Teams back down over tires as Ecclestone pushes for Pirelli test

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The three F1 teams who blocked Pirelli’s attempt to introduce a new construction of tire in response to earlier failures say they will no longer oppose the move.

Meanwhile plans are afoot for Pirelli to be granted the chance to conduct two three-day tire tests to prevent a repeat of the potentially dangerous failures seen during the British Grand Prix.

Ferrari, Lotus and Force India previously opposed Pirelli’s plan to switch from tires with steel belts to Kevlar as they claimed it would hand their rivals an advantage. Pirelli wanted to make the change after a series of delaminations occurred earlier in the season.

However in the light of the multiple failures at Silverstone the trio have removed their objections. Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali said: “It’s important to move forward and solve the issue because it’s something that is very important for all of us.” Ferrari were among the teams to suffer a failure on Sunday.

Formula One commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt have agreed to grant an exception to the ban on in-season testing to find a solution to the problem.

“[Pirelli have] said they’d like to sort it out, but they don’t have a chance to do any testing because of these silly restrictions we have,” said Ecclestone.

“But I spoke to Jean Todt over the weekend and he has said ‘Let them test’.

“So he has allowed them to run two three-day tests between now and… well, when they want, to try to do something for next year, as well as this year, so that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

Follow @KyleMLavigne