Find out more about our subscriptions

Secret tyre test a big help for Mercedes, according to Vettel

Test a big help for Mercedes - VettelSebastian Vettel has no doubts that Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will have had a 'big help' from their recent Pirelli tyre test.

After welcoming the fact that the FIA has decided to open disciplinary proceedings against Mercedes for its running of a 2013 car at Barcelona last month, Vettel says that suggestions his rivals did not benefit cannot be taken seriously.

When asked by AUTOSPORT about just how much a driver would learn from being able to take part in a dedicated tyre test, Vettel said: "I don't know exactly the tyres they used, but I think you always learn when you are on the track.

"At some point you use tyres that you have already used or that you will use in the future, so in that regard every lap matters.

"We all know how important testing is in the winter. The quality of the testing is not the same because the conditions are different.

"The cars are very early in their development so if you have the chance somewhere in the middle of the season to have a test, or three days, then it's a big help."

Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber was also adamant that any in-season mileage would be of assistance to both the drivers and the team.

"There's no beating around the bush, it's a nice scenario to go to the venue you have just competed at, that's quite an attractive option to take your race drivers and get a feel for it," he explained.

"There is no [tyre] reference point apparently, that's how Pirelli do their tests, but you would assume the baseline is pretty close to what we are racing. So you're going to get a pretty good idea if something is moving in a good or negative fashion.

"You're not going to learn nothing as a driver.

"It's not probably as powerful for a driver as a normal test because then everything is more transparent, especially from a factory point of view, but I think you can also test some options from a car side.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull"From a team perspective that's a lot more powerful than it is for the drivers."

Vettel added that he had been taken aback when news of the Mercedes test emerged in a meeting between the FIA and the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) directors on Saturday in Monaco.

Asked about his feelings on the matter going to the FIA International Tribunal, Vettel said: "It's the way it has to go from a formal point of view.

"Surely as a driver you are aware of the rules on track when it comes to flag signals, etcetera.

"But we are not aware of the all the rules written in the sporting regulations. It was very surprising when we found out on Saturday afternoon."

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Paddock insight from group F1 editor Jonathan Noble
Grand Prix news updates from F1 editor Edd Straw
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed
How the International Tribunal works
Rules not details key to Paris hearing
Pirelli wants help in the future
Red Bull: complaint only over Mercedes
FIA sets date for Tribunal hearing
Pirelli eager to explain test row stance
Brawn: Mercedes tyre test my decision
Hembery pulls out of press conference
Boullier wants tyre testing discussion
Sauber: test gave Mercedes 2014 edge
Mercedes to face International Tribunal
Teams had in-season test warning
Mercedes accused of 'underhand' tactics
FIA: all teams should've had test chance
FIA to rule on Mercedes tyre test row
Ferrari wants test ban clarification
Webber: Mercedes win not due to test