It’s one of those internal Formula 1 battles between teams and suppliers where personal interests are getting in the way of each other in the process of trying to test Pirelli’s 2017 wide tire spec.
The ongoing row over where to test next year prior to season start is a bit of a war of words with Mercedes and Ferrari joining Pirelli in suggesting that one, or both, of the pre-season testing events take place in Bahrain for warmer, dry-weather testing instead of the normally cool winter testing in Barcelona.
This desire seems logical but then there is Red Bull, Williams and several smaller teams who are against moving the session from Barcelona over the cost element as well as a perceived gain that Mercedes may be angling for by moving the tests—according to Red Bull.
Pirelli want warm-weather testing for their new tires as they are a bit of an unknown and this week’s tests in Barcelona were hobbled by cool temperatures and rain with only 91 laps ran by Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Pascal Wehrlein. This didn’t pleas Pirelli’s Paul Hembery who said:
“Obviously the weather hindered progress to some extent, both today and yesterday, as is not entirely unexpected at this time of year in Europe.
“The same can apply to the early part of next year, which is why we are in favour of some guaranteed warm-weather testing in 2017, before the season gets underway.”
To be somewhat fair to Pirelli, they are being asked to make a new, wider tire and the aerodynamic changes set for 2017 means that he loads these tires will have Is much greater so they would like to test these in as normal as possible conditions. Testing in cold temperatures isn’t really indicative of what the temps for the 2017 summer season will be.
While Pirelli are very keen to make this happen, Red Bull’s Christian Horner has offered a bit of a compromise using one of the first races of the season in Bahrain saying:
“For the first four races, Melbourne can be pretty chilly, China’s certainly pretty cool, Bahrain’s a night race and Russia can also be on the cooler side.
“So maybe a more sensible solution would be to stay in Bahrain after the race [on April 26] and rather than do the test in Barcelona mid-season, do it in Bahrain when everybody’s kit and personnel is at that circuit.”
There is always a reason other teams will not want to do this and sometime it makes you wonder if the reason merely isn’t the fact that another team wants to. Such are the competitive mind games in F1.