Pirelli predicting interesting second half of season

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Pirelli’s motorsport chief Paul Hembery is predicting an “interesting mix of strategies” during the second half of 2013 following the tire test at Silverstone this week.

Following the series of tire failures at the British Grand Prix, Pirelli has opted to re-introduce its 2012 design in order to ensure the safety of the drivers whilst maintaining the 2013 compounds (i.e. wear rates). As a result of this change, the teams were allowed to use their full-time drivers at Silverstone this week during the ‘young driver test’, and Hembery is pleased with the work completed.

“We think that everybody achieved their objectives from these three days of running at Silverstone. From our point of view, we made the most of this opportunity to gather data that will help us best meet the needs of the Formula One teams in the future,” he said in a statement from Pirelli.

Hembery did hasten to add that the times may not be wholly representative of the new tires nor the pecking order.

“The tires all ran reliably throughout the three days of the test, although of course you cannot compare the times to those seen in the British Grand Prix because the track conditions and other car parameters were different.

“The established performance of the 2012 structure, consolidated with the speed of the current compounds, is set to provide an interesting mix of strategies for the races ahead.”

The new tires will debut at next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.