Lewis Hamilton, Pirelli 18 inch tyre test, Imola, 2021

Ferrari take on extra 18-inch tyre test as Mercedes pull out over budget cap concerns

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Mercedes have pulled out of the 18-inch tyre test they were due to participate in next week out of concerns it would have caused them to exceed F1’s new budget cap.

Ferrari will replace them at the two-day wet weather tyre test which will take place at Paul Ricard on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mercedes believe participating in the test would have put them at risk of exceeding a total of 5,000 kilometres of testing using their power units. This is the limit set in the Sporting Regulations, beyond which the costs involved would have counted towards their budget cap limit.

Teams are permitted to spend no more than $145 million, with certain exceptions, under the new financial regulations introduced this year.

Mercedes was also understood to be concerned they would have required an extra crew of mechanics for the test, which would have further added to their costs.

“We are trying to make the budget cap, which is not trivial, and we couldn’t take the costs related to the tyre test and we wouldn’t have been able to send our mechanics on such a long journey,” said Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff in response to a question from RaceFans.

Mercedes suffered a setback this year when Valtteri Bottas’ car was heavily damaged in a collision with George Russell at Imola. Wolff said at the time the costs incurred could compromise their development plan under the new budget cap.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto pointed that out while explaining why his team had taken up the opportunity to conduct the test.

“As Ferrari we always said that 2022 is our priority over 2021 and testing Pirelli tyres, helping Pirelli develop the new tyres, we believe it’s important for us.

“Luckily enough, we didn’t have a crash in Imola so eventually we have some more contingency to Mercedes today. And so we are happy to accept and support.”

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18 comments on “Ferrari take on extra 18-inch tyre test as Mercedes pull out over budget cap concerns”

  1. Atrocious stupidity of poorly thought budget cap show its ugly truth.
    Hope FIA is flexible and will modify and relax the cap in the the coming years.

    P.S. I bet some people will rub their hands with glee upon reading this news.

    1. The budget cap was a necessary measure unless you would have preferred the end of F1. I’m not sure anyone would be rubbing their hands with glee, but I am happy to see Mercedes complying to it after decades of hearing such a thing could never be implemented and policed.

    2. Seems pretty fair to me?
      It’ll be down to how teams want to allocate their money within the cap. Ferrari want to do the test as they think it’s worthwhile, Mercedes have already done one so likely want to save the money that it’d cost by doing another and use it elsewhere.

    3. I actually think that this shows the budget cap is working!

      As @robbie and Anon mention, all of this makes sense and on the contrary it is good that a team like Mercedes has to consider the cost of doing more testing and how that limits other things they can do within the budget. That is exactly what it is supposed to do, a team cannot any longer just spend themselves out of a dip.

    4. Tyre testing on behalf of Pirelli should be separate from the team budget as it is not in the interest of the individual team but as a whole. There is no value to the current car nor next years as its a prototype compound on a mule .

  2. Cant this people reply a question without been spiteful

    1. *being

  3. Should have had the crash during a sprint race. Seems there is plenty of spare cash in F1’s coffers for that repair.

  4. I totally get the budget cap, but Pirelli testing, which is necessary for the greater good of F1, should be a separate thing that doesn’t count towards this. Seems a bit weird to me.

    1. It was ever thus with F1, every time they change something to go in 1 direction they make another change that goes in the opposite direction and they achieve nothing. EG; bigger wheels for more mechanical grip + tyres made of cheese that melt when pushed.

    2. Exactly. I’d have thought the costs for tyre testing, particularly for the 18” rims should be covered by Pirelli and by Liberty not by the teams.

      1. RandomMallard (@)
        20th May 2021, 14:44

        The costs are being covered by the other parties I believe, until you start exceeding 5000km with your power units. Merc took the risk with 4 PU teams to supply, and in this instance, any costs incurred after those 5000km will not be reimbursed.

    3. I’m sort of surprised how it was only with less than a week to go Mercedes decided to cancel their participation in the testing. Maybe it is true that a few days ago the accountants suddenly realised they were heading towards exceeding their budget cap and that Mercedes needed to withdraw from participating in the test, but I would have thought Mercedes knew about this, exceeding the 5000 km limit, and the need to send a crew to the Paul Ricard race track some time ago. Anyway, Ferrari have put up their hand and said they will participate in the event, which was very kind of them. All the teams will benefit from this test. The last thing we and Pirelli want is for tyre failure to affect the outcome of races.

  5. “Luckily enough, we didn’t have a crash in Imola” – A weird dig at Mercedes.

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      20th May 2021, 14:44

      Yh I chuckled at that as well!

  6. Our brave new world

  7. Wasn’t Paul Ricard going to be Grosjean’s test?

  8. Lesson 3 how to become an underdog.
    Poor Mercedes

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