Toto Wolff has dismissed suggestions Pirelli’s changes to its Formula 1 tyres for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix were made to aid Mercedes, calling the speculation “rubbish”.

Pirelli reduced the tread of its tyre compounds by 0.4 mm for this weekend’s race at the resurfaced Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after a number of teams experienced blistering and overheating through pre-season testing. The change has also been made for the races at Paul Ricard and Silverstone following their resurfacing.

Suggestions were made in the Barcelona paddock that the decision, which was approved by the FIA, had come following a request from Mercedes after it particularly struggled through pre-season testing.

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The German marque surged to its first front row lock-out of the season on Saturday, but Wolff was quick to shoot down any conspiracy theories that this was aided by Pirelli’s tyre tweak.

“Rubbish, rubbish,” Wolff said. “All teams had blistering, very heavy blistering, at the test in Barcelona. Red Bull, Ferrari, ourselves. McLaren I think I’ve seen also. And the tyres wouldn’t have lasted in the race.

“The ambient, the track temperature was arctic. For that reason, Pirelli changed the thickness on the tyres to prevent the blistering. It’s been successful in preventing the blistering because we haven’t seen any on any car today. 

“I don’t know why suddenly this rumour comes out that we’ve been influencing Pirelli, and the FIA, to change the tyres. I have never seen anything working like that. Why should they do it?

“When we haven’t performed well in the past, we have taken ourselves by the nose, and have looked for performance to be found on our car, and not go on the default mode, turn around, and say: ‘What are the others doing that is wrong?’

“It proves to us that we have had a good day today."

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