Pirelli want top level tire test commitment

Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:43pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Pirelli want triple champion Lewis Hamilton and other top Formula One drivers to find time in their crowded schedules for tire testing ahead of potentially major changes in 2017, motorsport director Paul Hembery said on Thursday.

The 2016 sporting regulations allow the sole tire supplier up to six carefully controlled two-day tests during the course of the season.

However, with an unprecedented 21 grands prix on the calendar as well as an August factory shutdown and two regular in-season team tests, the scheduling is not straightforward.

Formula One has promised faster, more powerful and louder cars for 2017 but the technical specifications have yet to be finalised amid talk of a general watering-down of initial proposals.

Tires are set to be wider, front and rear, and subject to faster cornering speeds and potentially far heavier loads.

Hembery told Reuters at the annual Autosport International show that, ideally, it would be top drivers rather than reserves -- often juniors who have never raced in Formula One -- who took part in the unglamorous tire tests.

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

Pirelli have a two day pre-season test of the 2016 wet tires scheduled for Le Castellet in southern France later this month but Hamilton's Mercedes team are not taking part in it.   Continued...

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in action during a race
Action Images / Hoch Zwei