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Pirelli claims Barcelona test within regulations

Pirelli has attempted to play down speculation that it was giving Mercedes a boost - or breaking the F1 rules - by involving it in a tyre test in Barcelona.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has responded to the controversy over the Mercedes team helping with a three-day test in Barcelona by claiming that everything was within the letter of the law.

Raceday in Monaco sparked into life with the revelation that both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had been on track immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix, as Pirelli racked up 1000km of evaluation on tyres largely destined for 2014, but also including those the company plans to introduce, on safety grounds, in Montreal next month.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner claimed that no-one else had been aware of the test until now [ see separate story], and the secrecy appears to have caused as much anger as the test itself, with no mention of the test having been made by team, drivers or tyre supplier despite excessive degradation being the biggest issue facing Mercedes at present, and therefore being the subject of much media interest.

Hembery, however, insists that there was nothing underhand about the session, with the option to run having been extended to teams other than Mercedes.

"It's completely regular in that we are allowed to do a 1000km tyre test with any team," he told journalists in the Principality, "In the World Rally Championship contract, it's exactly the same. We can do it with a representative car. We've done it before with another team, and we've asked another team to do some work as well.”

Moreover, Hembery insisted that Mercedes would have gleaned very little useful information from the test, with the decision to throw the Canadian GP tyres into the mix having been taken at the last minute following ongoing problems with the 2013 rubber in Spain.

"In reality, we were looking at next year's solutions and trying a variety of different things, so Mercedes haven't a clue what on earth we were testing," he claimed, “Ninety per cent [of what was tested] was for 2014.”

In a separate interview with veteran journalist Adam Cooper, Hembery confirmed that Mercedes had only been involved because they were among the minority to take up the offer to help Pirelli with its development programme, and the fact that it had had a nightmare with its tyres in Barcelona was merely a coincidence.

“Last year, we wrote to the teams saying [Pirelli was allowed to do 1000km of testing] and inviting teams to say yes or no, whether they were willing to do it,” he explained, “Some teams said yes, and some didn't reply. They were one of the teams that said they would do it. It's really that. We were in discussions to do some other testing with another team in the future.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
11.05.2013- Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
12.05.2013- Pirelli Tyre
20.04.2012- Free Practice 3, Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director
Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 - Pirelli tyre.
The Sahara Force India VJM10 Mercedes
Mercedes W08 teaser shots
Mercedes W08 teaser shots
Mercedes W08 teaser shots
Mercedes W08 teaser shots
Mercedes W08 Hybrid, teaser image, F1 [Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas]
Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 rear wing and Pirelli wheel.
Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 - Pirelli tyre and front wing detail.
Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 - Pirelli tyre.
Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
George Russell, Mercedes junior programme, [Credit: Mercedes]
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas

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Disappointed - Unregistered

May 26, 2013 12:55 PM

I've been one of the biggest supporters of Pirelli through all the bashing they've received from some teams & 'fans', but I'm very very disappointed with them on this issue. Even if it's found to be technically within the rules, it's unfair & therefore wrong on so many other levels. Paul has never avoided any of the tricky questions & always answered honestly when the commentary teams have thrust a mic at him in pitlane, which makes me question the secrecy of this test even more.


May 26, 2013 7:36 PM

Am watching lay 170 of the Indy 500. One team radio transmission stated that with a little less that 100 miles it was time to drive flat out for the rest of the race. Too bad they could not build tires that allowed F1 cars to do the same (sarcasm intended).

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