McLaren critical of rivals over Austin test

McLaren critical of rivals over Austin test

Formula 1

McLaren critical of rivals over Austin test


McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh thinks rival teams have been irrational in complaining that his squad could have gained an advantage from a Pirelli test at Circuit of The Americas.

McLaren had hoped to be able to help out Pirelli with its 2014 tire development program during a pre-United States Grand Prix test with a 2011 car later this month. But after some teams were left unhappy at the plans, fearing McLaren could gain an advantage for the Austin race, the FIA declined to give Pirelli approval for the test.

Whitmarsh has said he is not surprised that rivals complained, but thinks that ultimately their paranoia is misplaced and all the canceled test will do is hurt Pirelli’s preparations for next year.

“I think testing the 2011 car with 2014 tires, and with all due respect to them, Oliver Turvey or Kevin Magnussen doing the driving, it was not going to be an awful lot of help for us,” Whitmarsh said when asked about the abandoned test.

“It is not an over-riding disappointment, but what is I suppose disappointing if that Pirelli clearly want to do the test. They have a challenge on with the rear tires [for 2014] and we are denying them that opportunity.”

Whitmarsh has ruled out making a push to try to convince the teams to rethink their opposition though.

“I said all along that we would completely respect what the other teams thought, and you can see it from the FIA’s point of view. People have been asking if we should try to go and appeal and argue: but it is more about how it would be viewed. It doesn’t matter it is the 2011 car, or 2014 tires you can see people will build it up into ‘McLaren getting an advantage’. So it is about perception.

“I can understand the FIA’s position on it and I suspect a couple of teams chipped in and said this was scandalous, but ultimately it is the FIA’s decision. I am not surprised, but I don’t think it is particularly rational. But we are driven by emotions, aren’t we?”