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.”

Hamilton: McLaren could help create four-team F1 title fight in 2018

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Lewis Hamilton says the Mercedes Formula 1 team cannot afford to let up in its push to improve ahead of a fiercer fight at the front of the field in 2018 – potentially including former team McLaren.

Hamilton clinched his fourth F1 drivers’ title in Mexico at the end of October as Mercedes continued its perfect record of championships since the introduction of the new V6 turbo hybrid engines in 2014.

The team faced a stiffer challenge in 2017 thanks to a resurgent Ferrari, while Red Bull also posed a threat towards the end of the season, setting the stage for another close fight next year.

Hamilton is expecting both Ferrari and Red Bull to remain a force at the front of the pack, but also feels McLaren could join the fight after ditching Honda in favor of a Renault engine supply for 2018.

“When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship. It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset,” Hamilton said.

“If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win.

“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship. I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again.

“We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forwards.”

Hamilton started his F1 career with McLaren back in 2007, winning his maiden world title in 2008 before leaving the team for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season.