Sebastian Vettel reckons that Mercedes' tyre test would have been a 'big help' to them
"Every lap matters," World Champion says after Red Bull protest
By Mike Wise in Montreal. Last Updated: 07/06/13 9:40am
Sebastian Vettel has welcomed the FIA's decision to pursue Mercedes for their controversial Pirelli tyre test and reckoned that it has constituted a "big help" for them.
Speaking in Montreal on Thursday ahead of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, the defending World Champion reckoned Formula 1's current testing restrictions mean that any extra running is beneficial, even if it is - as Pirelli insisted last week - "performed blind".
The sport's governing body announced on Wednesday that it has referred the three-day test to its International Tribunal, which has the power to impose sanctions including fines and even bans.
"I don't know exactly what they did, which tyres they used," Vettel said. "Obviously there's been a lot of talk; I think you always learn when you are on the track. At some stage you will use tyres that you have probably used, or will use, in the future. So in that regard every lap matters.
"We all know how important testing is in winter. The quality of testing is not the same because the conditions are different and the cars are very early in their development, so surely if you have the chance somewhere in the middle of the season to have a test of three days then it's a big help.
"It doesn't really matter as long as everybody does the same."
Vettel was one of the first to be made aware of the test, which took place in Barcelona the week after the Spanish Grand Prix, at a meeting that took place between directors of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association and the FIA after Monaco GP qualifying last weekend. The meeting was convened to discuss safety in the wake of the tyre delaminations which occurred in Bahrain and Spain.
Red Bull and Ferrari subsequently launched a protest as they believe the use of Mercedes' 2013 car in the test contravenes the FIA's Sporting Regulations.
While ostensibly agreeing with Vettel, Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber was more equivocal about any potential benefit for Mercedes, assuming that Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg did not know which tyres they were testing.
Speaking last week, Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery stated that the test concentrated on development work for next season and that Mercedes weren't allowed to alter the set-up.
Hembery did admit that some running was done on the new tyre construction - designed to prevent the delaminations - to be made available in Friday practice at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve but said that a 2013 compound wasn't used.
"It's a nice scenario to go to the same venue where you've just competed, that's obviously quite an attractive option, and to take your best effort there - your main race drivers," Webber said.
"There's no reference point, apparently, of what they knew they'd test - that's how Pirelli do their tests. But you would assume that the baseline is pretty close to what we're racing, so you're probably going to get a pretty good idea of whether something's moving in a good or negative fashion.
"You're not going to learn nothing as a driver. It's probably not as powerful for a driver as a normal test because everything is a bit more transparent, especially from the factory standpoint in terms of maybe having the car a bit more stable."