McLaren and Pirelli scrap Austin tyre test plan

By Alan Baldwin

YEONGAM, South Korea (Reuters) - McLaren have been forced to abandon plans for a Pirelli tyre test in Austin ahead of next month's U.S. Grand Prix after objections from other Formula One teams.

Pirelli confirmed at the Korean Grand Prix that the test would not occur.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said he was neither surprised nor disappointed.

"What we said to Pirelli is 'we're not doing anything sneaky so all the teams have got to be happy with it and the FIA has got to be happy with it'," Whitmarsh told reporters. "And if they're not, we won't do it.

"We certainly won't sneak off and wear black helmets and all that kind of stuff."

Mercedes caused controversy earlier in the season when they took part in a 'secret test' with Pirelli in Barcelona in May using their 2014 car and drivers wearing black helmets rather than their normal colours.

Ferrari and champions Red Bull have also carried out tyre tests with Pirelli but not with their current cars and McLaren's would have also been with a 2011 car using next year's prototype tyres.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner said the problem was more to do with the timing of the test, ahead of a race at the Texas circuit.

"I would have thought it makes more sense to be held post an event rather than pre and event," he told reporters.

"The way that Formula One is nowadays, to run any car - even a two-year-old car at a venue before an event - you are going to learn something, whether it is just about track conditions," he told reporters.

"Whereas after the circuit has been used, it doesn't have a direct impact on that year's championship. It is far more palatable and sensible for a tyre test to happen post an event."

McLaren are battling Force India for fifth place in the constructors' championship with the former champions only 14 points ahead.

"It's about perception so I can understand the FIA's position on it," said Whitmarsh.

"I suspect a couple of teams chipped in and said this is scandalous ... I'm not blaming anyone." (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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