Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel believes Mercedes definitely gained from conducting its 'secret' tyre test with Pirelli after the Spanish Grand Prix last month.
Mercedes will now have to go before the FIA's International Tribunal to explain its actions, after initial enquiries suggested the conditions of this test – and specifically the use of the 2013-spec car – 'may constitute a breach of the applicable FIA rules'. While Mercedes has said it was a Pirelli test, and team boss, Ross Brawn, has insisted again his conscience is clear and there is no case to answer
, Vettel isn't so convinced and believes 'every lap matters', especially given the current restrictions on testing.
“I don't know exactly what they did, which tyres they used,” Vettel told Sky Sports F1
ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. “Obviously there's been a lot of talk; I think you always learn when you are on the track. At some stage you will use tyres that you have probably used, or will use, in the future. So in that regard every lap matters.
“We all know how important testing is in winter. The quality of testing is not the same because the conditions are different and the cars are very early in their development, so surely if you have the chance somewhere in the middle of the season to have a test of three days then it's a big help.”
Vettel's team-mate, Mark Webber meanwhile also doubts statements they learned 'nothing'
from the three-days.
“It's a nice scenario to go to the same venue where you've just competed, that's obviously quite an attractive option, and to take your best effort there - your main race drivers,” Webber added.
“There's no reference point, apparently, of what they knew they'd test - that's how Pirelli do their tests. But you would assume that the baseline is pretty close to what we're racing, so you're probably going to get a pretty good idea of whether something's moving in a good or negative fashion.
“You're not going to learn nothing as a driver. It's probably not as powerful for a driver as a normal test because everything is a bit more transparent, especially from the factory standpoint in terms of maybe having the car a bit more stable.”