McLaren is developing its 2014 car with Pirelli tyres in mind despite the fact that the Italian supplier has yet to be confirmed in its role for next year.
While many expect Pirelli to continue as sole tyre provider into the new season, no deal has yet been put in place with the possibility that the company could elect to walk away if no deal is struck.
Speaking in a Vodafone McLaren
Mercedes phone-in, McLaren
managing director Jonathan Neale revealed that teams could still work with a new supplier if needed next year but said the Woking-based outfit was working on the assumption that Pirelli would be back.
“I think at this stage we are assuming - I don't know whether there's any foundation for that - that somehow the process will continue with Pirelli,” he said. “If it does then I think that we have wind tunnel tyres and tyres for next year that will support our car development process.
“If we were to get a late change from somebody else coming into the sport at short notice, of course we would work around that and work with whoever the FIA chose that to be. But certainly I think for all of the teams, not just McLaren, making sure that we understood exactly what the tyre shape, weight, was going to be, does affect some of the vehicle layout decisions.
“But it would be the same for everybody, so if somebody throws in a curveball at the last minute we'll all have to recover but there'll be some winners and losers in that.”
Neale added that he expected the current tyres – introduced by Pirelli in the wake of the British Grand Prix
debacle – to undergo their biggest test to date this weekend at Spa, with the circuit being more demanding than either the Nurburgring
or the Hungaroring.
“I think for this weekend all the teams will be reasonably alert that we are high load at Spa,” he said. “Pirelli are being rightly cautious about making sure that the teams operate within certain restrictive windows on tyre pressures and cambers etc and we're supportive of that process.
“I think we were all pleased to see that changes had been made - obviously after earlier in the season with the delamination issues - and that Pirelli have responded to that and worked to see that the sport remains safe. In terms of aerodynamics and the overall characteristics of the car it hasn't been a material performance change.”