Race drivers will be allowed to test at Silverstone
Formula 1 race drivers will be allowed to take part in the forthcoming young driver test as an emergency measure to help Pirelli overcome its tire difficulties.
Following the multiple blow-outs at the British Grand Prix, the FIA announced on Monday that it was seeking approval for an immediate change to F1’s testing regulations. It will ask the World Motor Sport Council to change the rules that forbid race drivers testing during the season. This is likely to be a formality.
That will open the way for teams to call upon their race drivers at the July 17-19 test, although it has been stipulated that regular drivers will only be allowed to work on tire development and cannot assess car improvements.
In light of the changes to the format of the test, the FIA has suggested that it could now be extended by a day, which would allow teams to both run their regular drivers and assess young talent.
Although the Silverstone test is now no longer the official young driver test, Mercedes has agreed not to run there as part of its punishment for running a 2013 car at Barcelona earlier this year when it tried to help Pirelli with its delamination issues.
As well as the change to the test, the FIA will also ask for a revision to the technical regulations that limits changes to tire specifications during the season as those that have unanimous approval of the teams. It was this clause in Article 12.6.3 of the rules that meant Pirelli was unable to change its rear tires at the Canadian Grand Prix to a Kevlar-belted version that would have helped alleviate the delaminations encountered earlier this season.
While the majority of teams were in favor of the move, Force India, Ferrari and Lotus resisted attempts to change the tires because they were concerned about the competitive implications.
From now on, the FIA wants to have the ability to unilaterally change the tire specifications when it believes there are necessary grounds to do so.
Speaking about the moves, FIA president Jean Todt said: “Our priority is to ensure safety for all in Formula 1 and we believe the incidents at Silverstone represent a genuine safety concern for the drivers.
“We have thus taken the decision to alter the young driver test to allow teams to use drivers they deem fit to carry out tire development work in a bid to solve the problems we saw at the British Grand Prix.
“I believe it is fitting to carry out this work at the circuit upon which the issues were manifested.”
The FIA has also asked Pirelli for assurances that there will be no repeat tire problems at this weekend’s German Grand Prix, or at any race in the future.
Pirelli is expected on Tuesday to announce the results of its investigations in to the British Grand Prix failures, and what action it is taking ahead of the race at the Nurburgring.
Info: Autosport.com, Image: Mercedes GP