Originally Posted by srad600
News broadcasts and commentators have been eluding to this, but I cannot seem to find that specific section (in regards to the exception for Pirelli requested tire tests). It may be out there somewhere though...
If this is so very specifically called out in the rules, I cannot imagine why the team would just blatantly ignore it. I imagine there has to be some grey area they thought they could skirt.
I don't think that there are specific rules for tyre testing. Such testing falls within the general test rules:
22.1 Track testing shall be considered any track running time not part of an Event undertaken by a competitor entered in the Championship, using cars which conform substantially with the current Formula One Technical Regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year.
Which also explains why the Pirelli tests conducted by other teams using 2011 cars are within the rules (2012, 2013 and 2014 spec cars are prohibited from testing).
It doesn't matter whether or not they were running the cars with aero or other modifications, they would have gathered data that would otherwise not have been available outside the sanctioned periods of running at events.