Let’s talk tyres, yet again.
This whole Mercedes/Pirelli test controversy from Spain is about political games, not about Mercedes gaining any advantage at all. Its about the FIA and FOM facing off each other to expand and drag on what happened back in 2010 with the Michelin vs Pirelli decision.
Mercedes are the mere scapegoats that other teams want them to be in order to get lucky in some way and garner some points and/or testing mileage.
From my understanding, there is no controversy as such. Mercedes have gained no advantage from the test as according to Pirelli’s information (confirmed by Ross Brawn too), Mercedes had no identity of the tyres being used or the compounds being tested. It was a bit of a blind test in that, as far as Mercedes go, they only provided the car, driver(s) and the support personnel. They did not collect any tyre specific data.
What is going on now is, the FIA want to assert their power over the FOM and might try to use this to penalise Pirelli and (maybe) disallow them from being the supplier next year on grounds of technical breach of regulations.
When Pirelli were announced as the new supplier at the end of 2010, a part of the (somewhat odd) statement from the FIA read:
“..the sole supplier will undertake to strictly respect the sporting and technical regulations implemented by the FIA”
This might be relevant to the current situation as anybody can guess what it could mean.
FIA (or at least Jean Todt) wanted Michelin but the commercial rights holder wanted Pirelli. Bernie won that round. Who has the power over decision on tyre suppliers still remains unclear. The FIA sure wants to have a strong say in it.
Pirelli didn’t want to garner any more negative publicity or storm over tyres and hence kept the test out of media knowledge, but, it seems to have backfired.
We might have some news in Montreal.
Changes for 2013
Some key changes in the FIA regulations for the 2013 F1™ season.
Formula 1 is a constantly changing, constantly evolving sport. Things are never idle here. Even when an F1 car is parked, its almost breathing. Development is virtually non-stop all round the year and most of it happens while the action is off air and it seems uneventfully holiday-ish in the world of F1. New parts for F1 cars are almost produced every 7 minutes, 7 days a week, all through the year. To keep pace with the competition, there’s no other way this could be done. Its relentless and that’s one of the biggest challenges of the sport.
With all this development, that comes from a bunch of some the most talented & clever engineers in the world, there has to be someone overlooking and administering the whole exercise. That someone is the FIA. They also lay down the ground rules for the competition and a new set of regulations (the formula) are put forth before the start of every new season.
Recently, the FIA announced some detail changes to the rules for the next two seasons:
- From a technical perspective, the 2013 rule changes address some safety precautions as well as allowing for the extra weight of the new generation of Pirelli tyres. The car’s roll structures must meet new standards and new, more stringent crash tests will also be applied. The minimum weight of the car has increased by 2kg.
- To combat the use of aero-elastic components the static load test will now be applied to all of each team’s survival cells, and the front wing test will permit no more than 10mm deflection rather than 20mm.
- There has also been a change to the procedure when cars cannot return to the pits under their own power at the end of a track session. The existing rules state that each car must be able to provide a sample of at least one litre of fuel; from now on, if one stops on track, it must provide that quantity plus the amount of fuel that would have been consumed while driving back to the pits.
- On the operational front, during practice sessions the Drag Reduction System (DRS) can now only be used in the same areas on track as it would during the race. Working hours have also been tightened up, with the personnel curfew now extending from six to eight hours on Thursday night, and the number of permitted exceptions dropping from four to two for the entire season.