Horner: Pirelli tests can’t turn into development chances

Michelle Foster
Christian Horner looks down the pit lane, Adrian Newey in the background. Miami May 2022

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner looks down the pit lane, design guru Adrian Newey in the background. Miami May 2022

Irking their rivals as Ferrari ran different floor specifications during a Pirelli tyre test, Christian Horner says teams cannot use those outings to develop their cars.

Earlier this month, Ferrari took part in a Pirelli test at the Imola circuit, a test intended solely to help the tyre manufacturer develop their 2023 tyres.

Eagle eyes noticed the Ferrari F1-75 in action ran two different floors, one in the morning session and one in the afternoon.

F1’s tyre test rules state “cars at these tests must only use components of a specification that have been used in at least one race or TCC [testing of current cars] during the current championship year.”

It adds that “no test parts, component changes or set-up changes will be permitted which give any sort of information to the competitor that is unrelated to the tyre test”.

Two rival teams reportedly approached the FIA to ask for clarification, with motorsport’s governing body clearing Ferrari of any wrongdoing as the floor was changed when the first was damaged, and the alternate floor specification was one Ferrari had used in pre-season testing.

Horner has called on the FIA to keep a close eye on what teams use during these Pirelli outings.

“Ultimately, it’s up to the FIA to police because the understanding of the regulations regarding tyre testing is you have to run in a fixed format of car specification,” he said.

“If you need to replace a part, it can only be to an older specification of part that has previously run.

“I think the excitement about the Ferrari floor was it appeared to have…it was certainly different between the morning and the afternoon and appeared to have some new components.

“The FIA have subsequently confirmed Ferrari ran that floor in pre-season testing, so therefore it complies and I think, as I say, it’s for the FIA to do that police work and due diligence.”

In the midst of what is shaping up to be a battle between Red Bull and Ferrari for this year’s championship titles, the Red Bull team boss added: “What we certainly want to avoid is, because these cars are so immature, it’s still very early in the development stage, that tyre tests don’t turn into aerodynamic or performance development tests.

“That’s not the purpose of those tests.”


Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff also weighed in, saying the onus is on the FIA to “be on top of these things”.

He added: “It can’t be that any team runs a component in an environment it shouldn’t be doing and I guess if the FIA was not 100 per cent on it, I’m sure they will be now.”


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