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.”

Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

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Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have both completed one-day tests for Williams in a 2014-spec Formula 1 car as part of the team’s evaluation for its 2018 line-up.

Williams is known to be considering a number of drivers to partner Lance Stroll at the team next year, including existing racer Felipe Massa.

Massa is thought to be going up against Kubica and di Resta for the 2018 drive, with the latter duo taking part in a private test at the Hungaroring in Budapest this week to aid the team’s evaluation.

After missing out on a 2018 Renault drive due to lingering questions about his physical condition six years after his rally accident, Kubica tested for Williams at Silverstone last week before getting back behind the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car in Hungary on Tuesday.

Kubica’s test was called “productive” by Williams, with the Pole handing duties over to Mercedes DTM racer di Resta on Wednesday.

Di Resta raced in F1 with Force India between 2010 and 2013 before returning to DTM, but made a surprise return at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Williams when Massa was taken ill. Di Resta impressed on short notice, putting himself in contention for a full-time return to F1 in 2018.

Williams has one of the few remaining seats on offer in F1 for 2018, with Massa’s future known to be in question after a quiet campaign thus far.

The Brazilian had been due to retire from F1 at the end of last year, only for Williams to recall him after Valtteri Bottas’ late move up to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement.

Massa has made clear he would like to keep racing in F1 next year, but only if the deal is right and if Williams is determined to keep him.

While Massa, Kubica and di Resta appear to be the three leading contenders for the seat, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe made clear in Japan there was a “large range” of drivers under consideration.

“You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at, but honestly, the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so, and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”