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.