Pirelli's Paul Hembery says there are 'very big questions' to be answered regarding the 2017 technical regulations, saying faster lap times are 'pointless' if it doesn't improve the racing.
The Italian firm has made repeated demands for in-season testing next year in an effort to prepare itself for a change in the technical regulations from the 2017 F1 season, which are intended to slash lap times by up to five seconds.
With much of this gain expected to come from the tyres, Pirelli has been seeking upwards of 18 days of testing next year, though discussions are still ongoing over how it will be able to accurately design the tyres without a suitable machine built to the new regulations.
In the meantime, Hembery says Pirelli is in close contact with the teams to get an idea of how the cars will be designed, even if he says there is 'a big variance in answer' at the moment. As a result, Pirelli is having to base its designs on the 'most extreme' variance and adapt from there.
“It's an interesting area,” he said. “The indoor testing methodologies for tyre integrity has been extremely valuable and carries forward but I think the problem is if you ask ten teams what the cars will look like, you'll get a big variance in answer and you have to then make a decision on which one you believe is the correct one
“In our position, you have to take the most extreme, and, if you take the most extreme, then you're talking downforce and, if somebody hasn't got that downforce, then you might run into some challenges of getting tyres to work.”
Indeed, Hembery says there is still much to be determined from a tyre point of view, adding that faster lap times 'are pretty pointless' if there is no overtaking.
“There are some very big questions to be asked in many ways. The teams are having a lot of discussions about how they foresee the regulations and that can create a big impact on what you do with the tyres – if the load increases are substantial, then you've either got increase the air capacity of the tyre or increase inflation pressures to cope with the increased loads, so it's something that's not discussed at the moment.
“There's the more profound discussion about what we're trying to achieve. Going quicker is one thing but, if going quicker is predominantly in corners, then there's a lot of other questions that need to be asked to be sure that we're delivering what's needed for the public, which I guess is better racing. Quicker lap times if everyone is in a procession are pretty pointless – it's more exciting racing that is needed.”