Lotus and Force India say they weren't directly approached about chance to tyre test

Rival team bosses suggest they weren't offered test opportunity

By James Galloway.   Last Updated: 27/05/13 1:01pm

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Lotus and Force India have claimed they received no direct invitation from Pirelli to complete a tyre test amid the ongoing controversy over Mercedes' 'secret' running in Barcelona.

In a matter that is fast proving as complex as it is fast paced, the FIA confirmed on Sunday night that Mercedes and Pirelli could be hauled in front of their International Tribunal to face an investigation after completing a three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya.

While the FIA's strongly-worded statement on the matter confirmed Pirelli had originally approached them at the start of May to enquire about the possibility of completing a test with a current 2013 car, the governing body made clear that they had told both the Italian firm and Mercedes that it would only be permissible if the test was run by Pirelli and the other teams were given the same opportunity.

However, the FIA subsequently received no further information about the test, or confirmation that all teams had been given the opportunity to submit their respective cars for running.

That leaves the door open for prospective wide-ranging punishments against Mercedes and Pirelli should the incident duly be brought before the International Tribunal.

Prior to the FIA's statement Pirelli boss Paul Hembery had insisted that the tyre supplier had "asked the teams if they were interested" and that "some said yes, some said no", but two of Mercedes' rivals have declared they weren't approached.

Asked directly by reporters on Sunday night in Monaco if Lotus had been asked at any point this year to complete a test, Team Principal Eric Boullier simply replied: "No."

Force India's Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley, meanwhile, suggested that while the matter may have come up in a past FOTA meeting, he couldn't recall receiving a specific, individual invitation from Pirelli.

"I don't believe that we have [been asked], I can't remember it," he told Sky Sports Online.

"I'm not sure it's probably been done in the way you think it has been. It might have been a proposal to a FOTA meeting or something like that as opposed to an individual team prospect.

"But I don't recall having a letter from Pirelli on that."

While Red Bull and Ferrari were the only two teams to formally protest the test to the Monaco stewards, Boullier made clear that Lotus were also not happy with the incident - particularly as it appeared to contravene F1's Sporting Regulations.

"Our position is there is a sporting regulation in place, there is even a testing agreement in place between the teams," the Frenchman added. "Red Bull and Ferrari did a protest, I don't think it's necessary we have to keep going to the stewards after they have been made aware about this so let's see what comes out.

"You can gain any advantage by doing this and if they did it I think it's because mainly they think it could have an advantage, yes of course.

"But it's more about the breach of the sporting code as well we're talking about."

Boullier added: "Whatever permission is given it should be allowed to everybody or at least to make it aware to everybody and not testing on your own somewhere."

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