A bit of a kerfuffle over tyre testing

There is a storm in a teacup in Monaco this morning over a tyre test that took place in Barcelona after the Spanish GP, involving Mercedes. The team ran both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton and 1,000km were run as Pirelli tired to do some development work. The team was not aware of what tyres were being used. I understand that Mercedes checked with the FIA before agreeing to the test, and was given the go-ahead as Pirelli’s deal allows for testing but the tyre company does not currently have a suitable chassis and so is allowed to ask teams to help. There will be other tests as well with other teams as the season progresses, but it seems that Red Bull is making a fuss because it was not doing the testing…

It is very clear that Pirelli needs to do development work both for 2013 and 2014 tyres but it does not have a car to use that is sufficiently up-to-date to be useful. The only answer therefore is to use the teams because they cannot ever agree to allow Pirelli to use one chassis or another.

Thus it seems there is less of a story than the gabbling in the paddock suggests.

139 thoughts on “A bit of a kerfuffle over tyre testing

  1. I wondered how long it would be before someone would drag Ferrari into this as a way to justify this test. Congrats Joe on being the first. How come no one discussed the Ferrari test after Bahrain? Hard to believe this could happen with Ferrari without someone catching wind of it.

    1. It seems that no-one did. That is not really a surprise as The F1 world did not stick around in Bahrain…

      1. Sorry but F1 fans from the local GP would no doubt know the sound of a V8 at 18,000 rpm well after the GP weekend had finished. The real question is the test itself and what chassis was used if it was indeed conducted. 2013 chassis like Merc or something a little older?

      2. I’m a bit surprised that neither the Ferrari nor Mercedes tests were noticed immediately given the amount of F1 spying that normally goes on.

        I bet everyone keeps tabs on when the other teams leave the track from now on

  2. Also Joe, do you happen to know what chassis Ferrari used after the Bahrain GP for the Pirelli test if it took place? Would be interested to know if it was a 2013 chassis or one of an older vintage perhaps. I think this is an important piece of info that should be considered before you palm this Barcelona test off as a “storm in a teacup”.

    1. If Pirelli needs a modern car to test, it is logical to assume that they did not use 312Ts.

      1. Modern chassis yes, fully agree. 2013 chassis, totally unfair unless all the teams get to use it. If it was development rubber for 2014 that is one thing but it sounds like 2013 Canadian spec rubber was tested with 2013 Merc chassis. Are you saying that this is not an issue and no advantage would come from this? Think carefully before answering this one Joe; your rep is on the line here.

        1. If the teams do not know what the tyres they are testing I fail to see how they can gain an advantage. Anyway, my rep is not on the line over this silly issue. If you think it is important then fine, go and read other people. as I keep telling people I do this as a service to you lot and do not see why I should be abused for it. If people keep doing it, it is inevitable that I will get fed up wasting my time and not do it any longer. Your choice.

          1. Well, they can always do some aerodynamic test. Maybe you should stop wasting your time pretending to be an F1 journalist. F1 without you won’t be any worse.

            1. Mockingbird,Joe isn’t pretending to be one he is. I don’t know about F1 but I think we would miss him.

          2. They do know now what they were testing as they have been told when and what was tested by paul hembery itself …

          3. Joe, are you suggesting that the team’s telemetry wouldn’t give them an excellent notion of the compound being tested within a lap or two? When tire testing, the teams typically install extra sensors, even IR cameras focused directly on the tire surface.

            I agree that Red Bull’s protest is entirely specious, but it’s equally clear that Mercedes received a tremendous boost from their a 4 race distance test.

            And while completely unprovable, it seems quite likely that Pirelli was giving Red Bull some well deserved payback for both publicly and falsely disparaging their product, and for having used political pressure to effect a compound revision.

            One expects all the teams will now think twice before crossing Pirelli.

          4. It would be a great loss if you dropped this blog. I enjoy your strong views and robust defence of them.

            Is there no way you could charge a fee to read it? Even a modest tenner, would create some useful income.

        2. Why is it unfair? There was an opportunity for Mercedes to do a test and they took it. Are you suggesting that Red Bull wouldn’t? Perhaps they should be a little more on the ball and whine a little less.

          Incidentally, testing is expensive, and budgets are tight.

