Pirelli will allow teams to test a new rear tire construction during practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, with the view of racing it from Silverstone onwards.
Tire failures for Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll in Azerbaijan led to an investigation after criticism from some teams, and Pirelli found that the running conditions of the tire was the cause. While the Italian manufacturer stopped short of blaming Red Bull and Aston Martin, it led to a technical directive that outlined how a tire must be run, as well as an increase in tire pressures.
This year’s front tires are a new construction but the rears were unchanged due to changes to the floor regulations, but Pirelli will now test an updated construction that is more robust during Friday practice in Austria next week.
“We are providing two sets per car of the prototypes.” Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola said. “It’s in the regulations from last year, if we want to test a new prototype tire during Friday practice we can send a request to the FIA. It’s the same prototype, two sets per car, and they can be used in FP1 or FP2.
“The new construction is designed to run at a lower pressure than the current one, because by being more robust you can run it at a lower pressure.”
The new construction also incorporates some elements that have been developed for use in the 18-inch tires that will be introduced next season.
“Obviously what happened in Baku was evidence that we had some parameters not completely under control, which is why he have the TD, and the other action was to consider the possibility to introduce and evaluate different and more robust construction. That was just an idea, then we had a look back at what we did at the end of last year in terms of development and there was the idea to test this construction. So it is giving us more margin, basically.”
If the test is successful, Pirelli will introduce the new construction from the British Grand Prix onwards. If wet weather prevents the test from taking place, then the test might be delayed further because a Sprint Qualifying trial at Silverstone means teams only have one Friday practice session in the morning before the qualifying session for the Sprint will take place in the afternoon.