Pirelli’s 2017 tyre testing schedule is under fire. It was predictable from the moment the 21 days of in 2016 season testing with Mercedes, Red Bull and Mercedes exclusively was announced.
TJ13 questioned last week why Williams F1 and McLaren had been dropped from the original five teams who were proposed to operate these tests, and it now transpires Williams ruled out participating on the grounds of cost.
Now Pat Symonds argues that despite the arrangements for all teams to share the data produced in these 21 days of testing, the teams involved in the testing will gain a significant and unfair advantage.
“Even in this sort of blind testing they do, there always is the advantage in that the comments you make steer the direction of the tyres,” notes the Williams technical director.
There are those who think the recent success of Lotus with Kimi Raikkonen was based on the fact that at that time Pirelli were a Lotus F1 car to develop their tyres.
Further, in terms of car development, the chosen three ahave another advantage. As Christian Horner famously claimed during the ‘tyregate’ hearings, that “whenever you run the car… you’re always learning.”
As with most things F1, it all comes down to money. 4 days of winter testing is estimated to cost a team in the region of £500,000. So the Pirelli tests, with modified cars will be in the region of £1 million per car.
Given the billions of dollars of revenue F1 generates, surely there should be some kind of development fund, so that issues which affect the sport as a whole – like designing new bigger sexier tyres – can be done in a fair manner and at no cost to the teams.
Once again, it appears as though Formula One collectively sits down and says, he’s a problem – and then finds the most unsatisfactory solution.