Controversy hits Mercedes

Controversy erupted at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday after it emerged that Mercedes, who swept the front row in qualifying for the Formula One race, carried out a secret tyre test with Pirelli last week.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who found out ‘second hand’ only on Saturday night, told reporters he would be seeking ‘clarification’ and suggested Mercedes had gained an advantage.

The Formula One regulations ban in-season testing but Pirelli said their contract stipulated that they could do 1,000 km private tests with a ‘representative’ car and the three days in Spain were legal.

“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,” an unhappy Horner said.

“Irrespective of what you call it, that’s testing.”

Pirelli motorsport head Paul Hembery, already under fire from Red Bull over the quick-wearing current tyres, said the test in Barcelona after the Spanish Grand Prix had not been the first of its kind.

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