Common sense has finally prevailed in Formula One, and a proper tyre testing schedule has been agreed. This will allow Pirelli to better design and develop the new ‘over size’ 2017 tyres.
Originally five teams were set to assist Pirelli in their 21 days of in season testing of the 2017 compounds, but now just Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes will be involved before everyone returns to test the final 2017 prototypes following the Abu Dhabi GP.
Why McLaren and Williams are no longer involved in the Autumn testing schedule is unclear at present, though Woking does have rather bigger fish to fry at present with Honda floundering again over the future direction of their F1 power unit.
Each of the three teams undertaking the tests for Pirelli will use modified 2015 cars and Ferrari alone will test the wet weather tyres at their private circuit in Fiorano.
“The three teams testing will be obliged to share all the data gathered during these tests with the other teams for reasons of sporting equity,” Pirelli confirmed.
“In total, the testing and development of the 2017 tyres will take place over 10 sessions for a total of 24 days. Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes will be supplying the modified 2015 cars to a precise specification established by the FIA that simulates the performance anticipated for next year, principally including more downforce, a wider track and bigger tyres.
“Each team will undertake testing equivalent to seven days per car, as per the attached schedule, sharing the development programme equally. The three teams will then take to the track for a collective validation test in Abu Dhabi on 29 November, two days after the final grand prix of the season.”
The new 2017 regulations will see the F1 cars width increase by 11% to 2 metres. They will be similar in dimension to those seen in the early 1990’s before the introduction of grooved tyres.
The new tyres will be 405mm at the rear – 80mm more than present and the fronts will be 305mm – 60mm bigger than the current 245mm. The tyres are expected to weigh 1kg per corner more than at present.
The significant increase in downforce of the cars means the structural integrity of the new Pirelli’s must be correct – otherwise memories of Silverstone 2013 will re-emerge.
There are concerns that the increased downforce will merely serve to increase the air wash off the back of the cars, making it more difficult for cars following to overtake.
August 1/2 | Fiorano | Ferrari | Wets
August 3/4 | Mugello | Red Bull | Slicks
September 6/7 | Barcelona | Ferrari | Slicks
September 6/7/8 | Paul Ricard | Mercedes | Slicks
September 21/22 | Paul Ricard | Mercedes | Wets
October 12/13 | Barcelona | Mercedes | Slicks
October 14/15/16 | Abu Dhabi | Red Bull | Slicks
November 2/3 | Abu Dhabi | Red Bull | Slicks
November 14/15/16 | Abu Dhabi | Ferrari | Wets