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Red Bull protests Mercedes after Pirelli tyre test

ESPN Staff
May 26, 2013 « Uproar over private Mercedes tyre test | Protest hanging over Monaco GP »
Red Bull has lodged an official protest against Mercedes after news of a private test emerged © Sutton Images

Red Bull has lodged an official protest against Mercedes' private test with Pirelli, with team principal Christian Horner seeking "clarity".

Mercedes completed 1000km at the Circuit de Catalunya after the Spanish Grand Prix using its current car as Pirelli wanted to use contemporary machinery to carry out tyre development work. Horner told Sky Sports that he felt there had been a breach of regulations relating to in-season testing.

"I don't think we're probably the only team that feels that way," Horner said. "It's not Pirelli's fault, I think that Pirelli need to sort their situation out. The problem is the manner this has been dealt with has not been right."

In response, Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said Mercedes had done nothing wrong and had not even been aware of which tyres it was testing.

"We'll have to wait and see what the stewards say," Brawn said. "We're pretty clear in our position; we were approached by Pirelli and asked to conduct a tyre test. They were very concerned by some of the problems they've been having recently, they didn't feel that the car they've been using was representative and within their agreement with the FIA there's a provision for them to ask any team to do a 1000km tyre test.

"We ran that past the FIA to make sure they were happy with it - they were - and we conducted a test after the race in Barcelona. When you do a Pirelli tyre test you get codes, you don't know what the tyres are and each day there was a batch of tyres tested. We still don't know what the conclusions from that are.

"I don't think it was secretive. While we were setting up to do the test all the other teams were still there. Why didn't they see that our trucks weren't going home? There was no attempt to make is a secret test, it's up to Pirelli to inform people if they wish to that they're conducting a tyre test; it's not our responsibility to advise people. So there was no attempt to make it secret."

Brawn also said there was no scope for Mercedes to test new parts during its running.

"We did a tyre test, what Pirelli wants is a constant car. They wanted the thing to be as consistent as possible and the stuff that we were testing I now understand from Pirelli that the majority was for next year as well."