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Pirelli calls for more F1 testing ahead of tech regulation overhaul

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Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli has called for increased testing ahead of the proposed overhaul of the technical regulations for the 2017 season.

F1 is set to enjoy its most seismic technical change since the introduction of the new V6 turbo power units next year, with a series of radical alterations planned for the regulations.

Currently, testing is restricted to just a handful of days across the course of the year in a bid to reduce costs and keep the grid on a relatively level playing field.

In 2016, teams will enjoy eight days of testing in Barcelona before the first race of the year, and will get a further four days during the season. Private testing is prohibited.

Pirelli confirmed in a statement issued on Thursday that it would be holding a meeting with all of F1’s major stakeholders next week in a bid to outline its plans for the 2017 season.

“A meeting will be held at Pirelli’s Milan headquarters next week in which key Formula 1 stakeholders will take part,” the statement reads. “The meeting will be to discuss target tire performance guidelines in the light of the 2017 regulations.

“Pirelli sees this meeting as being of vital importance in order to further consolidate the close collaboration that got underway last year with the FIA, FOM, and the drivers. Of the more than 250 championships in which Pirelli takes part worldwide, Formula 1 is the biggest challenge.

“In 2017 the technical aspects will become even more complex, so Pirelli is even more convinced of the need to carry out more on-track testing.

“This is a factor that has been extremely limited in recent years, despite the important evolution of the cars and subsequent increase in performance.

“All these are vital steps towards tire development that takes into account the future evolution of the cars and added performance, which will be particularly notable in 2017.

“This will allow an even more effective use of the advanced technology that makes Pirelli the world leader in performance tires.”

Pirelli has played an instrumental role in spicing up the on-track spectacle in F1 since taking the tender in 2011 by producing compounds that degrade quickly and force drivers to carefully manage their tires.

However, it has faced a great deal of criticism as a result, with drivers complaining that they are unable to push flat-out during races.

As quoted by crash.net, Pirelli’s Mario Isola said that if F1 requests a more durable tire that allows drivers to push throughout the race, it would be happy to provide this.

“It’s a choice. This is part of the target fixed by the Formula 1 environment and as we always said we want to follow what F1 asks of us,” Isola said.

“This is another aspect of the target of development for the future. If we had to produce long-lasting tires we have to focus on that, if we have to produce tires with degradation we have to focus on that.”

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.