of it only Mercedes was bold/stupid/cheeky/… enough to do so to this extent) the FIA clearing Mercedes for it, and teams like McLaren, RBR, Lotus, FI, Williams signing up to do one, would certainly help getting good mileage on their 2014 concept tyres

          1. @BasCB
            Oh, it would certainly open the floodgates, as has been alluded to a few times by other teams since this whole saga emerged.

            The question I keep wondering about is, if we are to believe that claim that Pirelli had contacted other teams and been told no, why those teams refused to help. As has been pointed out, it’s almost impossible not to learn anything when you drive an F1 car, so what is their reason for being standoffish about it? I think it comes down to one of two things – either they didn’t see any personal advantage to doing the test (after all, who would commit their current race cars and half the team to running a test for literally zero benefit?), or they didn’t feel that there was actually any justification for running a test when it was against the rules to do it.

            What we don’t know, and won’t ever know thanks to the obligatory nondisclosure agreements, is exactly what it says in Pirelli’s contract, and how it relates to the sporting regulations. We do know that they have a clause which allows 1000km of testing with each team, but the clause will have to have all sorts of conditions attached which we can only guess at. So it may be that the clause itself lays out clearly why this test was ok, or maybe it doesn’t. I think this, really, is going to be the deciding factor. And that’s one for the lawyers to fight over.

            But yeah, going back to my original point, the whole situation is a stupid one. It seems ludicrous that teams are currently developing their 2014 cars with no knowledge of what the tyres are going to be like (actually, we don’t even know who is going to be supplying them at this point, but that’s another story!), while simultaneously the tyre supplier is developing tyres which they’re not actually allowed to bolt onto a representative car and drive around a race track. That means that building a car which works with the tyres is going to be a case of pot luck – of successfully guessing what the tyres are going to be like. That’s why I can totally sympathise with the likes of Red Bull, who have invested hundreds of millions into developing a car, only to find that the tyres don’t work for it. Something they couldn’t have known until well after the car has been built. Only to be told that others have done a better job. A better job of guessing what the tyres will be like. It’s ridiculous, and hardly befitting for the pinnacle of motorsports to be reduced to little more than a guessing game. So yeah, hopefully all these shenanigans will cause the likes of Williams to have a bit of a word with themselves and stop vetoing the return of testing, because it’s absolutely necessary, even if it is expensive. Yes, unlimited testing is bad for the sport, but to simply ban all testing is a move too far in the opposite direction. What we’re seeing is simply the inevitable consequence of that short sighted decision.

            Still, none of the above would excuse anyone from complying with the rules. While the ban remains in place it must be adhered to, unless there is very specific permission given for them to do it. Again, the entire case hinges on whether or not that permission was given, regardless any advantage which may or may not have been gained, or how sensible it would be to reintroduce testing.

            1. I think many refused because neither have they got something like Ferrari’s customer car team to do such a test, nor do they have a test team available, nor do they want to put the money in to get one @mazdachris.

              And its unlikely anyone else came up with running this years car, it would have been a bit of trouble to go through to learn nothing all that great (Ferrari having both the team, and the need to get Pedro dl Rosa more acquainted with their cars would have seen the use of doing it with the 2011 car, and it could well be that there was a test planned with Mclaren or someone)

            2. @BasCB Well indeed. F1 teams are known for possessing many qualities, but altruism certainly isn’t one of them. To put it bluntly, no team will do something if there’s no personal benefit to them doing it. An F1 team certainly doesn’t authorise the use of its two star drivers, plus a car worth hundreds of millions which is currently competing in the World Championship just on the promise that they’ll be looked after. If Mercedes agreed to the test, it’s because they felt there was something in it for them. They simply wouldn’t have done it otherwise; just as none of the other teams consulted were prepared to do. I don’t find it difficult to imagine Ross Brown working out how he can turn the situation to his advantage, and that there may have been any amount of negotiation as to exactly what data would be shared, and so on. Because the test was conducted behind closed doors, and without an independent third party ensuring that sporting equality, then it’s not hard to smell a rat. Especially when you see so many conflicting statements about the nature of the information exchanged, and the conditions surrounding the permission which was given for the test to go ahead (if any).

              It’s all extremely murky and I think it’ll be a while before we find out whether or not it’ll be judged that Mercedes and/or Pirelli did anything wrong.

              If they didn’t do anything wrong, and we understand that it was to their benefit, then I’d expect, as you say, every other team to come knocking on Pirelli’s door, asking for their 1000km’s worth of private testing..

