Silverstone and Barcelona to hold FP2 Pirelli tyre test
Pirelli is to utilise the first 30 minutes of two forthcoming second practice sessions to run the rule over prototype tyres that could be used in the 2021 Formula 1 season.
Due to the lack of in-season testing available to Pirelli in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the condensed calendar over the second half of the year, the Italian tyre manufacturer has been forced to seek authorisation from the FIA to use the F1 practice sessions to aid in development.
As a consequence, the opening half-hour of the FP2 sessions for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone and the Spanish Grand Prix in August will see all 20 cars using unmarked rubber.
Pirelli tyre boss Mario Isola said: "The idea is to improve the integrity - that means these tyres can work at a lower pressure - and to test a few other solutions, with the target to reduce overheating.
"These prototypes are for 2021, and if we collect enough information, the target is to freeze the construction and compounds for 2021.
"It is not a new tyre, it is not a completely new construction. We would like to test a few ideas to improve the integrity considering the teams are going to improve their cars and up the downforce on their cars for next year."
F1's actual intention is to reduce downforce for the start of next season, however, Isola contends that given the rate of development in F1, it has to be factored in that there will likely be an increase by the end of the year.
Isola has confirmed that all 10 teams are obliged to take part.
"All 20 cars will run in the first 30 minutes to test our prototype tyres," added Isola. "All the tyres will be black, the test will be blind, so they do not know what they are testing.
"Obviously, we will provide information should they need to make any adjustment to the set-up because, for example, if we have a different deformation or stiffness of the tyre. We are trying to minimise this in order to avoid any changes during the practice.
"So all the teams will test different solutions. We are not obliged, as in the past, to provide prototypes of the same type to all the teams."
While an hour overall is a short amount of time to conduct such testing, Isola still hopes there will not be the need for further FP2 running at a later grand prix, such as at Spa, Monza or Mugello.
"The plan is not to have another test after Barcelona, but it depends on the result of the test, so if we are satisfied, then after Barcelona we close the test," said Isola.
"Otherwise there is the option to ask for a third opportunity but this is not in the plan at the moment."
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