Pirelli wants solution to testing with “obsolete” cars

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In the round-up: Pirelli warn they must be given access to modern F1 machinery for tyre testing.

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It’s the Le Mans 24 Hours today (and tomorrow) so join us for F1 Fanatic Live from 1:45pm (UK time). We will of course be running into tomorrow and after the conclusion of the race F1 Fanatic Live will return for the IndyCar Iow Indy 250 from 7:30pm on Sunday evening in the UK.


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Pirelli: F1 must learn lessons (Sky)

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery: “Of course it doesn’t take away our need to be able to test in representative conditions with representative cars. We’re still running round in obsolete, almost museum pieces, trying to do our job so there’s still a lot of work to be done to allow us to do what we call representative testing going forward.”

Pirelli may take FIA to court (The Telegraph)

“Senior figures at Pirelli are understood to be furious after they were hauled before the International Tribunal. The Italian manufacturer’s lawyer, Dominique Dumas, was adamant on Thursday that there were no legal grounds for them being in Paris at all given the terms of their contract with the governing body.”

Eric Boullier on the British Grand Prix (Lotus)

“We’re certainly not going to let two weekends of poor results stop us in our efforts. We have a very reasonable package to fit to the E21 for Silverstone – with a number of elements which should help with our performance – and we have plenty of other upgrades to come later in the season too.”

F1 With Added Energy (Red Bull)

“Oddly – though perhaps understandable given the level of interest – Renault took the opportunity today to also demonstrate what the engine will sound like with a simulated lap of the Marina Bay circuit in Singapore. As the engine manufacturers have insisted all along, it sounded distinctively like an F1 engine and not, as the naysayers had suggested, like a lawnmower.”

The changing face of McLaren F1 car liveries (McLaren)

“McLaren had never held true to the concept of adhering to a singular racing livery. When McLaren made its Formula 1 debut at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, its Ford V8-propelled M2B was famously painted white with a green central stripe.”

Why Le Mans beats Formula One (The Telegraph)

“F1’s are so stifling that the key skills are in exploiting the loopholes and having a good legal department. Le Mans’ rules, on the other hand, are also prescriptive, but enticingly loose. So you won’t break them just by being different. All F1’s recent innovations have been to improve the spectacle (and largely for TV, not for the faithful in the bleachers). KERS, DFS [sic], tyres with the life of a butterfly and ‘pit stop strategy’ all add interest, but diminish the purity of what still bills itself as the pinnacle of the sport.”




This rather cheesy image is of the all-electric Nissan ZEOD RC which the Japanese manufacturer will race at Le Mans next year in the Garage 56 category for experimental cars.

See more pictures of the machine which clearly owes a considerable debt to the (Nissan-powered) 2011 DeltaWing racer here:

Comment of the day

Manule thinks “good faith” wasn’t a good reason for the International Tribunal to go easy on Mercedes:

I find this so called ‘punishment’ no punishment at all.

First of all, let’s cast off all this “in good faith” nonsense. Mercedes perfectly knew what they were doing, i.e. breaching the Sporting Code, hence they (and not Pirelli) made all possible efforts for this test to remain secret.

The whole purpose of a punishment is not to cancel benefit gained by a perpetrator, it is to ensure that this will not happen again, and to give an object lesson to those who are considering doing the same crime. From this point of view, it is a grave mistake to let the Mercedes escape scot-free.

What the International Tribunal is projecting with this verdict is that it is easily bullied, because it is all too obvious that this decision was made with the fear of Mercedes walking away in mind.

Banned from the ‘Young Guns Test’? As many have said before, any team would swap it for a 1000km sole test with both racing drivers and cars. […]

The FIA International Tribunal made a complete joke of themselves, they should have either acquitted Merc from all charges, or deal a proper punishment for breaking the Sporting Code, no matter in what faith. What they did is neither here nor there, and it sends very bad signals on many levels.

The winner of last week’s Caption Competition will appear in tomorrow’s round-up so you still have time to suggest a caption:

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Domprez!