            3. @mazdachris, yes I agree with you on why the team (any team would if they had a good idea they could pull it off) would do this test and get the most out of it.
              Its a very solid case to put in front of the tribunal if one wants it to prove its creditability.

            4. @bascb actually RBR has a exhibition team, is the one that manage the test drives of RB sportman and exhibitions around the world

      2. ” How big that punishment is will depend on whether the FIA IT decide that Mercedes have gained an advantage from running the test, and there’s no way they can determine that.”
        that should not be the issue at all, the issue is “that they tested inseason” the issue of advantage can not be gaged, many teams test and go backwords, while others go way, way forward, but neither can be proven, what can be proven is that they broke the sporting code.

    15. I don’t really know what to think tbh, because I don’t know the facts of the discussions between Mercedes and the FIA, before the test took place… which is why I’m a little surprised that 99% of commenters on here have clearly made up their minds and Mercedes are just massive cheats.

      I find it incredibly hard to believe that Ross Brawn, Toto Wolff etc would have been stupid enough to have carried out such a test if they didn’t legitimately think it was OK to do so. I mean, it’d just be bonkers to go ahead with it if there was even the slightest uncertainty.

      It’s interesting that Pirelli have said they emailed all teams last year about the test and received almost no response, save for Merc of course. Christian Horner’s gleeful criticism is particularly hard to swallow given that he has even acknowledged receipt of the email – to then say, “we weren’t asked” is just ridiculous. RBR can hardly profess to be the most honest of teams when it comes to pushing the boundaries either ;-)

      Here are a couple of links to what I think are probably the most balanced comments I’ve read on the matter, though I do put my hands up to being a Merc fan, so maybe I’m just looking for the right result for them, but in all honesty, it makes for interesting reading and may just sway some of you the other way. I’m not familiar with the author of the second article and I’m aware Pitpass has been referred to as ‘Spitpass’ before, so I have no idea how informed/respectable/reliable the articles are, they just seem to make more sense than the vast majority of articles that simple scream Mercedes are cheats and should be banned forever from every sport, pay a quadrillion $ fine and be publically flogged.

      1. Well @bad_whippet, I think that second article you linked to is certainly worthwhile to read for everyone who is firmly convinced that Mercedes and Pirelli are defenitely going to get punished, and are wondering why its taking so long.

        However, even when its more neutral than that first article, it almost reads like it could be taken of of Mercedes’s defence team! Yes, it does a nice job of showing why Ross / Mercedes could have gone along with the test (giving them the faith that it was OK, as @robbie and @prisoner-monkeys have mentioned its unlikely Mercedes would provide the cars if not), as they saw enough grey (instead of a black no go) to interpret it as off white.
        It also carefully explains why the case is brought against Mercedes as a competitor.

        But I would refrain from feeling secure that the Tribunal will go along with these arguments, precisely because we simply do not know what was discussed with whom to which extent. From what I saw on German Bild, its possible that part of the communication (mentioned by Lauda) was not much more than a telephone call with Charlie Whiting, lets see how that pans out.

        The first link posted by you reminded me all too much of why that website is often called Bernie’s press office. It cries foul but does the same itself. And it also hints that indeed, Bernie might well have known about, and been in on, that test.

        1. Agreed @bascb, the second ‘legal’ article could well have been written by Mercedes’ own lawyers!

          And yes, Mike Lawrence’s post (the first one) doesn’t exactly sound completely neutral, hence my comment about not really knowing how informed/respectable/reliable the site/author was.

          But yeah, I definitely agree that ‘feeling secure’ in either post would be foolish just yet.