  3. Oh look, the anti-RBR British ‘journalist’ has another go at RBR for Mercedes getting 1000kms of extra tyre data and 4 weeks of more time to adjust the car to Canada and onwards than the rest of the field.

    This is competition manipulation and anyone who supports this, should go watch American Wrestling.

    1. I tried to email you and point out that you should read the blog rules and learn some manners, but as you do not even have the balls to put a proper email address on your comment I will say it here. Learn some manners and grow a backbone.

    2. Joe loves the sport. Every other team on the grid love the sport.

      Red Bull are the equivalent of CVC. They dont’ care about the sport, they care about their marketing.

      I think given all of the things that COULD be said about Red Bull, Joe is rather polite and professional towards them. Of course that comes as part of being a journo, but still, some journalists are better than others.

      If you can find me another person track side at every race that has the same connections and then blogs news, sometimes exclusive news, FOR FREE, then please let me know.

      I would recommend you read a copy of GP+, then you will see how hard Joe works to bring you this news, just so that you can insult him?

      You need to learn some respect, especially in someone elses house.

      1. A fairly broad generalization about Red Bull. It may be true about RB senior management in Austria, but if you said that about the average Red Bull mechanic or engineer, I think you’d be massively off base. And I doubt Adrian Newey would agree with your premise either.

  4. Joe,

    It seems like Ferrari used their 2010 car. Mercedes used their current (2013) car. That makes it different — and thus is not only a storm in a teacup, in my opinion then.

      1. Well,

        FIA has not been a poster-boy of fairness — like ever, so I am not too exercised about that one.

        What is an issue for me is, that no matter how we spin this, Mercedes has just gotten 3 days of in-season testing. That will taint their results and the season 2013. That is the sad fact.

        Like your work by the way, even if I do not always agree…;-))

    1. It is fine if the FIA says it is fine. End of story. Pirelli has to test tyres. This is a load of hot air coming out of Red Bull. I am told that they were asked if they wanted to do the test and said no. I have not had the chance to verify that.

      1. Even if they don’t know what tyres they are using. Were they allowed to test other things on the car? New aero parts for example? Experiment with different setups… etc etc

        1. If you listened to Ross Brawn and Pirelli, you would have learned that no aero parts were tested in order to make the tests consistent. This is totally a storm in a teacup. As for Christian Horner, he never says anything interesting on TV. Joe – keep blogging despite the rude comments, it is a preview (advertising) for GP+ afterall.

  5. You should check your sources. According to AMuS, Ferrari used the 2010 car. They are very angry right now. And rightfully so.

    1. I should check my sources? Look, it is really very simple. It is irrelevant which cars were used if the FIA says the test is fine.
      It is a storm in a teacup. If you want to read a bunch of hot air, fine, go read it, but I am telling you what I think is important. If you don’t like my opinion, why not ask me for your money back…

      1. Oh c’mon Joe,

        There is a huge difference in using 2010 and 2013 car. You do not report that fact — and you seem to be a little edgy to those pointing this out.

        Reporting ought to be as complete as possible — not editorializing as you wish. We both know this.

      2. I think the point that is being made Joe is that if all tests this year with Pirelli are with teams using their 2013 chassis then this is perhaps palatable if it is transparent. Instead all this is coming out well after the test and to the surprise of the other teams. The FIA is not God, just because they decree something to be just it does not mean that it is.

          1. The sky sometimes is grey… Did you see what i did there Joe. Responded to your post with something completely irrelevant just like you just did. Wonder if you will permit this to be shown on your board or not show it like my other posts which were respectful yet challenged your own view which now the FIA don’t even agree with. Sinking deeper i fear.

            1. With respect, you had all day to sit around writing critical comments, all of which are designed to make you look good, and me look like some kind of idiot. I spent the whole day working flat out… I started at 0545 and I finished at midnight and I tried to find a few minutes to give blog readers an explanation of what was going on. However, although it may be hard for you to understand, there are more important things on earth than you and your views, and I was doing them on Sunday… I am travelling today. If I can get the machinery to work on the TGV I may revisit some of the events and views. If not, c’est la vie! If I charged you then I would have a responsibility to deliver, but I don’t. I do not in any case have time forthe ungrateful

              1. Joe,

                I’m sure most of us do appreciate the superb behind the scenes coverage you have been providing. Keep up the good work. Don’t let a couple of irate visitors put you down.