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

The last French Grand Prix was held five years ago today and won by Felipe Massa after his Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen’s exhaust broke during the race.

Images © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Nissan

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...

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72 comments on “Pirelli wants solution to testing with “obsolete” cars”

  1. The solution Pirelli seeks is simple. Invite every single team to the same test at an impartial location (ie. Ferrari’s test tracks don’t count, because it is essentially free for them to attend), and with a reasonable advance notice — then supply the same tires to every team on the same terms.

    Anything else is inappropriate.

    1. Obviously don’t understand the concept of testing. Remove all unnecessary variables, i.e. use only one type of car/test.

      1. Wrong. Is that the *cheapest* way Pirelli can test? Yes. Is it the fairest and best way they can test? No. They are quite capable of testing with all teams, and in fact would gain better data by so doing, because that data wouldn’t be specific to just one chassis. It would just cost them more money, and they won’t do that unless forced.

    2. @gweilo888 – That’s not the problem here. Pirelli are developing tyres with cars that are two years out of date, and the cars have changed radically in that time. The result is that the tyres perform one way in development and another way during the races. Pirelli could fix the problem if they had full-time access to a current chassis that they could use independently of the teams (the way they do their current testing chassis), but the teams refuse because if they release a chassis to Pirelli, they lose control over its engineering secrets, which could be used by another team.

      Arguably, the secret test in Barcelona was the teams’ own creation. They demand change, then refuse to give Pirelli the tools they need to make it happen, and complain loudly when Pirelli give them tyres that they don’t like because of it. So as far as I’m concerned, Pirelli don’t owe the teams anything.

      1. That’s supposed to be @gweilo8888

      2. @prisoner-monkeys Sorry, but that is the problem. The teams don’t want to test with a current car — all barring Mercedes anyway — because they cannot legally do so under the rules. Announce a test session which all teams can attend, and most would jump at the opportunity. (Only those too poor to afford it might complain.) The FIA would not stand in the way of such a test, because the overwhelming majority of the teams all agreed on it.

        Pirelli doesn’t want a test like that, though, because it’s more expensive. Plain and simple.

        1. @gweilo8888 – Pirelli doesn’t want a test like that because they’re not holding these tests to benefit the teams. They never were. The Barcelona test was to gather data for Pirelli to use to develop their 2014 tyres.

  2. Can Pirelli go away of F1? I promise the next set of tyres that I´ll buy will be Pirelli if they just go away…

    1. You’ll have to make a pitstop three blocks away from your house LOL

      1. mmmmm good point… maybe buy them and turn them in to a swingset?

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          22nd June 2013, 1:10

          F1 Cars could probably run with fewer pitstops if they plugged the tyres used as barriers in the tracks (I guess they are old Bridgestones or Good-years)

          1. sounds like a lot of work, but maybe worthit. And them the Pirellis will have a good use as safety walls…

          2. This whole conversation is silly….

            If Pirelli wanted to, they could quite easily produce a quick tyre that would last the whole race. But that’s not we asked for is it?

          3. I don´t remember asking for anything ;)

          4. @celeste

            We, as in community, as in viewers.

            … So what you are saying is…. When we had the bridgestones, and cars were only pitting because the rules stated they had to, you were happier?

            Maybe Pirrelli have gone too far, and I suspect that’s the general consensus at the moment, but you’re using F1’s problems, and I say F1 because it was the sport that dictated Pirrelli to create tyres that would wear quickly, to make unfair attacks on the company. Which in reality, might have very durable road tyres. I don’t know, I doubt you do either.

            But I don’t like people making such flippant jokes because Pirrelli is surely working very hard to deliver what the F1 community asked for. Next year they have already said that they are going to have to bring much more durable tyres. I’m sure you have read this, so why is it necessary to keep digging in your claws when you already know that what you are asking for now, more durable tyres, is coming?

          5. @mike Personaly I didn´t notice back in the day… And if Pirelli can´t stand the jokes may aswell go away…

          6. @mike And I do not longer believe in their integrity after this Mercedes thin, so I don´t mind if they are gonna build the tyres in cement I don´t want them to be in F1 and that´s my personal and unchangeable opinion.

