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GP2 could switch to low-profile tyres if F1 does the same

GP2 could switch to low-profile tyres next season, if Formula 1 decides to do the same in the long-term.

Pirelli plans to start a track-testing programme of larger rubber with a GP2 car soon with a view to a possible change.

AUTOSPORT understands that should F1 decide to commit to moving to 18/20-inch tyres for either 2016 or 2017, Pirelli will push for GP2 to make the change because it sees the series as the ideal place to understand the demands of such rubber and accelerate development.

"It clearly needs a substantial amount of development work," said Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery when asked about the potential for racing with larger tyres in F1.

"We're going to start a programme on 18-19-inch now with a GP2 car.

"Probably the question mark for them is power steering, because they have a steering limitation, but that's something we are going to progress.

"We will work intensively on that in the next few months."

GP2 has traditionally shadowed F1 in terms of car concept to ensure that it retains its status as the leading feeder series and allowing future grand prix drivers to gain experience on such rubber would be a logical move for the category.

Were it to change to the low-profile rubber, this would be similar to the change made in 2006, when it switched from grooved to slick Bridgestone rubber ahead of F1 making the change three years later.

By using such rubber in GP2, Pirelli could gather significant knowledge about racing using larger tyres.

As well as making a significant change to the balance of the car by sharpening the bite of the front axle on turn-in, while the low-profile tyres present significant challenges in terms of managing pressure.

The requirement for stiff tyre walls will also make such tyres very sensitive to camber change.

Hembery would not comment on the possibility of GP2 switching to race on bigger wheels, simply saying "watch this space" when asked by AUTOSPORT about the chances of doing so.

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