      2. The thing is, Mercedes have so much money, that they can risk taking illegal testing, and hoping to get away with it, because if they don’t they will finish 5th in the championship with one of the highest priced drivers = bad result. they take the risk and hope their political position (and money) in the f1 world will help them get away with it. they have also seen that mclarens fine in 2008 did little to damage mclaren, so they have little to lose. so if Merc get fined now, it is little inconvenience considering how rich they are, and they will get publicity (all publicity is good publicity, especially in modern F1, where controversy is traditional!) As for Ross Brawn, Toto Wolf… well to me it seems Toto Wolf is destined for Brawn’s job. the blame for this fiasco can be put on Brawn (who has already given dubious claims/evidence about the test), so this is an easy way to have Brawn removed from his position and put Wolf in his place. Toto seems more a sportsman to me anyway, i have never had respect for Brawn, in his Ferrari days he was a jerk, he manipulated the tyre rules late in 2003 so schumacher could win another championship, and in the same year he showed he was most disrespectful to the rest of the drivers in f1 teams besides his driver(schumacher), when he claimed Juan Montoya was unclassy because he dared to pass (successfully) Michael Schumacher at Nurberg. Brawn then used “money” to start a successful f1 team that was actually built by Honda in 2009. as the season went along, other teams caught up to the “Brawn” team, as brawn failed to develop the Honda car. in 2010 to 2012 Brawn continued the 2009 trend that he can not improve a team as the year goes along, in each case it started strong and went backwards. 2013 seems his last chance, and the tyre wear suggests again failure, so Brawn took this illegal testing gamble – the result of this gamble is soon to be found out, not only for the sport and the fans, but for Ross Brawn and Toto Wolf lining up his position.

    16. I heard Ferrari had been involved in testing as well. Were they not one of the teams to protest to the FIA

    17. Mercedes have had a nightmare.

      One thing I still don’t understand though. Were the FiA properly consulted (whatever that means) about the test and if so, why did they let it go ahead? I’m also referring to the Ferrari test here, of which the FiA didn’t know anything about either until their ‘investigations’ – although I presume Ferrari just thought well, 2011 car, all should be ok (EBD, etc…).

      As a Hamilton fan, I don’t really want to see Mercedes punished, but at the same time this decision to run the test with a 2013 spec car without getting an absolute OK from the FiA is absolutely unforgivable, and they probably deserve any punishment they get.

      1. Yes, a 2011 car does not fall under the FIA/F1 testing regulations anymore and can be freely used for on-track testing without any restrictions. It doesn’t matter which date, which track or which driver – they don’t need to inform anyone else about the test, not the FIA and not any other F1 team.

        Doing a tire test with/for the manufacturer of said tires without anyone knowing about it is really strange however. There are several guidelines Pirelli normally uses for their tire tests and that includes informing all teams and the FIA about it, as well as allowing each team an observer at the track. Neither of which happened for the Ferrari or Mercedes tests!

        1. I think it was obvious for all to see that this year’s tires have been problematic and need tweaking. I believe the FIA was properly consulted and were likely even anxious to get F1 back on the right track to get away from delaminations, 4 stoppers, and delta ‘racing’. I believe teams were informed that at some point they may be called on to do a tire test as per a clause in Pirelli’s contract. I believe this had to be done quickly and an attempt to get concensus from the teams beyond the emails Pirelli had sent out would have meant a convoluted mess that would have prevented the essential test from happening. I believe FIA and Pirelli agreed this test had to be done swiftly, that there was enough grounds to do it based on the problematic tires, the clause in the contract, and in the name of safety, and that it was far better to use a team that is not sitting as a top 3 team for that would have potentially been way more explosive. I believe Pirelli and Mercedes have enough integrity that they would not be trying something underhanded even though on the face of it it looks like they did. Again, I believe it just had to get done when it did and how it did. I believe Pirelli would have absolutely nothing to gain from trying to advantage any one team, in this case Mercedes, and I believe they would only lose massively if they did try to. I believe Mercedes has enough integrity that they acknowledged, with the FIA’s permission ie. there was an essential need, that this test was essential so that all the teams collectively can get away from the type of racing, if you want to call it that, that the season has brought us so far. I believe ultimately all the teams are going to end up grateful to be on better tires for the rest of the season and that they will all benefit equally.

          1. @robbie If the FiA were properly consulted as you believe then why the need for the tribunal?

            1. Because imho there is enough concern about the test by the teams, not to mention the formal protest from a couple of teams (RBR and Lotus I think?) that the tribunal will be held to get all the answers to all the questions and clear up any concerns. Not unlike if two drivers clash and the stewards ask each one after the race and one says he blocked me and the other says I feel terrible and I just didn’t see him and I certainly didn’t do it on purpose, they take that into account as to whether an intentional action was taken or it was a racing incident.

              I’m assuming by the nature of your question that to you ‘tribunal’ must mean someone is guilty of something, I may be wrong on that and maybe you don’t jump to that conclusion but many others have, and I believe that the tribunal is to show that justice is being looked after, that concerns are being taken into account and not sloughed off, and to get everyone together to tell their side of the story and then a resolution will be achieved either to the effect that someone needs to be penalized and by how much, or nobody does.

