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Ferrari rattled by FIA probe
TJ13 reported yesterday that Ferrari were also under the disciplinary hearing committee’s microscope. However, Maranello appears to be irked by this turn of events.
They like Mercedes performed a ‘secret’ test with Pirelli, the only difference being the car Ferrari supplied was from 2011 and their driver was Pedro de la Rosa.
Yet the FIA on the day ‘testgate’ hit the news in Monaco, issued a statement making it clear that the year of the car supplied was not the only potential illegality and other rules may have been broken.
A Ferrari spokesman said today, “In reference to the numerous comments and interpretations circulated in recent days, Ferrari does not wish to make any further comment”.
He however does continue and comments, “The situation is rather straightforward [and has been] from the moment that a team broke what is a very clear regulation. The fundamental question refers to the compliance with article 22 of the sporting regulations, which does not allow the use of a current or previous year’s car for any kind of testing carried out during the season.
This is the only substantial aspect. Everything else is irrelevant detail.”
If that were the only matter for the FIA to consider, it would have been case closed by now – so clearly other factors are being taken into consideration and Ferrari will look rather silly should this result in them being sanctioned from their own protest.
Red Bull make it clear they are not criticising Pirelli
Something is going on behind the scenes. Pirelli call a teleconference at 4 hours notice, most of the mainstream media miss it and during the initial presentation doe by Paul Hembery he makes it clear he is not happy about the protests made over the Pirelli tyre test with Mercedes.
Pirelli were due to introduce the new spec tyres in Canada, but TJ13 believes they reversed this decision due to the protest made regarding breaches in the sporting regulations. Without unanimous agreement from the teams the planned introduction in Canada would be another possible breach of sporting regulations.
Red Bull are keen to see the revised 2013 tyres introduced because even though the surface compounds will remain similar to those currently in use, the return to the Kevlar based tyre will give them some aerodynamic benefits.
According to Helmut Marko, it was 22:00 on Saturday following qualifying in Monaco when he first heard the news of the Mercedes test and he then spent a number of hours getting together the relevant information to see if he had missed something.
In the rush to demand the FIA investigate, Red Bull may have overlooked the fact that the result of their protest would stall any imminent introduction of the revised tyres, subject to the FIA International Tribunal (IT) – a possible 45 day process – which as yet not even begun.
What has happened over the past eek is the FIA have asked Mercedes, Ferrari and Pirelli to answer some questions, and following their deliberations on the responses, the matter may be referred to the IT.
Yesterday Christian Horner wrote to the FIA and copied in the other teams. The letter stated, “For clarity, our protest is not against any third party supplier (including the tyre supplier) as it is the clear obligation of the entrant, irrelevant of any supplier contract, to comply with the Sporting and Technical Regulations, which in this case were clearly breached.
For any competitor to have the benefit of running a current car with current race drivers with tyres that are to be used in the current World Championship is an enormous and unfair advantage for both performance and reliability and in our opinion totally unacceptable.”
It may be once again that Christian and the Red Bull team have been precipitative. This letter was written prior to yesterdays Pirelli teleconference and during that event Paul Hembery made it clear Mercedes did not test any current 2013 tyre or any revised 2013 tyre proposed for FP1 in Cananda.
This appears to be Horner et al desperate to tell the world that they aren’t criticising Pirelli and at the same time are hoping to direct the FIA in their investigation.
Gate bolted… horse gone – methinks.
Hankook: Impossible to supply F1 in 2014
TJ13 asked Paul Hembery on Friday whether from Pirelli’s experience of joining the sport it was indeed now too late for a new supplier to set up a factory, tool it out and deliver tyres for testing in the winter for use in 2014. He replied, “Yes”.
Today Hankook’s DTM competition engineer Michael Eckert confirms it is too late for them to be considered as a supplier for F1’s 2014 tyres.
He told AutoSport, “For 2014, it’s completely impossible not only because of the lack of tyre development time. Even if Hankook wants to take three, four, five years to jump into Formula 1 as a supplier, the lack of testing opportunities would make it impossible.
With the current cars and drivers, it’s impossible [to test] so you need to find a suitable number of vehicles and drivers that would allow you to get some reliable feedback.”
3 ‘impossibles’ in one comment! Looks like its a no from the South Korean tyre manufacturer then.
Eckert continues, “Even if we started this year with the first tyre test, it would take easily three years until you can finish a safe and performing F1 tyre. Now the regulations are changing; engine formula, chassis, and aerodynamics… nobody even knows about the dimensions of the tyres for 2014 – they are still not fixed.
“It’s not 100 per cent certain they’ll continue with 13-inch tyres… it might be 15 or even 17. It could happen in the next five years that F1 cars are on 18-inch tyres.”
So unless Michelin feel a tad more competent in moving things forward, it looks as though the anti-Pirelli in F1 brigade could be stuck with them as the official and exclusive F1 supplier for some years to come.
Bernie said it was a done deal in Bahrain, however Pirelli haven’t yet got what they require which suggests their outstanding issues are with the FIA.