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Pirelli keen to offer more tyres for FP1

ESPN Staff
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Pirelli is willing to offer more tyres to teams willing to run young drivers in FP1 © Sutton Images
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Pirelli is in discussions with Formula One teams about offering an extra set of tyres in first practice to teams willing to run a young or reserve driver on Friday mornings.

The current regulations forces the teams to hand back one set of the harder compound tyres per car at the end of first practice, meaning most drivers only head out in the second half of the 90 minute to make the best use of that set. The new regulation would give teams running reserve drivers an extra set to play with in first practice and should see more cars on track early in the session as a result.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said Force India's deputy team principal Bob Fernley came up with the idea and that it has the backing of the smaller teams. In recent years several teams, including Force India, have run reserve drivers in FP1 without the tyre incentive and Hembery believes it could offer valuable experience to drivers hoping to make it into F1.

"There was a comment about extra tyres in FP1," he explained. "Generally speaking the teams have asked for a new product because in FP1 they are not running. It's an hour and half session and they've only been running for the last hour.

"A suggestion coming from one of the team principals Bob Fernley was that if we could have a product that would allow a number of laps to be done in FP1 they would be willing to operate their reserve drivers or young drivers who are on their way to F1 and give them the experience of F1. That's something we are happy to promote.

"The teams still need to agree the exact details of how to use these tyres. Some of the top teams wouldn't actually use a young driver or reserve driver in their cars, but the smaller teams really are keen for this to happen. Over the next few days we will define more of that but we are willing to help the young drivers by running that programme."

So far this year the only reserve driver to take part in an FP1 session was Ma Qing Hua for Caterham at the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend.