F1: Mercedes quits tire test over budget cap concerns

(GMM) Mercedes has pulled out of next week’s Pirelli tire test at Paul Ricard, citing concerns about staying under the 2021 budget cap.

After Valtteri Bottas’ huge crash with George Russell at Imola, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the hefty repair bill means the team may need to “limit upgrades” of its 2021 car.

Now, it emerges that Mercedes has pulled out of Pirelli’s forthcoming wet weather test for its 18-inch tires for 2022, arguing that the budget cap concessions are not sufficient.

“Yes, that’s right,” Wolff confirmed at Monaco.

“We are trying to make the budget cap, which is not trivial. We couldn’t take the costs related to the tire test and we wouldn’t have been able to send our mechanics on such a long journey.”

Hamilton testing the 18-inch Pirellis

Ferrari has stepped in to replace the championship-leading team.

“We have always said that 2022 is our priority over 2021, and helping Pirelli develop the new tires we believe is important for us,” said Mattia Binotto.

“Luckily enough we didn’t have a crash in Imola, so we have some more contingency than Mercedes. So we are happy to accept and support,” the Ferrari boss added.