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Protest over Mercedes' Pirelli tyre test - updated 26 May 2013

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 looks at his Pirelli tyres.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013

Mercedes became the subject of controversy in the Monaco paddock on Sunday morning after it emerged they conducted a 1000-kilometre tyre test with Pirelli in Barcelona in the week following the Spanish Grand Prix. Red Bull and Ferrari have lodged a protest with the stewards over the issue.

In-season testing is banned under the Formula One regulations, but Pirelli say their contract with the FIA as the sport's official tyre supplier allows them to call on teams to assist with such tests. A similar session is understood to have taken place with another team earlier in the season.

Mercedes say they had the permission of the FIA to participate. It is understood that their 2013 car was used and that the bulk of Pirelli's work focused on 2014 tyre development rather than on the Italian company's 2013 rubber, the specification of which is expected to be altered slightly in time for next month's Canadian Grand Prix following concerns over recent failures.

However, Red Bull are unhappy with what they say is a lack of transparency over the test, which some feel could lend Mercedes an unfair advantage, given the particular problems the team have been having with managing tyre wear this season.

"What's disappointing is it has been done in not a transparent manner that a three-day test has taken place with a current car running on tyres that are going to be used at the next Grand Prix," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was quoted as saying by Reuters. "Irrespective of what you call it, that's testing."

The protest lodged by Red Bull and Ferrari questions whether Mercedes have infringed the regulations on testing with the three-day session on May 15-17. Representatives of all three teams and Pirelli have been called to appear before the Monaco stewards after Sunday's race.

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