January 11, 2016 / 6:24 PM / 3 years ago

Mercedes absent from pre-season F1 tire test

Mercedes Formula One Driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives during the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi November 29, 2015. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One world champions Mercedes will be absent from a pre-season wet tire test organized by Pirelli in southern France this month and attended by the sport’s three other engine manufacturers.

The Italian tire manufacturer said on Monday that only Ferrari, Renault-powered Red Bull and Honda’s partners McLaren would take part in the two day test at Le Castellet on Jan 25-26.

Run with last year’s cars, the limited mileage test will be controlled by Pirelli and monitored closely by the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA).

Pirelli had stated, in a note to teams seen by motorsport.com, that they wanted to limit attendance because it was hard to control conditions on the watered track and they could not have more than three cars running at the same time.

Belgian test driver Stoffel Vandoorne is scheduled to attend for McLaren.

Mercedes, who have dominated the last two seasons with Britain’s triple champion Lewis Hamilton and Germany’s Nico Rosberg, are fully focused on the first proper test of the season with the 2016 cars in Barcelona from Feb 22-25.

A second official test is scheduled for the same Circuit de Catalunya on March 1-4.

The season starts in Australia on March 20.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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