Pirelli is to begin testing its new Formula 1 tyres ahead of its return to the sport in 2011 at Mugello tomorrow, AUTOSPORT has learned.
The Italian manufacturer will replace Bridgestone as Formula 1's sole tyre supplier from next season, and has engaged Toyota Motorsport to run a 2009-specification Toyota TF109 for its test programme.
Although Toyota and Pirelli are at Mugello today, it is understood that this is only an installation day and that the test will be held over two days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Mercedes GP reserve driver Nick Heidfeld is expected to drive.
Toyota is providing the operational platform for the test programme, and will do preliminary analysis of the data before passing it onto Pirelli. However, its deal with the Italian tyre manufacturer is only to run the car, and tyre development will be spearheded by Pirelli itself.
The TF109 chassis that Pirelli is using is believed never to have raced, but was used during pre-season testing in 2009. It will run a late-season aerodynamic package.
This deal will continue with further tests at venues such as Paul Ricard.
AUTOSPORT understands that Pirelli is using a 2009 Toyota after a recommendation from the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), which saw the TF109 as the only car available that was both relevant to current F1 machinery and not affiliated with any current team.