                1. I won’t, but at the same time, I don’t think people should be allowed to get away with being uncivil or disrespectful and I will continue to call people on that. If they have gussy fits and do not comment again that is fine. It improves the quality of the discussion.

      3. How it is irrelevant which car they use? It is forbidden to do any testing of 2013 cars during the season! It’s actually in the rules, you know.

        1. Do you honestly think the FIA did not check about this stuff before it said it was OK?
          Do you honestly think that Mercedes did not ask the FIA?
          The type of car is irrelevant in this circumstance.

  6. One would assume that all the tyre testing kerfuffle can be avoided by the simple expedient of scheduling a planned series of tyre development tests with all or most of the major F1 players during a year. Then the cool drink sellers can’t snipe at the limo manufacturers and the whisky manufacturers can’t whinge at the Vatican. Though it will temper our enjoyment of the petty hair pulling and face pulling that personifies modern F1 – especially the Red Bull(shit) version of it.

    1. Yes, but as the teams cannot agree on whether it is Monday there is no chance of that. Pirelli needs cars to use in tests but no team will agree to let another one do it, so nothing happens… But nothing cannot happen, so…

    1. I do occasionally stop really obnoxious people but my goal is to be helpful as much as I can. There are times when I think I am idiot and should use my available time for a better purpose, but I believe that F1 should connect more with fans and so I do it. If the fans become so unpleasant that I no longer think it worth it to continue then I will not continue. I will close down the comments and have a quieter life.

      1. Your post has incited much live debate… Surely you get satisfaction from this alone irrespective of how wrong you may be.

        1. Ha ha ha! “your not part of f1” says Mockingbird sitting in his bedroom in his mum’s house, to Joe Saward in Monaco!

      2. Keep up the good work Joe! I’m enjoying your posts from Monaco and the insight you’re giving is brilliant!

      3. It would be a great shame to lose this blog. I can understand your reaction though Joe but you’ll never really be sure how readers are going to react, especially the blinkered fanatics… I must admit that some of the comments and opinions add to the attraction of your blog – your replies too, especially the “angry” ones! 😉

      4. But some people are beyond obnoxious (and beyond help). There seems to have been a spate of them on this blog in the last few days, on this story and on the couple of stories about the Williams/Mercedes deal. If people can’t exercise a little restraint and use a few manners, then why allow them the privilege of posting comments to your blog? I doubt if the rest of us would miss them.

        It would be a shame if a few morons made you stop the rest of us (who are hopefully polite and appreciative) engaging with you on the topic of this sport [sic] we follow.

        It does make me wonder: are these people the same in real life?

        1. I run a small forum for stationary engine enthusiasts, and believe me, Joe has more patience with the posters on here than I have with some of the plonkers we get on the forum.

      5. It probably would do no harm if you did occasionally have comment holidays Joe. The fanbois would go off to the BBC to abuse Andrew Benson then you could open the comments up again. Anyway…

        Red Bull whining I think. I suspect they knew about the Ferrari test also when all the mechanics up and down the pitlane were furiously tearing down their installations for shipping and the Ferrari guys were sitting around. I think it would be hilarious if it proves to be true Red Bull were offered the test and declined. Anyway, I have no idea why Christian is whining so much as one of his boys, correction, Vettel, is likely to win the race this afternoon (at time of writing) as the Mercedes go backwards.

      6. Joe please continue and ignore the idiots. I saw this ‘storm’ on ceefax and immediately came on here to find your views on it. Thanks for posting them in the middle of, what I suspect, is one of the most demanding GPs of the year for journalists.

        1. Some of the teams are probably going to make a fuss after the race, but if the FIA said it is OK then it is OK. I don’t think anyone is stupid to go to court on this. As there is no Concorde Agreement there is some doubt about sorting out such disputes. McLaren’s view is that it is not perfect but there is no point in complaining because the FIA said yes.

      7. Kudos for trying to be as open to people commenting as possible Joe. I am amazed at people critisizing you for mentioning what you did here. As for some “assuming”, “reporting” and saying that “apparently” someone used a 2010 car or not, and then going on to critisize your sources, well, I guess we can only hope they understand how silly they make themselves look.

  7. He who shouts loudest…

    Tacit admission that the RB squad is getting a little desperate if you ask me.

    F1 teams will always take every single sniff of opportunity to benefit over their rivals. This is no different.

