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Pirelli close to extra tyre deal

Pirelli says it is close to agreeing terms for extra tyres in Friday free practice, but doesn't think the rookie driver requirement will be made mandatory.
Teams may not be required to run a rookie driver in order to qualifying for an extra set of Pirelli tyres in Friday practice from next month's Spanish Grand Prix.

That is the view of Pirelli's motorsport director, Paul Hembery, who confirmed that a deal was close to being agreed in order to boost track action for spectators, both at the circuits and watching on television around the world.

With tyres at a premium, Friday morning practice has been something of a slow burner, with recent sessions seeing little in the way of action until a third of the way through the 90 minutes. Bernie Ecclestone first suggested an extra set of tyres may be provided in order to encourage teams to take to the track, but that concession was followed by claims that the rubber would have to be used by a driver with little or no experience of F1.

While the teams have lamented the lack of opportunities to test young talent, opinions were divided over whether FP1 was the time to do it, with the leading lights more reluctant to give up precious development time that could be devoted to their potential racewinners.

Confirming that talks were coming to a head, Hembery admitted that it was unlikely that the rookie stipulation would be included in any deal ahead of Barcelona.

"I don't think Fernando [Alonso] is going to let anyone near his car," the Briton told Reuters during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, "I think the common agreement will probably end up being that [the teams] have to run this [extra] set within FP1, and within the first 30 minutes, which is good for the fans and television.

"We will bring the same structure [of tyre], but we want to have the right to use whatever compound we want. So maybe not the race compound, but something that will allow some of the teams to do many laps so they are not tyre-limited."

Tagged as: Pirelli , tyres , rookie , Paul Hembery , FP1

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