Formula 1’s growing schedule is making it harder for Pirelli to arrange in-season tests to develop new tyre compounds.
The sport’s official tyre supplier is close to finalising plans for this year’s tests but says the expanding and increasingly international schedule is making it harder to schedule them.
The 2022 F1 calendar will feature 23 races once a replacement for the cancelled Russian Grand Prix has been announced. Next year’s schedule could include a record 24.
This year’s first in-season test is due to take place following the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix later this month. Other tests are likely to take place after European races.
However Pirelli’s head of motorsport Mario Isola told RaceFans it is becoming more difficult to find time in the schedule for testing.
“The logistics is a nightmare, honestly, because with the 23 races and races in Europe, overseas and back in Europe and again overseas, it’s a lot more difficult than in the past. The room to accommodate tests is not very big. But we are trying to do that in the best possible way.”
Isola pointed out Pirelli cannot always test at tracks immediately after races. “For wet weather testing we need specific tracks like Paul Ricard or Fiorano where you have sprinklers so you can wet the track properly.
“They are not often connected to a race so we need to find a couple of days here, a couple of days there where they can travel to Paul Ricard or to Fiorano or to Magny-Cours and test on wet. But we need also to develop the wet and intermediate tyres.”
One advantage Pirelli enjoys this year is that teams will be able to use cars developed for the current regulations, rather than the ‘mule cars’ which had to be used last season while the new machines were being developed.
“Now we can test with the real cars, so it’s a bit better,” said Isola. “I’m not complaining about the mule cars – obviously in that situation, the teams did an excellent job to provide us mule cars. But mule cars were different and so now we need to understand if tyres that we developed with the mule cars are okay.”
F1’s budget cap, which was introduced last year, further restricts teams’ ability to test, Isola added.
“We always try to discuss with the teams if there are new ideas on how we can test,” he said “Obviously we have some constraints, we have some requirements, we need to test in a certain way to be sure that development is done in the right way. On the other side they struggle to find time, people, now there is a budget cap.
“There are a lot of elements that if you put everything together it is difficult to find a solution. But I believe we have good ideas and probably we are going to make it on paper to formalise it in the next few weeks.”
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