  8. How you can defend a current team to test 1000kms with the 2013 car with their 2 drivers we now know (Hammy and Rossy), testing the new tyres from Canada onwards…and use as excuse ‘well RBR blahblahblah”.

    Is this journalism? It sounds like you are being paid by Pirelli to make people accept this horseshit scam.

    1. Another of these spineless twerps who puts a false name and fake email. If you want to slander me at least have the balls to put your own name on it.

      You clearly do not understand what a blog is…

      What a waste of air…

      1. Please Joe, block this twat. I’m fed up with this guy. It’s the second time today he abuses you. And while you’re at it, block mockingbird too. Somebody who accuses you of not being part of F1 clearly knows nothing about you and the sport. He shouldn’t have a voice on your blog.

  9. You sure despise Red Bull, Joe. If FIA says it is OK then FIA is wrong. Why should any team be allowed to test with the current cars? It is totally unfair

  10. Sounds like a lot of people are getting excited about nothing. Mercedes got to run after the race so they didn’t gain a benefit for the race. They didn’t know anything about the tyres and we don’t even know how close those tyres will be to those used later in the season. Pirelli want the tyres to last a bit longer so they needed a car that is hard on the tyres so a Mercedes seems like a good choice. There is no way they could get all the cars to test together and why would Pirelli want to? It would cost a fortune.

    As you say, Joe, a non-story.

  11. Jaime Alguersuari, the Pirelli test driver, who actually lives in Barcelona is probably more upset than anyone right now…

  12. Joe I think there is a bigger problem here. As reports are indicating so far, the Ferrari test was conducted on a 2010 spec car. That is permissible within the rules.

    However if the last test was done with the current 2013 Mercedes then I’m not sure it allowed under the in season testing rules. Sure Pirelli will argue they did it to improve the safety aspect of the tyres after the de-laminations that were suffered by Mercedes, but from what I can see this will gain them two distinct advantages.

    a) More information on the tyres themselves, but probably more importantly
    b) A chance to test new components and / or setup changes on the current car which could provide a far greater benefit.

    I think point b) would be the biggest concern for other teams apart from the fact that they weren’t informed about this test. This is the reason why current spec cars should not be allowed…

    What are your thoughts on this?

  13. Hi Joe

    At what point does an F1 car become an F1 car and not just a very expensive track day car that happens to look like a 2013 MB?

    Do the chassis have to be registered?

  14. Ultimately the FIA saying something is a-okay is a bit irrelevant to the on going question of if this should be happening in the future? Track time is track time, Merc got it, other teams didn’t. If there is really a question of safety and/or development for 2014 then open it up for all teams at the same time, otherwise it looks seriously dodgy.

    F1 is doing a good job of making this entire thing into a show, entertainment for the masses. Okay whatever, but first and foremost this is a sport and the competitors need to be presented with an equal playing field if the sporting side of things, whats left of it these days, is going to have any integrity.

    As for RBR, it really shouldn’t matter who presented the problem or when.

      1. So if the rulemaker says it is ok to for Pirelli to change their tyre specs it is ok after all. I am just a bit confused, because I agreed with you that It was equivalent to change the rules mid season. Now, you can argue this case is not equivalent to changing the rules midseason, but you cannot justify it simply by saying if the FIA says it is ok, then it is ok. By the way, according to the FIA it is not entirely ok.

        1. We have to see what the FIA says because it is very clear that Pirelli felt that they had permission and intend to use other teams later (or intended) as this may stop all tests, which is crazy. Tyres need to be tested.

          1. If they bring back 2012 tyres there is no need for extra testing it is the safest, and costlier decision. It also rules aout the necessity of secret tests with selected teams. Everybody knows that yet, as Hembery was quoted saying a couple of weeks back (I actually doubt he really said it): you don’t want to see Red Bull winning do you?

  15. How on Earth did Mercedes and Pirelli do 1000 km around Circuit de Catalunya and no one in F1 knows? Very hard to believe.

    Wonder how long Pirelli are going to put up with this BS. Can’t imagine what F1 would be like if the teams were running the show.

  16. Joe,

    When did you learn about the Mercedes test? If that’s something you can reveal.

    And why would Pirelli try to keep the tyre tests secret?

  17. Why the hell not allow all teams to test at the same time? Everyone knows how advantageous testing time is with these tyres so why allow one team to gain that much of an edge?

