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.

WATCH LIVE: IndyCar practice and qualifying at Laguna Seca

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For the first time in 15 years, Indy cars will be racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and the stakes have never been higher.

Tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Monterey is the final race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, and with four drivers mathematically eligible for the series championship, there will be plenty of story lines to follow.

Current series points leader Josef Newgarden enters this weekend with a 41-point lead over second-place Alexander Rossi.

A California native, Rossi attended his first IndyCar race with his father as child at Laguna Seca when he was three years old.

He now hopes to win his first IndyCar championship at the track where he fell in love with the sport, but after suffering a broken bolt in practice 1 yesterday, he will need to find speed in P3 and qualifying today in order to put himself in the best position to fight for the title.

Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon are also in contention to win the championship this weekend, and another title would only add to their already illustrious IndyCar careers.

Leigh Diffey, Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell will call today’s on-track action from the booth, while Marty Snider, Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller will report from the pits.

Here is today’s schedule:

(All times are Eastern)

Saturday 9/21, 1 p.m. ET, IndyCar Practice 3, NBC Sports Gold 

Saturday 9/21, 4:30 p.m. ET, IndyCar Qualifying, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold

Saturday 9/21, 6 p.m. ET, Indy Lights Race 1, NBC Sports Gold 

 

For sessions on NBC Sports Gold, be sure to have your username and password handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.