Mercedes under fire for taking part in secret tire test

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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.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

SMP Racing
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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.