FIA says Mercedes’ rivals should have been allowed to join test

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The FIA has given an early indication of how it will rule in the row over Mercedes’ secret tire test following the Spanish Grand Prix.

Ferrari and Red Bull lodged a protest against Mercedes on the morning of the Monaco Grand Prix after it emerged they have completed 1,000km of running – over three grand prix distances – in a three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Monaco Grand Prix stewards referred the matter to the FIA. The FIA then issued a statement confirming they received a request from Mercedes and F1’s official tire supplier Pirelli to hold a test.

“Within the contract Pirelli has with the FIA as single supplier, there is provision for them to carry out up to 1000km of testing with any team – provided every team is offered the opportunity to do so,” said the statement.

“Pirelli and Mercedes AMG were advised by the FIA that such a development test could be possible if carried out by Pirelli, as opposed to the team that would provide the car and driver, and that such tests would be conditional upon every team being given the same opportunity to test in order to ensure full sporting equity.”

The FIA added they were not subsequently told a test was going ahead or whether any other teams had been invited to take part.

Monaco Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg participated in the test along with team mate Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg refused to answer questions about the test following the race, saying: “That you have to ask, you have to ask Pirelli about all this, about this issue.”

“I’m not going to comment. I’m not going to comment on that. You have to ask Pirelli.”

‘Still quite early’ for Ricciardo to think about Red Bull F1 future

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Daniel Ricciardo feels it is “still quite early” to make a decision about his Red Bull Formula 1 future despite seeing teammate Max Verstappen announce on Friday he would be staying with the team until 2020.

Verstappen, 20, put pen to paper on an enhanced F1 contract with Red Bull, with his previous deal due to expire at the end of next season in parallel to Ricciardo’s own agreement.

Ricciardo was asked following practice on Friday why he is yet to strike a new deal for himself with Red Bull, and explained he is in no rush to make a final decision when he has over a year to run on his current contract.

“It’s not that I’ve said no to anything. It’s just still quite early I think,” Ricciardo explained.

“People talked a little bit about contracts and the silly season for next year, but I thought that would still happen next year. It’s still quite early.

“If I’m to try and extract some positives out of his news it’s that it gives us good confidence for next year. He and his management see a lot of positives in the team to continue like that.

“I’m 100 per cent here next year, I can at least say that, and I think it gives both of us confidence that we’ll keep progressing the way we are.”

Red Bull said upon announcing Verstappen’s new deal that it wants to “build a team around him”, with the 20-year-old standing out as a once-in-a-generation talent.

The focus surrounding Verstappen has not left Ricciardo feeling as though he is in the shade or in any way playing second-fiddle to the Dutchman, stressing he has no internal concerns at Red Bull.

“For sure, as far as media goes, he certainly gets a lot of attention. He’s broken records for his age and things like that, so rightly so,” Ricciardo said.

“Take the media out of it, as far as inside the team, new parts on the car, things like this, there’s always been parity and equality.”

Verstappen is only the third driver to commit to a deal beyond the end of next season, following Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and Fernando Alonso at McLaren on multi-year contracts.

All 10 F1 teams have at least one free seat for 2019, making Ricciardo a possible candidate for seats with either Mercedes or Ferrari were he to consider a move away from Red Bull.

Speaking to British broadcaster Sky Sports, Red Bull F1 advisor Helmut Marko said he felt Ricciardo was “putting himself on the market” by waiting to make a decision on his future, but that talks would take place when possible.