  18. Another thing to consider Joe. If any team could have been asked to do the test and Pirelli wanted a representative chassis to test on then why use the Merc which is the harshest chassis on the tyres? Is it being a little naive to think that this test was not designed at least in part to assist Merc with their severe degradation issues? If it was a 2010 Merc chassis on 2014 rubber only using Jamie as the test driver I would back your position that this is indeed a storm in a tea cup, but it wasn’t on all fronts it seems.

    1. I think it actually makes a lot of sense to go with the car that is harshest on the tyres to put them to the test! We have been talking about how next year the extra torque form the increased ERS boost and Turbo will stress the tyres more, so Pirelli need to somehow anticipate on that with the tyre construction to avoid them getting shredded next year.

  19. if it is in the contract and the FIA approved it then what’s the problem ???
    the most laughable part for me is that the tests were reportedly conducted in secret !! sure , mercedes and pirelli found a way to render the cars invisible and silent

  20. In my opinion the FIA-approved tyre-testing seems logical and reasonable.

    However, considering the amount of media attention those rubber components have garnered in recent months I now suspect that the ‘controversy’ has nothing to do with any technical merits or team bias per se. Any such ‘controversy’ now appears to be a crafty device engineered by the movers and shakers in the sport to keep its media profile on a constant high.

    I can imagine the major teams’ principals regularly having amicable round-table meetings to decide what ‘teacup storms’ to generate and drawing lots as to who will take the roles of the ‘aggrieved’ and ‘beneficial’ parties.

  21. Seems a bit strange that they kept it so quiet. Even if they didn’t want it to be public knowledge, why wouldn’t they quietly tell the other teams?

    I wonder if there was a reason it has been kept so quiet.

  22. Joe, I’m staggered this has taken off. ‘Pirelli test tyres’. As they manufacture tyres, isn’t that a good idea? Especially after Red Bull’s whining in Spain. The FIA gave it the go ahead, so there’s no issue. Nothing to see here, move along everybody…

  23. Pirelli, if they agree to supply next year’s tyres, have a lot of work to do. It seems that the wheels/tyres may need to be of different sizes next year, the rears at least. The torque will be much greater, so in order to get the power on to the track, the compounds and maybe structure, will need to be much different. Thus a huge amount of testing is required for development of next year’s tyres, and Pirelli still don’t even have a contract for 2014 and onwards. They have been dropping strong hints for along time and not getting anywhere, lets hope it’s not another Garry Hartstein situtation.

  24. Hi joe,

    I do get that the FIA gave this test the all clear. I don’t really understand why any team would choose to break a firm FIA rule even if they have permission to do so. Seems a bit like drink driving cause the policeman said to.
    Anyway although it does seem to be a bit of a trivia, surely it’s a controversy caused because a team broke a well established regulation? It does make me wonder if the FIA assumed no regulations would be broken if they gave clearance to the team to test and left it to the team to negotiate the relevant sporting regs?
    So my only question would be; did the FIA give approval for Mercedes to test their 2013 car in Barcelona, Or did they just say “its okay to test (with no reference to 2013 cars)?”

    Just as an aside, I appreciate the access (to information) you and other jornos give us. It just didn’t exist I’m 1983, so thanks!

  25. Wouldn’t it be sensible for Merc to have used the current car, since last year’s DDRS is so different from the current approach? I recall P. Hembery saying that the teams had made such great aero development over this winter that Pirelli had been caught out.

    And I do hope, Joe, that you will continue this blog, as I highly value your reasoned and informed opinions. You almost always kick me in my sometimes mouth-breathing Yank head, and I thank you for it.

  26. Mr Saward,

    I am an occasional visitor to your blog and, although I do not always agree, I find your opinions well established. However I have to disagree with you on this specific subject.
    Pirelli could have remained open on this, and make a statement that they were to conduct [or have conducted] a test right after the the Spanish GP, citing the necessity for this. To the best of my knowledge they chose not to do so.
    They could have gone a step further and invite the other “big” three teams to participate in the test with their current spec cars. This indeed would apparently have made sense for evaluating the test results. Yet no firm evidence that they did this has so far appeared in the media.
    Then again Mercedes Benz , who so far seems to have struggled the most with the current spec tyres, could themselves publicly announce that they have participated in the test. Again, to the best of my knowledge, they chose not to do so.
    Interestingly enough, whilst the other top team suffering from the current tyres made all sorts of noises in the aftermath of the Spanish GP, as far as I know, MB have kept a markedly lower profile to their instigating Pirelli.
    At the same time one cannot help but wonder that in the past 4 years MB has so far reaped embarassingly little in the form of results, despite what appears to be a big investment from their side.
    In a sport involving large amounts of money and huge publicity [and as a result, powerful vested interests] Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion. I am afraid thios has not been the case with this incident. Instead, one cannot fail but note that parties directly involved, have sought to manage the whole affair in a less than transparent manner and this will inevitably raise questions.

