Pirelli's deal to supply tyres to the Formula One world championship is expected to formally hit the track with an extended test immediately after the final grand prix of the season in Abu Dhabi.
According to rumours published in Germany's Auto Motor und Sport
, the Italian company is expected to provide initial samples of its rubber for a four-day session at the spectacular Yas Marina circuit, with teams staying on to combine a young driver test with a chance to get to grips with the tyres that they will be running on next season. The test is also expected to allow design teams a first chance to begin evaluating the technologies allowed for 2011, including the new adjustable rear wing and returning KERS systems. Pirelli is understood to be providing two sets of development tyres per team, for use on the final two days of the test.
"We would have liked to have the young drivers on the new tyres as well," one team member told Auto Motor und Sport
, "but Pirelli is not able to deliver that many tyres at that time."
The tyre company, which is promising continuity in tyre size and design for at least the first couple of seasons after it replaces long-standing supplier Bridgestone, has revealed that joining the F1 circus is not a risky business decision.
Addressing the media at a press conference that preceded the on-track action in Valencia at this weekend's European Grand Prix, CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera claimed that then company's involvement was effectively 'free', as the competing teams would be picking up the tab for the supply, while concessions in other areas of motorsport would free up the manufacturing capacity required to take on the F1 supply. The tyres will be produced in the company's dedicated motorsport factory at Izmit in Turkey.
"F1 understands the problem of suppliers, and we have been able to reach an agreement to serve F1 with what they need in terms of tyres, and they have been helpful with us, the different teams, paying us for the service," Provera explained, "At the end of the day for us, the cost, taking into account all items, will be zero compared to our budget."
Maurizio Boiocchi, Pirelli's head of R&D, who joined Provera on the dais, confirmed that development of the proposed F1 tyres was already under way, with an initial test using GP2 Series machinery the most likely way for the company to gain important data. Pirelli secured the supply deal for GP2 at the same time as its F1 agreement, giving it exclusive involvement with the two feeder series on the F1 bill, having already been named as supplier to the new GP3 Series.
"We [have] already dealt with the requirements of the teams, [and] cleared the details of the technical information we need to develop and provide the tyres according to their requirements," Boiocchi revealed, "We [have] started the simulation and the calculation phase, in line with the teams' expectations, so we are already at a good point with the preliminary development work on our tyres.
"We think we'll have the first [testing] opportunity with GP2, given that the tyres' development for that category is going on simultaneously with F1. After this preliminary test, we will speak as soon as possible with the several teams to be able to understand the best opportunities for the development of our product. This will also need to be discussed with the FIA because formally, due to the current regulations, testing is not allowed."