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Vettel to take part in pre-Japan tyre test

NEWS STORY
02/10/2019

Sebastian Vettel is to take part in a two-day tyre test at Barcelona next week before heading to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Though Pirelli's 2020 test programme officially came to an end in early September, with Mercedes in action at Paul Ricard, the Italian manufacturer requested a further test in order to finalise the development of the 2020 compounds.

"We had some addition requests in June and July, so it was difficult to change our development at that time," explains Pirelli's, Mario Isola, "and we made a proposal to have an extra test to test a new compound with a wider working range, especially on the hard levels.

"That is not possible in Paul Ricard," he continued, "and, luckily, three guys were available to run the test, so we will have one day each, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. That is a very good opportunity for us to finalise the product for next year."

Indeed, a number of teams objected to the extra test, but the FIA finally agreed to accept a vote that had 70% approval.

While Esteban Ocon will drive for Mercedes, and Jake Dennis for Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel will be in action for Ferrari, just a couple of days before heading to the other side of the world for the Japanese Grand Prix.

"We have been asking so many times things to Pirelli, I think it was only our duty to be able to do this test when they actually ask us to go and test this latest evolution," said Ferrari sporting director, Laurent Mekies. "So, yes, logistically it is complicated but Sebastian will drive there and at the very end of the test he will just fly straight to Japan.

"We felt it was, again, a duty towards everything we are asking to Pirelli to support the fact that we all want better tyres and that was the best way to achieve that."

"It's tough but it's doable," added James Allison. "The aim of getting better tyres is a noble one. We're just leaning heavily on people who are knackered but they'll step up and do it."

"We're heading to Suzuka and clearly with Honda we want to be in the best shape we can be and now we are being pulled to Barcelona as well," said Red Bull's chief engineer, Paul Monaghan, "so it's mighty challenging. But we will do it. We've said we will do it; we'll run a car.

"Jake Dennis, I believe, is going to drive it. He's driven our car plenty of times before and he'll be fine, he'll do a good job for us and we'll go and do a tyre test."

"We are grateful to the teams," said Isola, "it is a big effort of them to fit this tyre test into the calendar, which is very, very busy. It will be the same next year with an additional race, so we are finalizing also the plan for next year.

"Testing is very important for us. We need to validate our tyres on track. We cannot change the product during the year. We have to do the best we can do during the season in order to homologate a good product for the following season and the only opportunity is to have a proper test calendar.

"I understand how difficult it is, and thanks to, not just these three teams, but all the teams, because in previous test sessions all the teams were available to test for us and we can do our job.

"We have a lot of requests, different requests coming from different people and we are trying to summarise them in order to have a shared document with everybody agreeing on that and we try to do our job in the best possible way."

Rumours that Vettel and Charles Leclerc have a pre-test agreement that the German will only complete a maximum of 50 laps and not be allowed anything above 5th gear, are thought to be wide of the mark.

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1. Posted by Hobgoblin, 02/10/2019 9:31

""Vettel and Charles Leclerc have a pre-test agreement..." snigger...

Maybe they are sending Vettel to see how the tyres perform post-spin?"

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