Pirelli's hopes of securing another contract to remain in Formula 1 will not be affected by the Mercedes secret test controversy, reckons Red Bull.
Although Red Bull joined Ferrari in protesting against Mercedes for taking part in a Pirelli test after the Spanish Grand Prix, the reigning champion team insists the matter is totally separate from the long-term contractual issue.
With Pirelli adamant that it will have no choice but to walk away from F1 if it does not get an answer soon from teams about if they want it to continue, the Mercedes intrigue has delivered a fresh twist to the negotiations. But Red Bull team principal Christian Horner reckons that the Mercedes affair should not cast any doubts on Pirelli staying in F1, even if he would like the company to be less aggressive with its products.
"They are a capable company," said Horner. "Yes, they have pushed the boundaries with the product and they know they need to pull that back a little bit, but the issue is not with Pirelli. The issue is with the way this whole thing has been handled and conducted, and that is the disappointing thing.
"It is the lack of transparency [about the test], which is why we have chosen to protest."
Pirelli conducted the Mercedes test because it was eager to get an understanding of the delamination issues it suffered recently, as well as start development work on 2014. The company has been frustrated by the lack of testing opportunities it is given. It hopes to address that in future contracts.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: "We insist if we are going to go forward that we have a sensible professional structured testing plan in place. Otherwise, we as a company are unable to deliver what the teams want. So unless there is a proper testing program put in place then Pirelli cannot continue."