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McLaren cans US tyre test
4 October 2013
McLaren's plans to ape rivals Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes and carry out a private test with Pirelli have been put on ice after objections over the timing and location of the session.
The Woking team had earmarked a couple of days at the Circuit of the Americas later this month for the test, which would have seen a 2011-spec car running next year's Pirelli prototype and being driven by one of the squad's development drivers, but the proximity to next month's USGP at the same venue irked rivals, leading to objections and, ultimately, a lack of clearance by the FIA.
"The way that F1 is nowadays, to run any car - even a two-year-old car - at a venue before an event, you are going to learn something, " Red Bull's Christian Horner commented when asked about the session, "I would have thought it makes more sense [for a test] to be held post an event rather than pre an event. After the circuit has been used, it doesn't have a direct impact on that year's championship. It is far more palatable and sensible for a tyre test to happen post an event."
Keen to avoid a repeat of the 'testgate' saga that enveloped Mercedes – which ran a 2013-spec car and disguised the identity of race drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg when it ran in Barcelona immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix – McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh shrugged off the frustration of being told that McLaren's bid had been thwarted.
"We said to Pirelli that 'we're not doing anything sneaky', so all the teams have got to be happy with it and the FIA has got to be happy with it'," he told journalists during opening practice for this weekend's Korean Grand Prix, "If they're not, we won't do it. I suspect a couple of teams chipped in, [but] I'm not blaming anyone."
Ferrari tested in Bahrain with a 2011-spec car earlier this season, while Red Bull took a similar opportunity to run samples of Pirelli's 2014 wares at the Circuit de Catalunya days after last month's Italian Grand Prix.
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