    1. I’m inclined to agree with elements of this.

      Purely on the strength of the “radio silence” from Mercedes at the time, not to mention the lack of twittering about it from Nico and Hamilton, one gets the impression that the high ups made the express decision to tell the people involved to keep it under their proverbial hats.

      1. To clarify, I’ve no idea on the rules situation and it sounds like a simple communications cock-up between the FIA and Pirelli.

        But the silence from Mercedes and the drivers implies that they regarded the test as either morally ambiguous and/or as a potential source of competitive advantage (the two things F1 teams keep schtum about).

          1. I am totally in agreement. It smacks of someone – failed to communicate clearly what is going on. Red Bull is calling attention to divert the criticism they face.

  27. Sorry every time a complaint has gone in about red bull pushing the rules to breaking point for the past few years Christian Horner has had the perfectly legitimate response of -the scrutineers have not found anything against us.

    If we want to go back to 2009 when Ferrari dragged Ross brawn in front of a legal hearing over the double diffuser and brawn had to point out he knew a lot of what had been done on the edge of legality with his Ferrari years – teams take any advantage they can get – if the FIA signed off, the FIA signed off. It’s that simple.

    Is it fair? Probably not – but was it illegal? No. The FIA can mandate safety tests at any time, its apparently in Pirellis contract to request a team so ergo it’s not illegal.

  28. Wow. The FIA have done a u-turn, now claiming they effectively knew nothing about it. It appears Mercedes and Pirelli may now be in the doo-doo, judging by the last press release. Pirelli must have had enough of the negative PR now. Who will supply tyres next year? They can’t run on the rims alone!

    1. Yes. It is interesting. I need to look into it. I am not going to pass any judgements until I figure out what is going on.

  29. Some information for those who don’t get it:

    a. The test was permitted by the FIA thus 2013 cars being used makes no difference
    b. The test was conducted by Pirelli not Mercedes
    c. Mercedes were not permitted and did not use development parts in order to make the test results consistent
    d. Mercedes didn’t know what tires they were testing (until today)
    e. The test has no bearing on Nico’s victory in Monaco

    So please stop making rude comments to Joe and think about the above before contributing to the discussion.

    1. Interestingly, the FIA is backing away from the agreement. I need to dig around a little more now to figure out whether they have been conned by Mercedes and Pirelli (why would Pirelli do that?), or whether there is a political agenda… I’ll let you know when I have figured it out.

      1. The FIA is taking a small step back, likely to spread the heat they’re under for having approved the test. Most interestingly, they’re not pushing any of the blame onto Mercedes, but onto Pirelli.

        Even if Pirelli did something wrong, what could an FIA tribunal do? Punish Pirelli? Not a chance, which is probably why the FIA has taken this route. They know that even if the tribunal were to find Pirelli at fault, there is no mechanism of punishment available.

        Further, Pirelli is already threatening to leave the sport. Were a punishment leveled against them, that decision would be made. At this late date, finding another tire supplier for 2014 would be beyond difficult. Pirelli is not a competitor, they’re a contractor. One expects punishment is completely outside Pirelli’s contract and could even trigger a severance, with immediate effect.

        One equally expects the FIA has played this 5 moves ahead. They know Pirelli is untouchable, so spreading a bit of the blame to them has few, perhaps no consequences.

        My guess as to the end game is that Mercedes emerges without a scratch and Pirelli offers a similar test to the teams at large. Pirelli wins, getting full payback on those who falsely disparaged their product.

          1. I wasn’t aware that there were penalties available, but as you point out, it doesn’t matter.

            One expects Pirelli would leave the sport were an FIA tribunal to strongly disparage the tire maker, let alone penalize them.

            Pirelli is untouchable. They and the FIA will share the blame for this ‘misunderstanding’ and that will be that.

    2. I think you need to have a read of the official letter from the FIA. And to be clear people questioning Joe’s view is not considered to be rude, it is considered to be transparent discussion, even if Joe decides not to post the comments because he doesn’t have a response for them.

      1. I have read the FIA document. I have not written about it on the blog because I have not had the time. I don’t think it changes a lot. I don’t believe that Pirelli and Mercedes did anything that they considered to be wrong. It sounds like the FIA may be covering itself. As I understand it, Charlie Whiting looked at the question of the legality of the test, but I have not seen Charlie to ask him.

  30. “The team were unaware which tyres were being used” but one assumes they know they were Pirellis!! Since Tyre testing was banned, all mid season tyre tests by Pirelli have been done with a neutral year old chassis and a neutral driver. This is NOT the case here, hence the ‘Kurfuffle’ and allegations of cheating!

    1. Until the FIA rules that it did not actually agree to the the test my view remains the same. If Pirelli and Mercedes did not have permission them doing the test is stupid, isn’t it?

      1. Someone is clearly stupid Joe. The FIA had come out and said that they did not give permission for the test to occur but rather a process for pirelli to follow to ensure the test was not putting other teams at a disadvantage. This process was clearly not followed, wouldn’t you agree or are you still in denial that your original position was incorrect?

        1. I stick by my original position. The fact that the FIA is backing away is curious, but I don’t believe this is a big deal.

          1. Thanks Joe for the response. I will stick by my original position also which is not simply to infer that everything I am told is legitimate. I will continue to look at the facts and welcome you to do the same. Please speak with Adam Cooper or at least read the valuable information on his website. Information that will no doubt be of interest to all teams and the FIA.

            1. Your fascination with Adam Cooper is up to you. You probably have not been around long enough to know that Adam and I learned how to be reporters at Autosport. We worked there for five years together. I am probably the reason that he took longer to get to F1 because I was in the job he wanted. It was a bit the same with James Allen, Tony Dodgins and others on the magazine at the same time. I happened to be there before them and so I was in F1 and that meant that they could not be. In time they all found their way into the sport by different routes because they deserved to be there. We are all products of a really great man called Quentin Spurring, the best editor Autosport ever had. Q taught us all how to do the job properly and we all know how to do it. So, thanks for your advice, but it is not necessary.

              I must be doing something right if I have paid my own way for 20 years. Try it some time and see how long you last!

          2. That *one* team got a free pass for a 1,000 km test with lead drivers and a current 2013 spec car, not offered or available to the other teams, when mid-season testing is banned?! No big deal? Really Joe you’re stretching your credibility here.

            1. Did it ever cross your mind that other teams might be offered the same opportunity as Pirelli still has more work to do? Don’t attack my cred until you understand that there are bigger pictures that you have not thought about. I have. Maybe this kerfuffle will mess that up, but Pirelli needs to test rubber…

              1. Seriously? You are really clutching at straws now! If that was pirellis invention they would have presented this as being the case either upfront or immediately after getting found out. They have not done this. I don’t think you are looking at any other picture other than the one you have painted already, that being that your assessment of this whole issue was wrong from the start and you can admit that you could be wrong.

                1. I bored with this. I’m not explaining any more. You have made your point enough times. If you don’t agree with the answer, fine. We get that.

                  1. You never explained your point or validated it to begin with and you have never answered any of the questions presented. That’s why I continue to ask the same questions in different ways hoping that you will understand at least one of them or have the courage to answer one of them. You instead continue to ignore them with useless unrelated responses.

                    So let me try one last time…

                    When you said that the FIA had given permission for the Barcelona test with a 2013 chassis and that therefore this was all a storm in a tea cup, what did you base this on and where is the evidence?

                    Was it:
                    a) Comments from Mercedes Benz
                    b) Comments to this effect from Pirelli
                    c) Admission from the FIA to this effect
                    d) All of the above

                    This is why I am perplexed as you claimed the FIA ok’d the test and yet they made it clear they did not…

                    For this reason I can only assume that it was either a) and/or b) above that caused you to make such a statement before validating the comments of either MB or Pirelli with the FIA before posting.

                    Can you please, for once, answer the question as it is presented? Failure to post this or answer it will clearly demonstrate the type of individual you are to me and others in the F1 world as I will be forwarding our exchange to them.

