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Red Bull and Ferrari have protested Mercedes after they conducted a tyre test in Spain

Complaints after Merc conduct 1000km 'secret' test

Last Updated: 27/05/13 9:33am

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Christian Horner says Red Bull have lodged a complaint to get some more information from the FIA on Mercedes recent tyre testing.

Red Bull and Ferrari have launched protests at the Monaco Grand Prix after it emerged that Mercedes conducted a secret tyre test after the Spanish GP.

Details of the 1000km two-day test for Pirelli only emerged in the Principality this weekend, with teams unhappy that Mercedes might have gained an unfair advantage.

However, speaking to Sky Sports News Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said they are seeking a rule clarification rather than any sanction, such as exclusion from Sunday's race.

"We feel it's not in line with the rules, so that's why we've protested before the race here. We just want clarity," Horner said.

"I think it's important to be brought to a head. I don't think we're the only team that feels that way. I don't think it's Pirelli's fault. Pirelli need to sort their situation out; the problem is the manner in which this has been dealt with has not been right."

Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have qualified on the front row in Monaco, the team's fourth successive pole position. However, they have struggled for pace in the races themselves.

That was very much the case in Barcelona two weeks ago in a race that brought particular criticism upon Pirelli because of the unexpectedly high levels of tyre degradation.

A further issue has been a number of tyre delaminations that have occurred in both Spain and Bahrain. It's understood that changes Pirelli have promised for the upcoming Canadian GP are focused on safety.

Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn insisted they have done nothing wrong, telling Sky Sports F1: "We'll have to wait and see what the stewards have to say. But our position is clear: We were approached by Pirelli to conduct a tyre test because they were very concerned about some of the problems they were having recently and they didn't feel the car they had been using was representative.

"In their agreement with the FIA, there is a provision to ask any team to do for a 1000km test. We ran that past the FIA to make sure they were happy - and they were."

Brawn added: "It wasn't secretive. While we were setting up to do the test, all the other teams were still there. Why didn't they see that our trucks weren't going home?

"There was no attempt to make it a secret test. It's up to Pirelli to inform people if they wish to. It's not our responsibility to advise people. There was no attempt to make it a secret."

Speaking earlier, Damon Hill said the Mercedes view is that the safety aspect should preclude any protest from rivals.

"It is astonishing that you can run a Formula 1 car and it doesn't get out until now - apparently it has only been discovered or made clear last night," Hill said.

"Some teams have reacted badly to that, I have spoken to (Mercedes non-executive chairman) Niki Lauda and he assures me that they have okayed it with the FIA and the reason it is ok is because the safety regulations overrule the sporting regulations.

"He told me that the teams knew about it and they gave their permission, but I think there may be a difference between what other people are saying about that and what he told me.

"There's been a rule and understanding for a long time now that there's no testing during the season and you can't allow one team to have an advantage - that's not a level playing field.

"It would be very unusual. I can't imagine that teams would be too happy allowing a team that they're racing against to be the team doing development work on tyres mid-season.

"But if there is a safety issue, which seems to be the insinuation, then somebody has to do the testing. It just looks like Mercedes might have got in there first.

Pirelli insist there is nothing illegal about what Mercedes have done in conducting a behind-closed-doors test.

"As per our FIA contract, we can ask teams to do 1,000 kilometres of tyre testing. It's something that's common in all FIA contract including the World Rally Championship," Hembery told Martin Brundle on the grid ahead of the race.

"We asked the teams if they were interested. Some said yes, some said no."

Hembery also denied that Mercedes had gained an advantage, adding: "They don't know what they're testing. Nothing's relevant for this year, it's all future stuff."

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