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McLaren turned down Pirelli 2017 tyre test – Boullier

Eric Boullier says McLaren declined the offer of taking part in the Pirelli tyre tests to focus its development efforts on its 2017 challenger.
Eric Boullier says McLaren declined the offer of taking part in the Pirelli tyre tests for the 2017 compounds in order to focus its development resources on next year's challenger.

Pirelli has begun testing with next year's wider and fatter tyres this week with a two-day test with Ferrari at Fiorano before switching to Red Bull for a further two days at Mugello.

Both teams used its respective 2015 cars with some modifications to simulate the propose 2017 regulations, as Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Gutierrez took part for Ferrari and reserve driver Sebastien Buemi on duty for Red Bull.

McLaren's racing director Boullier says the team opted to not put its services forward to help with testing as it was consider a distraction on its target of battling back towards the front in F1.

“In the end, you have to balance the costs, the distraction for your resources where we are now obviously and we believe it was better not to get distracted by doing a new car and [Pirelli] testing,” Boullier said. “There is some learning to do the testing, but most of the data is shared to the non-testing teams and I think that we are not where we want to be so we'd be better focused on making our car faster.”

Pirelli's test programme has been confirmed between Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes until the end of the year but it has been speculated 2017 winter tests could take place in warmer climates rather than the traditional location of Circuit de Catalunya in Spain to ensure more relevant testing conditions for the tyres.

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Boullier says McLaren understands and supports the need for warm weather testing for Pirelli but has raised the issue of weighing up the costs against the benefits for teams.

“You have to balance it as there is obviously a cost to test overseas,” he said. “Our first target for McLaren and Honda is to have a good layout for the track to suit the technical targets when we are testing.

“Warm weather would suit Pirelli more as they need to have better weather to test, so I think there is maybe a commission agreement to test.”

In January, McLaren took part in a two-day Pirelli wet tyre test alongside Red Bull and Ferrari ahead of the 2016 F1 world championship.
by Haydn Cobb

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August 07, 2016 1:36 AM

Seems like a good call to me. The time they would have spent preparing, testing and debriefing could definitely be put towards developing their car, both this year's and next year's. If they were at the front end of the field, they would need to participate in these tests in order to maintain whatever edge they have but considering their situation, they probably have more to gain from internal R&D than go driving in a year old car that will be pretty much obsolete when the new tyres are introduced. Plus, the data from the tests will be made available to all the other teams so it's not like they're missing out.

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