          2. @robbie It’s nice to believe the best of everyone and I can admire that about you. I can also agree with you on the fact, that Pirelli would gain nothing from doing super-secret illegal tests with a single team (if only for the reason, that it could generate bad publicity once it became public, because such things always will).

            On the other hand, I have to say, that you’re doing a bad job of trying to justify how the Pirelli/Mercedes tire test in Barcelona came about and went off. We all know, that Pirelli has explained its own rules, which it follows for every test they undertake. By that I mean, that Pirelli announces each of their scheduled tests far enough in advance and allows one member of every team to be present at the track as an observer.

            I got the impression, that these rules are entirely voluntary in the interest of transparency, so the abandonment of them does not automatically mean, that they did an illegal test. Was it underhanded, however? Yes!

            If Pirelli needed an immediate test due to a technical or safety issue, I would expect all teams to be informed about that. They’re, after all, the guys who have to rely on Pirelli’s tires and trust them, so not informing them would be counter-productive. Furthermore, the test can’t have filled an immediate need, since Mercedes allegedly tested only the 2014 compounds anyway.

            One has to wonder about the whys of it all. For exactly that reason, I am convinced, that ordering Pirelli’s actions to be decided on by the tribunal is the right decision!

            Now about Mercedes, that’s a whole other story. We don’t know all of the relevant facts and probably won’t have access to all relevant information until after the decision of the tribunal has been made public. That said, what we DO know so far are bits and pieces, that could make life rather difficult for the German team.

            One question that will undoubtedly need to be asked is about the permission they allegedly gained from the FIA.

            What if the sporting regulations are deemed more important and supplier contracts only play a subordinate role to the sport? I’d kind of expect that to be the case, because no external company should have even the possibility to alter the balance in the sport in this way and have that right guaranteed to them due to a good job from some corporate lawyers.

            Or does this mean, that Pirelli’s contract overrules Formula 1’s sporting regulations, which would not have allowed that test? If that’s the case, then everything might be fine, aside from the big black eye due to bad publicity.

            Even worse would be another scenario: what if the FIA allowed that test without their previously stated conditions, thereby granting an exception to the current test rules without informing any of the other teams about it? The FIA said in 2012, that for such a test to be possible, all teams must be asked and must have a chance to accept. Well, we know for certain, that a number of teams were not asked about testing after the Barcelona weekend. Not a single team, aside from apparently Mercedes, was apparently aware, that testing with their current car could be possible. Do you think Ferrari or Red Bull wouldn’t have taken that golden chance, if they were aware of it?

            No, for me it comes down to this: Mercedes took part in a Pirelli tire test with their current car. Without any firm knowledge against it – and we only know that the FIA apparently allowed it, which doesn’t bear fact in their press releases since – this would make their participation illegal.

            That MUST be solved, no matter if Mercedes are actually guilty or not!

    18. Everyone says Mercs are lying. I believed them as far as i understand the facts. If they were lying, what don’t they simply lie about the car year. Nobody was there to see but Pirelly and Mercs, and nobody would say anything! It would be a closed case as for Ferrari, isn’t it?
      Honestly, I do think there was a big misunderstanding between Pirelly, Mercedes and the FIA. The FIA is part of the equation, and it is possible they have done a mistake…

    19. Mercedes will be found guilty of cheating and Ross Brawn will be the scapegoat now that Paddy Lowe is there

    20. I for one am very happy all this is coming out. I have always thought that Pirelli has made tyres to favor teams. Now it has been proven that indeed they do tests with some teams. Will this favor Mercedes? I have no doubt in my mind. Ferrari must´ve learnt as well but not in the same amount Mercedes did with their car.
      It sucks because I wanted to believe that F1 is still a sport but that has gone out the window for me. Now it´s all about who dishes out the most money and it seems Mercdes is hell bent on making it to the top no matter what. Anonymous helmets, Pirelli lying, Mercedes Lying, etc… If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then… heck…. it must be a duck!
      Anybody that thinks differently about this must be naive. :/

      1. @karter22 if you are implying the tyres are tailored in the sense that the Bridgestones were to Ferrari in the early 2000’s then I could not disagree more. Pirelli values it’s sporting integrity so as much as they may have performed this what is looking to be an illegal test I strongly disagree with the notion that they’d manufacture their tyres to suit one car.

        The whole sport would go into disarray if that were the case as they are the single tyre supplier and not to mention would severely damage Pirelli’s brand identity.

        They can only lose if they did that.

    Comments are closed.