Mercedes’ clandestine test for Pirelli ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix gave them a significant opportunity to advance their development programme for the W04.
That’s the view of former McLaren mechanic Marc Priestley, who explained to F1 Fanatic how the team could have used the test for F1’s official tire supplier to make gains with their car.
The FIA have indicated they were not aware the test had taken place, meaning they would not have sent a representative to monitor what Mercedes were doing at the test.
“They’ve got an open book to put on whatever sensors, whatever testing and development equipment they want on it,” said Priestley, who has over a decade of F1 experience.
Priestley added the test gave Mercedes a chance to increase the mileage on new components so they could be ‘signed off’ and used at a race weekend at an earlier date.
“They’ve had some issues with the hydraulic suspension they’ve got so just getting track time on those things will also have been an enormous help,” Priestley noted.
As Mercedes used their race drivers at the test they will also have been able to examine how changing their driving style alters the performance of the tires – especially as they had three days of data from the recent race weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya to compare it to.
“It’s such a rare thing to be able to have that chance,” said Priestley. “I think they will have gained tremendously from that, from a driver point of view.”