• 2014 season

Pirelli still looking for testing solution for 2014

ESPN Staff
September 25, 2013 « Horner eyeing early title finish | Top teams unlikely to run youngsters in elongated FP1 »
Pirelli is trying to secure more testing next year © Sutton Images

Pirelli says it is still at an impasse with teams over how to go tyre testing in the future following the fall out of Mercedes' private test earlier in the year.

A lack of in-season testing led to Pirelli approaching teams over private tyre tests, with Ferrari first conducting one with a 2011-spec car ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix and Mercedes controversial test with a 2013 car taking place after the race.

Red Bull conducted a test with its 2011 car ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix and McLaren is in the running for a similar outing before the end of the season. However, despite the fall-out following the Mercedes test and the subsequent tyre blow-outs at the British Grand Prix, the teams and Pirelli have yet to find a solution to allow them to test with a relevant car next season.

"There's still a long way to go to find a way of testing," Pirelli's director of motorsport Paul Hembery said. "It seems to be a very long road and you sometimes get an 'okay', but it seems to be one step forward and then two back. It's down to the paranoia really between teams that we can't find a solution, but a solution does need to be found."

Next year presents a completely new challenge for Pirelli as it heads into a new era of regulations, including the introduction of turbocharged V6s with more powerful Energy Recovery Systems. The drivetrains are expected to deliver a similar amount of power to the current V8s but will produce more torque, providing a new challenged for the tyre supplier.

Pirelli is working with the teams to understand the demands of the 2014 cars, but Hembery said his engineers were taking a cautious approach to make sure the tyres are up to the task.

"Back in August we had the first run through the teams asking for data," he explained. "I think we need to do that a couple more times before we get to the winter testing. We envisage the development rate being very high so by the time we get to February I'm quite sure the data we've seen in August will be quite different. So we have to keep asking and try to get more information. We just have to take a very conservative approach and work primarily on the structure to deal with the worst case examples. That's what we are doing."

Hembery said plans to test next year to develop the tyres had also hit issues as teams fear their rivals will get an advantage at private tests.

"Some of the proposals we've made have not been accepted," he said. "It's the paranoia thing, what we need to do our job is not what the teams would like to do. It's got to the situation where it's impractical, we can't actually do tyre development with the proposal we've had from the teams.

"Well, there isn't a proposal from the team; it's either test on a Friday - which we've proven is impossible because you can't do development testing with multiple solutions - and the other option is in-season testing, but they'd like to test every single car with the same thing, which by the nature [of the tyres] is using prototype materials and we don't have enough of them to go making lots of sets. From our point of view it would be a waste of time and money for the whole sport. It's a little bit of an impasse and we don't seem to have any solution yet."

Hembery said Pirelli would have to talk to the team principals to try to push something through before the start of the season.

"Nobody wants to make a decision unfortunately. We tried to come up with some compromise solutions. We were told that our last proposal was quite reasonable, but it probably needs to go to a different level. We tried to go through the working groups but we probably need to get something practical from both sides at a higher level. It's something we need to take up with the team principals really."