            And BTW animals are the only ones that have claws…

          7. F1 Cars could probably run with fewer pitstops if …

            Yes, they could be run with fewer pit stops, in fact they probably could run the entire race without any pit stops, the tyre degredation is part of the contract the tyre supplier has to agree to.
            As I understand it, the reason for pit stops is they are a means to change the order of the cars in the race. One of the problems the 107% rule creates is it insists that all cars more or less have exactly the same lap time, which, by default, means there is also little variation in speed, which means overtaking is more difficult so there is less of it, which means you have lots of cars racing around a circuit without much change in the order, especially at the front, which equates to a boring race = no one wants to watch it.
            Now that everyone has jumped on Pirelli and Mercedes for doing this test with modern equipment, the out come of it will no team, especially a front runner like Red Bull, will want to do any testing with Pirelli because of the mud slinging that goes on.
            One possible way to fix this problem is to require the podium drivers and cars to be available for say 2 hours on the day after the race, or for 2 hours prior to the start of the first practice session for the next race, for testing tyres and other thing that benefits the racing like radios, telemetry, checking video cameras, etc.
            After all, earlier this year there was a problem with the F1 Live Timing, and presumably a modern car had to be used to fix this, and no one made a big fuss about that, even though a team could have benefited from that (for example, does placing the aerial on one side of the car give you better sector times than if it is in the centre of the car?), and a car has to be provided for testing the car radios worked all around the track (and again, maybe the testing team could have benefited from this knowledge). The list of “but they COULD have benefited from doing this test” items that need to be tested is probably very long, and the best cars to do these tests are the ones that were on the podium.

    2. Pirelli is a supplier of tires, nothing more. They supply what they have been asked to supply. In this case – less durable tire. Any complaints and grievences should be directed at people who asked for more ‘exciting’ tires, more pit stops etc. Stop making the scape goat of Pirelli.

      1. No, they haven’t. In a nutshell, they were asked for “tyres for a two-stop race” rather than the one stop mandated by the rules. They have failed miserably:
        a) the vast majority of laps are to “target times”, so…
        b) drivers can only occasionally push to the limit, lap after lap.
        c) we see far too many three of four stop races.
        d) the temperature window is far too narrow.
        e) the tyre treads have delaminated, so…
        f) the very recent tyre-gate scandal, which…
        g) has led to one team bending the rules, and…
        h) the FIA legal department demonstrating flagrant creativity with the rule book.
        To claim that this is what the “community” wanted to see as a “good TV show” is ludicrous.

    3. Easy promise to make. You’ll only have to drive on them for two hours, and then you can put whatever tires you want back on the car. ;-)

  3. Honestly, the FIA should be happy if they’re taken to court by Pirelli. It means that, despite the heaps of criticism the company got for doing what the FIA asked them to, they STILL want to supply tyres.

    If that’s isn’t love (or at least, commitment), I don’t know what is.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      22nd June 2013, 0:40

      It’s a signed contract and a lot of money

      1. hehehehehe

      2. Have they signed a new contract? Weren’t Pirelli complaining time was running short to be able prepare for next year?
        With these events and Pirelli’s reaction, I them to increase the threats of walking away.

        1. no, they do not have a tyre supply contract for next year (yet)

      3. Having a lot of comments on your product as a tyre supplier isn’t good PR, though. I’m not just talking about the disgruntled F1 fans who have stated never to buy Pirelli again, but also people who might remember Pirelli caused a controversy in F1.

        PR is a pretty costly business as well.

  4. Is it too simplistic to suggest that Alan Henry’s article on the McLaren website is a way of slowly introducing fans to the fact that McLaren aren’t going to be silver-and-red as they’ve been for the past 10-ish years?

    1. that’s right sir

      1. good, mclaren livery is boring nowadays

  5. That new NISMO Deltawing sequel is class!

  6. I think they just couldn’t punish mercedes (hard).
    The wording of undertaken by will hold up in court if you ask me.

    I don’t know if they gained more info from this test than the young drivers test.
    Here you can do programs you want, add parts and know which tires you are running…

  7. @keithcollantine I think the headline is misleading, I think you were after something to capture the below paragraph.

    When I saw the headline “Pirelli wants solution to testing with “obsolete” cars”, my original reaction was how Pirelli are missing the point of why F1 testing bans were originally brought about, as running old equipment would be unnecessarily expensive for F1 teams.

    “Of course it doesn’t take away our need to be able to test in representative conditions with representative cars. We’re still running round in obsolete, almost museum pieces, trying to do our job so there’s still a lot of work to be done to allow us to do what we call representative testing going forward.”

    1. I think you just misunderstood. I thought the meaning was fairly clear- that paragraph is perfectly summarised by the headline.

  8. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    22nd June 2013, 2:51

    Why not Pirelli makes a “raffle” and offers the test to the other teams in the remaining races? They still have enough number of races to attend every team…
    It’s illegal, but you just lose your Young Drivers Test for doing so

    1. And the one that runs after Brasil?

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        22nd June 2013, 14:23

        @celeste do you know when the young test drivers are? because Mercedes advantage can be also for WHEN it was done. If the other tests are on the final part of the championship, or even after Brazil, I don’t see where the punishment is…

        1. @omarr-pepper I think Young Drivers is the week after Silverstone

        2. As @celeste mentions, the YDT is in 2 weeks time, meaning that the “punishment” for Mercedes will take place within the shortest notice after the Tribunal as possible really @omarr-pepper

    2. @omarr-pepper you seem to be missing a crucial point. Even the FIA’s lawyer thought that it would be a Pirelly testing, which would make it legal. That’s why Mercedes had good grounds to think that they had found a loophole and all was legit.

      However, now the tribunal ruled that Mercedes and FIA’s legal head honcho were wrong, so the other teams know it too and cannot claim good faith. Ergo, their punishment would be rather more severe.

  9. The problem I have with Pirelli now, is that we asked for tyres that degrade to allow for a strategy. We did NOT ask for tyres that degrade even when drivers tip toe around the circuit. Why can’t they just manufacture a tyre that can go for 15-20 qualifying laps with a gradual drop off each lap? That way drivers can actually defend.

    Now when a drivers tyres die, he then has no defense against attacking cars. Then add DRS on top of it.

    Is there some way through this site we can have a poll or something shown to the FIA.

    1. @sg2-unit Pirelli suggest that happens because these tyres were not developed for/with a top 2013 car, but with a somewhat modified 2010 car and speculation on how new cars behave. And their solution is to test in-season with current cars to develop for next year(s).

      1. Don’t forget this works both ways. Not only were the tyres developed based on an educated guess about the nature of the cars, the cars themselves were developed based on a guess about what the tyres would be like. Hence this claim about the likes of Lotus and co doing the “best job” of developing the car being nonsense. They’ve been lucky that their guess about the tyres was better than anyone else’s.

        And it’ll be the same next year. Except for Mercedes of course, who have had a sneak preview of 2014 tyres..

        I do wonder whether the request to develop high deg tyres is a contractual thing. If not, perhaps Pirelli should just put their money where their mouth is and turn up with ‘Bridgestone style’ tyres for 2014 that let a driver push for the entire race and do just one stop two laps before the end..

        1. Lucky? you don’t need to be lucky to run your car softer on the tyre. however, doing so sacrifise aero and pace of the car. Running softer suspension compromised your aero, hence lesser downforce overall. Engineers do not design car by getting lucky.

          The only teams that got the balance right are Ferrari and Rbr.

        2. I think you’re insulting Lotus right now. Everyone made they assumptions about the tires based on informations they had. Lotus’ thought process was simply more correct than for instance Red Bulls’. If you call that a “guess” than all science and invention is based on guesses. You don’t need to have a physical tire and lots of experimenting with it to conceive a reasonable care design which will function well with certain idea of tires.

