The FIA have confirmed that Pirelli can test for up to 12 days during the 2016 Formula 1 season, with the Italian tyre manufacturer believing this is a step in the right direction.
Stating in the newly-released sporting regulations article 10.6, “In consultation with the teams and the appointed tyre supplier, the FIA reserves the right to organise up to six two-day tests for the sole purpose of providing the supplier with the chance to test improvements to the design of their tyres.”
The new rule is designed to help Pirelli test rubber for the planned 2017 rules revamp, with front and rear tyre widths set to increase. In recent months Pirelli made it clear that they required a suitable testing programme.
Pirelli’s motorsport chief Paul Hembery welcomed the FIA’s move to dedicate tyre testing in the regulations.
“It’s the first step forward, so that’s extremely positive,” Hembery told Autosport. “It’s in the regulations, so in collaboration with the FIA, and as deemed necessary we can go testing, but we still need a test vehicle.
“In reality it’s the definition of a test vehicle of a suitable level, and that’s clearly related to the regulations which as yet haven’t been stabilised. We really do need some clarity as to what is required in a very short space of time because we have to start working on that.
“We want to be on track in May/June, but the lead time for the vehicle is the problem, and can there be a vehicle done anyway?” queried Hembery. “It’s far from ideal, with this grey area of not knowing.
“Depending on who you talk to a vehicle can or cannot be created because if you ask the teams you get different answers. So the first step is: what are the regulations? Then we will move from that towards finding a suitable testbed.”