Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2016

Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes will get “enormous advantage” from Pirelli testing

2017 F1 season

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The three teams who will conduct Pirelli’s tyre testing for 2017 stand to gain an “enormous advantage” unless the rules are changed, according to Williams’ chief technical officer Pat Symonds.

Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes will begin testing prototype versions of the radically different 2017 tyres for Pirelli next month.

However Symonds pointed out the three teams stand to gain an advantage because of the rules, introduced this year, which allow teams to select how many sets of each tyre they want for each race.

Jenson Button, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2016
Hungaroring practice in pictures
During today’s FIA press conference Symonds said it is a “very good rule, it has done quite a lot to spice up the racing and bring a little bit of randomness into some strategies” but “it really does fall down next year.”

“Because we have to make those tyres choices before Christmas, before we’ve even run a car with the tyres, and indeed I think by the time we’ve done our testing we’ll have chosen, supposedly, tyres for the first six races.”

“Now that hands an enormous advantage, in my opinion, to the teams that have done the testing. Even if it’s blind testing, even if we’re getting that data, you won’t pick up all the nuances that the test teams have had.”

Symonds suggested altering the rule for at least the opening races of next season to help keep the playing field level.

“Perhaps for a year or for the first half of the season, something like that, we suspend the right of the teams to make that tyre choice so that we all move together, we don’t hand that advantage to Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes.”

“Because we would have loved to have been involved in that testing. We got quite a long way down the path of designingthe car for it but we simply just couldn’t afford to do a test like that and these costs just keep on adding up all the time.”

Ferrari’s engineering director Jock Clear said he would support a change in the rules.

“Pat is absolutely right, there will be nuances that you will get out of it by being there at the time,” he said. “he drivers involved will get a feel for it. So there’s an advantage there.”

“And certainly for all of us I think we’re well aware than making decisions for what tyres we’re going to be racing at the beginning of next year when even we have had very little touch on them is very difficult to do. So Pat’s very correct in what he says, that probably needs to be looked at.”

“We certainly don’t, and we never envisaged, our involvement with the Pirelli testing as an opportunity to steal a yard on everybody else and as such we’d be quite happy to go along with that if some way were found to even out that possible advantage early-season.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 14 comments on “Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes will get “enormous advantage” from Pirelli testing”

    1. Who runs the bussiness? money! Don’t have it? tough luck… that’s the F1 way.

      Why try to find a fair way if we can simply give the most powerful teams in the grid an advantage that the others will never, ever, recover?

      1. Agree completely. Mercedes in particular should not be given this test as they blatantly cheated in 2013 by conducting an illegal tyre test to get over their tyre woes. And I really don’t see how teams like Mclaren and Williams have been left out of this test. They should have had every right to participate if they had the funds to show up their and run their cars. This ‘cartel’ run by Merc, Ferrari and Red Bull is just getting ridiculous. But what else would you expect when you have a goon like Bernie running the sport

    2. I bet Jock got clipped round the ear for saying that when he got back to the garage, there’s no way Ferrari are giving up an advantage like that for free.

      1. Well they can say pleasant things in public, fight against changes in the backroom, and then blame it on RB and Merc. There’s my mini- conspiracy theory for the day haha.

      2. I think not @alec-glen. Because Ferrari will certainly fear that Mercedes and Red Bull will get even more out of it then they can themselves!

        1. ^ Ha ha, nice one!

          Ferrari might get as much data as Mercedes and Red Bull out of the tire tests. But I’m sure they’ll botch the interpretation of said data and the subsequent implementation.

    3. I’m not convinced the advantage will be very big, and I don’t know how else they should do this. Perhaps since testing is so limited in general, F1 could help financially for more teams to do the Pirelli test? This is first and foremost about Pirelli getting good data to provide good tires for all. It certainly makes sense to at least have the top teams, who are the ones that can load up the tires the most, helping Pirelli.

      1. I don’t know any figures (even ballpark), but I know for an absolute fact that Pirelli is paying for basically all the expenses incurred by the teams taking part. When the description of what the teams would receive payment for was read to me, I was surprised how generous they were. I’m actually pretty confused why Williams were complaining so much- as it was explained to me, even the costs of modifying the cars to have wider track and produce 2017 levels of downforce were covered. It’s not coming from F1, but clearly Pirelli have decided having a proper test programme is cheaper than having rubbish tyres which give them bad press.

    4. Great. This is one of many things bigger teams will stack in their favour. It seems fairly fair to me.

      Alternative would be Pirelli going blind in to 2017.. I do not want to see races decided by tire blowouts….

    5. they will only have an advantage for the first races, as if they wouldn’t win anyways…

    6. I’m just really excited to see the wide-body SF-15T with chunky tires. It’ll help with the F1 withdrawals in August.

    7. There was an article the other day where Pirelli were saying that they may not physically be in a position to offer teams a free choice for the first 5 or 6 races due to time restraints in the manufacture process.

    8. Not sure testing blind using an old chassis would really make much of an advantage to anyone but surely the FIA & Pirelli between them should have funded the testing and involved all teams.

      Sure they offered it to all teams but at their cost so of course only they big teams are participating. It was always going to raise this sort of contention.

      Or is that what they wanted, more contentious headlines?

    9. Williams should shut up. If they don’t have the money to test shut up. How else can tyre tests occur or is it a case if we cannot do it know one else should.

      I think F1 should be banned because I cannot afford my own team.(Basically what Williams view is about the tyre test)

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