                    The clock is ticking Mr. Saward!

                    1. When you forward the responses to them, don’t forget this one…

                      You just don’t get it, do you? Threatening me is not going to make any difference to my views. You can forward my responses to Dame Edna Everage, to the Adelaide Visitor Information Centre, the United Nations, the World Wildlife Fund and the Rolf Harris Appreciation Society if you like.

                      I don’t give a toss what you think about me and as you have resorted to such stupid behaviour, I will happily tell you what I think about you.

                      What on earth makes you think anyone will read the drivel produced by some know-it-all who manufactures power saving devices in that well-known global hub, Adelaide. What twisted egotistical thought-process makes you think that you are the arbiter of what is and what is not good F1 journalism?

                      You are not in F1.

                      You are not a journalist.

                      And you clearly do not understand the concept of a blog.

                      Let me enlighten you, once and for all: “the word blog derives from the expression “web log”, which is a website maintained by an individual with regular entries on any subject the writer cares to discuss. It is not designed to be an objective news website. Thus one should expect there to be subjective opinions expressed. There are inevitably going to be people who consider that some of the posts are biased for or against a particular team and/or driver. People are welcome to comment, but they should always remember that this is a privilege, not a right. Any posts that include unpleasant and abusive language will not be published. Joe has no problems with passionate comments and sensible debate, but remember that you are part of a diverse community and it is necessary to be respectful of others. Some of those posting are from the F1 community, and know what they are talking about. One can be critical of statements, but try to avoid personal attacks; try to talk about the motorsport world, and skip obscenities, political rhetoric, and anything that might give offence. If you ignore these rules you will be banned. And your future posts will go straight into spam.”

                      Got that sorted out?

                      I do not need to justify myself to you if I choose not to. But I am happy to say that I spoke to Mercedes, Pirelli, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Red Bull on this subject. It is up to me to decide whether or not I include any quotes. It is up to me to decide whether I deem it to be a story.

                      It is not your job to tell me how to be a blogger or a journalist. You may be very good at doing whatever it is that you do with domestic appliances, but what makes you think you are a master of the universe?

                      Thank you and don’t come back. You are not welcome.

                    2. Dear Domenico,

                      I’ve personnally read enough of your stupid and disrespectul comments. Use your valuable time wisely and get private tuition and learn some manners, although it might cost you a fortune – and get a life. You might also buy a dictionary to understand the meaning of the word “blog”. This might cost you, but it would be money well spent.

  31. Having broad guidlines in principle clearly allows the FIA or anybody else to “claim ignorance” if things don’t go well. To the muppets claiming unfairness; Why test with an older car when the current cars far exceed the tyres developed for them, using older cars?

    To be honest, MB might have some slight advantage in getting their cars to preserve the tyres longer but it wouldn’t be all that if they couldn’t be assured what the black rubber rings were.

  32. The test is done and dusted time to move on, really the F.I.A. should bring back infield testing controlled by the F.I.A. a couple of times a year to get the grips with the latest technology and for PERELLI evaluate the data is correct, A few problem solving in one.

  33. Joe,
    Please go back to being a journalist and divert your time away from these cretins who aren’t worth less than the keys they stroke.

    All caps lock and no bottle…..

  34. The rules state any testing of the type done by Pirelli & Mercedes can be done freely if the chassis is at least two years old. This was the case with the tests done with Ferrari. If the tests use newer chassis, all teams must be informed and it now seems quite clear that this rule was not followed by Pirelli and Mercedes.

    This is an open and shut violation and quite a serious one in my view. While it might have seemed a minor issue at first glance and even trying to take the inevitable media overreaction and hype into consideration, now that more information about the rules have surfaced, I don’t see how it can be considered a tempest in a teacup at this juncture. Even if the letter of the regulations were being followed, the lack of transparency is as reprehensible, even if it’s equally unsurprising.

    Perhaps Mercedes is thinking that the penalties won’t be very severe: they can easily afford any fines and even if they are penalized in the constructors or drivers championship, I would think that they’ll shrug that off and keep moving toward getting ready for 2014.

    1. It is not that simple. If the FIA lawyers looked at the question and agreed it, which I believe was the case, then it is not simple at all. Whether what subsequently happened was taking advantage is another matter, ditto whether this is politically-motivated or rule-driven.

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