Pirelli gets chance for data on ’14 tires with Bahrain test

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After an arduous 2013 season, it appears Formula One tire manufacturer Pirelli will have ample opportunity to get it right for 2014.

As part of the FIA’s raft of regulation changes issued today, Pirelli was given the green light to stage a three-day test session next week at the Bahrain International Circuit. All F1 teams have been invited to the test and six of them have accepted: Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Force India, McLaren and Toro Rosso.

The 2014 Pirelli compounds were slated to run during the early free practice sessions for last month’s season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. However, steady rains at Interlagos effectively kept the running of those prototypes to a minimum.

But with today’s decision, Pirelli should be able to attain enough data on the new tires to properly set up for the rounds of pre-season testing in January.

And that means we should avoid embarrassing situations such as the multiple tire explosions that marred the British Grand Prix and put Pirelli’s place in the sport in serious jeopardy. Following the chaos at Silverstone, Pirelli created a new specification of tire that debuted at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The company had been adamant about testing their new 2014 tires in advance of multiple technical introductions for next season such as V-6 turbo engines and new energy recovery systems. At the Indian Grand Prix in October, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery even said that his group wouldn’t be able to supply tires for 2014 without more winter tests.

Fortunately, the FIA has heeded Pirelli’s call for tests. The last thing F1 needs with such an important season on the horizon is “Tiregate: Part 2,” and the FIA’s allowance of the Bahrain test should help in putting that unsavory scenario to rest.

Ticktum takes dramatic Macau GP win as leaders crash on last lap

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British youngster Dan Ticktum took a dramatic victory in the 64th Macau Grand Prix on Sunday after the leading two cars crashed out at the final corner on the last lap of the race.

In an incident-packed race that saw front-row starters Joel Eriksson and Callum Ilott clash early on amid a litany of Full Course Yellows, Brazilian racer Sergio Sette Camara was able to move into the lead ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Maximilian Günther.

Günther’s pace dropped off in the closing stages as he struggled to keep his tires alive, causing a train of cars to form up behind him including McLaren youngster Lando Norris and the Red Bull-backed Ticktum.

Ticktum pulled off a brilliant double-pass on Norris and Günther around the outside of Lisboa to move up to third, with Sette Camara and Habsburg dueling for position right the way to the finish.

Habsburg attempted a brave pass around the outside of the Mandarin kink, but was forced to wait until the penultimate straight before he got a tow and was able to pass for the lead.

Drama then struck when both Habsburg and Sette Camara ran wide and crashed into the wall exiting the final fast right-hander by their own accord, paving the way for Ticktum to charge through to victory.

Norris and Ralf Aron benefited from the crashes to score second and third place respectively, while Habsburg was able to get to the checkered flag in fourth on three wheels.