    2. Why can’t they just manufacture a tyre that can go for 15-20 qualifying laps with a gradual drop off each lap?

      Because they’re limited in what they can physically do with the tyres. And they don’t want tyres that are too similar to the ones they used last year.

  10. How about having the teams at the back of the grid supply the cars and drivers, with some sort of cost subsidisation arrangement in place. Only the bottom three teams from last years championship participate on a rotational basis.

    They’ll get some valuable testing time, and give young drivers some time in the car.
    Pirelli gets a current spec car (albeit not a competitive one) to get data from.

    And hopefully, maybe if the tyres were developed using cars with less downforce will force the top teams to design their cars with less aggressive aero.

    1. very good idea . if this results in either marussia or caterham being given an undue advantage then let them be so . they are still going to finish 1 minute behind the leader

      1. Except teams such as Williams and Sauber would not exactly agree…

    2. Didn’t Pirelli buy last seasons HRT car, and then get rid of it on ebay, because it was not considered to be representative of current F1 cars.

    3. That would sentence one of the teams to drop out of F1, since last place doesnt get the prize anymore. Giving an advantage to either Caterham or Marussia would be just as bad.

  11. Completely disagree with the COTD, it’s all speculation:

    1. Can you look into Ross Brawn’s head, to be sure he didn’t act in good faith? The tribunal thought he did.
    2. How do you know the tribunal’s verdict was out of fear of Mercedes pulling out?
    3. The YDT is more valuable for car development that the Pirelli test. Yes, it’s a huge advantage to run the racing drivers, but it was an advantage for Pirelli since they got the most accurate data. Mercedes were not trying things out with setup or new components and would learn very little, regardless of who was driving.

    In my opinion, Mercedes did the test to help Pirelli, and therefore F1, under the impression that the FIA would OK such a test. Even IF they were hoping to gain an advantage in the process, they weren’t trying to cheat here, and therefore shouldn’t be punished harshly, in my opinion.

    1. @adrianmore
      1. If Brawn acted in good faith, why was the test held in secret? Why not made public? Why no invitations to press or even fans interested?
      2. Nobody knows for sure. But that’s a weapon big teams have always used to influence. Mercedes is also an engine supplier let’s not forget.
      3. How do you know that no new parts were tried on? Encrypted emails exachange, secret test, all obscure whatever it was declared in front of the FIA tribunal.

      IMO Mercedes has tested 1.000 Kms with current car specs and drivers. Punishment should be 1.000 Kms taken off the next FP1s. The only one punished yesterday was the Merc young driver.

      1. @chemakal 1000km for doing a test that even if in their 2011 car would have still been a 1000km… It is quiet easy to see why they went for the YDT, because if they did test new parts or any thing else developmental (which can’t be proven) they can’t further in the year. Thus a YDT that allows for development not previously available prior in the year is gone, due to the chance that they already did development for the current car. Also MGP have a road map of what they are expecting from the sport it would have been a financial mess to pull out over this spectacle. Also if you believe that Merc GP tested new parts, you must in turn believe that Ferrari also may have done the same thing as well. A 2011 spec car is not that far off a 2012 or 2013, RBR has demonstrated that.

        Why would it be public held, what use is the public being their, Ferrari didn’t invite people either and much more Ferrari paid for the test set up. Also not too many test are open for the fans, and some allow the press but most do testing first then when set, do test after initial development. Look at the 2014 LMP1 Porsche, it is in the development phase but we know it is built their are spy shot pictures yet when they are ready they’ll show the press what they have been up to. Same goes for MGP and Ferrari tests, but they most likely don’t see the point in telling the press about a boring “tire test”. Either way the test wasn’t secret, the Carbon helmets were for security purpose to hide the drivers from public eyes that could clearly hear and take notice that something post-race was going on days later. Don’t you think people are likely to be more interested if they can tell it is Lewis and Nico driving, or if it seems like random test drivers?

