Horner defends Ferrari amid secret tests saga

Christian Horner has defended Ferrari, amid the controversy about 'secret' Pirelli tyre tests conducted by the famous Italian team as well as Mercedes.

Red Bull, whose team boss is Horner, joined Ferrari in filing an official protest when it emerged recently at Monaco that Mercedes had used its 2013 car for Pirelli tyre testing at Barcelona after May's Spanish grand prix.

But the FIA is also investigating an earlier test, after Bahrain, in which Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa tested tyres for Pirelli at Barcelona at the wheel of a client-owned 2011 F1 car.

Ferrari has dismissed that test as "irrelevant", insisting the only rule breach was committed by Mercedes, because the German team used its current car and race drivers.

Red Bull's Horner also defends the Maranello team.

"Ferrari's position is different," he told Italy's Autosprint magazine, "because even though they used an official driver (de la Rosa), it wasn't their 2013 car.

"The two situations (Mercedes and Ferrari) are not even comparable."

Asked what he expects from the FIA's investigation, Briton Horner answered: "That the matter is analysed quickly and fairly."

Both Mercedes and Pirelli have hit back strongly at claims the Barcelona test was conducted in 'secret', but Horner insists it obviously was.

"You have that sort of approach when you don't want someone to know something, otherwise they could have just announced it publicly, as they do for all their other activities," he said.

It is also rumoured that Lewis Hamilton 'tweeted' supposedly from America while he was actually testing in Spain, and used a different helmet livery in order to avoid being identified.

Horner is also critical of Pirelli, rejecting the Italian supplier's claim that it did nothing wrong.

"Everyone in F1 is subject to the rules; teams, drivers and suppliers. The rules also apply to them (Pirelli)," he insisted.

(GMM)

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