Christian Horner says Red Bull rejected Pirelli approach for fear of breaking rules
Team Principal says World Champions were asked to test tyres
By William Esler. Last Updated: 07/06/13 10:37pm
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner retains the belief that the Mercedes team will have learned a great deal during the tyre testing controversy.
Christian Horner has revealed Red Bull were approached by Pirelli to carry out an in-season test but rejected the opportunity as they felt it would have been in breach of the Sporting Regulations.
A key aspect of the Testgate saga, and one which is likely to feature prominently when the saga is presented to the FIA International Tribunal, is whether all 11 teams were awarded the same opportunity to carry out a tyre test.
Lotus and Force India confirmed to Sky Sports F1 they had not been approached by Pirelli when news broke during the Monaco GP weekend, but the latest revelation from Horner puts a fresh perspective on the on-going row.
"We believe it is the responsibility of the entrant to comply with the regulations, so when it came to light that a test with the current car had taken place, our interpretation of the rules was that that was in clear breach of them. Therefore we raised a protest prior to the race for it to be dealt with by the FIA," the Red Bull Team Principal said during Friday's tense press conference.
"It is really an issue between the team and the FIA and obviously Pirelli have asked several teams to test - ourselves included - but we have declined to do so as we felt it wasn't in line with the regulations, certainly with the current car. So that is the situation, it has gone to the tribunal and we trust the FIA to make the appropriate decision regarding it.
"The important thing is that there needs to be absolute clarity in what you can do and what you can't do, what I testing and what isn't testing and I think that that is more crucial than anything to be fully resolved."
Mercedes have repeatedly stressed that they learned nothing from the test and simply assisted Pirelli during the running. However, Horner is adamant that amount of extra mileage will have been of major benefit to the team.
"I think that whenever you have limited testing with the rules written as they are, then when you run a current car with the amount of technology and the amount of data analysis there is then you are always learning - whether it is reliability, whether it be endurance, whether it be performance," he argued.
"So of course even if you are testing a component for another supplier you are learning. Formula 1 has moved an awfully long way over the last few years to ensure fairness and equality to all of the entrants and I think if a team does carry out an extra 1000km with a current car then you are going to learn something."
The fact that Mercedes' tyre test appeared to have been carried out in secret also angered Horner.
"I think the lack of transparency has been disappointing," he said.
"If a supplier has issues then they obviously have to deal with them, but if all entrants are supposedly equal, I think it is important that that information is made perfectly clear."