        So in the end you can’t speculate all you can say is MGP used current drivers (so did Ferrari) and a 2013 spec car which is against the rules, and we now know even if Charlie and the FIA said go ahead, the rules still stand.

    2. Totally agree.

      And did the secret test by Ferrari, (not Pirelli) last year, which apparently did more than the allowed 1000 km, enable Massa to improve his performance. If so should Ferrari/Massa be punished?

    3. It is always interesting to read fellow fans’ comments – especially gut reactions to events and circumstances.

      Now as COTD, as much as some of us might disagree with it – it appears to be representative of the majority in the poll that Keith administered on the controversy (too soft v too harsh).

  12. Atanu (@ilovevettel)
    22nd June 2013, 8:08

    One dumb question regarding engine allocation…..

    If a team is out of allocated number of engines, who pays for the extra engine? Is it the team or is it the engine supplier?

    1. Actually thinking about the question, it isn’t so dumb after all given the variables involved.

      1. DFS? Seems to be working sofa.

    2. Gee! I wonder how much Mercedes paid for the extra engine?

  13. I seem to recall Pirelli previously lobbying for teams to let them use newer chassis, but the teams refused because they didn’t want details of some of their engineering solutions out of their control.

  14. Le Mans’ rules, on the other hand, are also prescriptive, but enticingly loose. So you won’t break them just by being different.

    Ironically, all of the Le Mans Prototypes look identical.

    1. I think that article does a poor job in general. He states pit stops were ‘added’ to F1 for excitement, but pit stops in Le Mans are good, basically saying it’s better because there are more rules in place for pit stops. It’s basically a big repeat of one line: ‘F1 isn’t relevant, but Le Mans is’ without ever going beyond the emotional responses to both.

      Not to mention the dripping cynicism which would suit satire, but if this is the author’s best case at convincing readers, the people who love F1 and are underexposed to Le Mans are not going to watch Le Mans, and the people who don’t watch F1 will go ‘yeah, tell ’em, mate’.

      The FIA is planning more than 20 Grands Prix for 2014, but they’re still only planning one Le Mans. The good news is that it only takes one.

      Seems like the rest of the WEC isn’t relevant as well, then.

  15. See more pictures of the machine which clearly owes a considerable debt to the (Nissan-powered) 2011 DeltaWing racer here:

    Wasn’t the actual racing-spec Deltawing from 2012?

    1. @matt90 Yes you are correct the car was a 2012.

  16. DFS? That’s been working quite well sofa.

  17. I think if Pirelli are pushing for the testing, testing is very expensive, why not have the last team in the standards (Currently Marussia) as the dedicated test team for a season which Pirelli would pay the testing for.

    It would help the smaller teams, give a current car for testing and make the back field more interesting!

    There would need to be a cap, but it would make it more exciting in my opinion!

    1. But I don’t think this will go down well coz if the bottom teams are pretty close in performance and only the bottom team is allowed to test, this would give that bottom team a free kick so to speak coz that test would allow them to further develop their car and in theory would result in them leapfrogging that next worst team. Imagine how Caterham would feel should Marrusia be afforded the opportunity to test and then leapfrogged them as a result…

  18. I’m sick of this, each team should choose their tyre manufacturer.
    Pirelli and Mercedes should stick together…

  19. Today I ran into what Ferrari thinks of the verdict. I must say that the Horse Whisperer is back to his best ranting self. He sounds more like a Ferrari Fanboy than the worst of them that I have ever seen here.

    Seriously, Ferrari complaining about a team getting off lightly after clearly braking the rules? They must have forgot about the last previous instance when a team was investigated for that before this testing thing (Hockenheim 2010 ring a bell?).

    I could understand Red Bull saying this (they have actually been far more philosophical about it, good job), but its a bit rich coming from Ferrari who tested in 2 secret confidential test sessions for Pirelli themselves as well, where no one really knows the details of what advantage could have been gained really.

  20. Why LeMans beats F1? It’s only once a year? Ignorant article, that jornalist has no idea or whatsoever about LeMans, that said the Audi made sure they wouldn’t win by too much….

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