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Pirelli wants top drivers for 2017 tests

NEWS STORY
15/01/2016

Whilst plans for 2016's F1 tests are already in place, Pirelli is already looking ahead to tests focussing on next year when radical changes are expected.

In addition to two four-day tests in February and March, and two in season tests following the Spanish and British Grands Prix, later this month three teams will field a car for a two-day wet-weather test at Paul Ricard.

McLaren, one of the three team taking part in the wet test, is to run reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, and whilst the test is purely for wet-weather tyre evaluations and will involve the 2015 car, Pirelli is hoping that when it comes to testing tyres for 2017 the teams will send their main race drivers.

"They clearly push things to another level, that’s why they are world champions," Paul Hembery told Reuters. "You want the quickest car and the most extreme conditions and the best drivers in the world. You would want their feedback."

Asked if Pirelli was disappointed that neither Fernando Alonso or Jenson Button would take part in the Paul Ricard test, he said: "It’s probably less important for the wet test. We’re really thinking of 2017. That’s a big change and we really do want to have the best conditions to be able to deliver in 2017 what the teams and drivers and sport wants. Two or three top teams with the first race driver testing is what you’d really want."

In addition to driver line-ups, the dates of the 2017 have yet to be agreed.

"Based on the last technical meeting, we believe we are going in a direction that’s going to be more realistic in terms of how we address the new tyre for 2017," he said. "We need to be circuit testing around June, that’s our requirement. The practicalities of it are not easy. We need some plans put in place very quickly."

Finally, he dismissed recent claims that Pirelli is concerned that it might not be able to cope with the increased loads generated by proposed changes to the aero rules.

"I’m not really sure where some of that came from," he admitted. "Of course you can do it, but you’re not going to be able to do it with a product that you see today. If you did want to go and increase loads by 60 percent than it changes not only the structure of the tyre but the compounding ranges that you use, which takes you into a new area of technology that’s never been seen before.

"That requires a very, very intensive testing programme which is probably unrealistic in the time scales we’ve got."

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