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Mercedes under fire for taking part in secret tire test

May 26, 2013, 4:56 AM EDT

AUTO-PRIX-F1-ESP Getty Images

Mercedes may have locked out the front row for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, but the team has come under fire after it was revealed that the team took part in a secret tire test at the Circuit de Catalunya following the Spanish Grand Prix.

In-season testing is banned under the regulations, with teams being given three structured tests in the pre-season to develop their cars. However, Mercedes have appeared to break this rule by running around 1000km at the circuit just outside of Barcelona, and their rivals are thought to be fuming over the matter.

According to Autosport, the team is sure that they have not broken the regulations. Pirelli are reportedly allowed to call upon one team to work with in order to improve the quality of their tires, which, as has been made very clear, have not been up to scratch in 2013.

The sticking point in this case is that Mercedes has been the one team which has really struggled to understand the Pirelli compounds. Despite starting on pole in China, Bahrain and Spain, the German team is yet to win a race in 2013. Therefore, there may be a great outcry should the team have remedied its tire woes in Monaco today, where Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton will start from P1 and P2 respectively.

Autosport also revealed that the matter has been referred to the FIA. Mercedes refused to comment on the matter.

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