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Formula 1 2017 tyre rules: The key questions and Pirelli's plans

Pirelli has just four months to make a product for Formula 1 it would normally spend two years in development for road cars

That is the enormity of the task facing the Italian manufacturer over the next few months as it prepares for the sweeping changes to the 2017 regulations.

The tyres for next season will not only be wider front and rear, the construction will be different in terms of geometries and polymers.

With track testing to commence for the first time on the new rubber from August 1, Autosport looks at what is in store for Pirelli, and what it is set to provide.

WHAT DO WE KNOW SO FAR?

The primary factor is the front tyres will grow in size by 60mm, going from 245 to 305mm, with the rear tyre increasing by 80mm, from 325 to 405mm.

Indoor testing has taken place, with data supplied to all the teams, while since May, Pirelli has conducted initial track tests on prototype materials and structures, albeit using 2012-14 specification cars, and current tyre sizes.

From August 1 through to November 29 there will be 10 test sessions - both wet and dry - spread over 24 days. Three teams, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, will take part.

WHAT CARS ARE BEING SUPPLIED, AND WHICH DRIVERS ARE INVOLVED?

The cars are all 2015 models, albeit significantly modified. Major changes include the suspension, with a new track width to accommodate the wider tyres, and an increase in downforce.

The plan is come the final test in Abu Dhabi on November 29, the tyres in use will be the final specification ready to go on the full 2017 cars for pre-season testing next year.

As for drivers, Pirelli has made clear it wants race or reserve drivers who possess a full understanding of the current car. It considers the feelings of experienced drivers to be crucial to getting the feedback necessary to enhance development.

WHY ARE ONLY THREE TEAMS INVOLVED?

A request from the FIA did go out to all teams asking for availability, and there were also responses from McLaren, Williams and Force India, as well as the three teams actually taking part.

Various factor on the teams' side, such as cost, time and resources, meant only Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull could go ahead with being involved.

SURELY THOSE TEAMS AND DRIVERS WILL HAVE AN ADVANTAGE OVER THEIR RIVALS FOR 2017?

Williams technical director Pat Symonds recently suggested as such, but Pirelli and the FIA are adamant that will not be the case as the tests will be totally blind.

All tyres will be unmarked, and with the exception of Pirelli, no one will know what is inside the prototypes. Pirelli is even controlling the fuel loads.

All data - with the exception of telemetry as that is confidential information relating to the car but including driver comments, lap times, sector times and any relevant parameters - will be supplied to all the teams.

Pirelli is adamant the teams will have a lot of information, and there will be a good system set up for exchanging data.

CAN PIRELLI ACCURATELY REPLICATE THE ANTICIPATED PERFORMANCE OF A 2017 CAR ON A MODIFIED 2015 CAR?

Pirelli believes so. It has been working closely with all the teams over the past few weeks.

In that time the first estimations of loads and speed were provided. Pirelli responded with its first tyre model. The teams then adjusted car models in relation to the tyre model, with that exchange continuing until a point was reached when both converged.

From there the tyre was then calibrated, so come the first track test Pirelli will have a validation of its model, and a realisation as to how far it has to go.

The teams are also providing simulations of the expected increase in performance over the course of 2017.

From this year to next year there is an anticipated increase in load by around 15-20%, which will all be in cornering. Top speed is anticipated to be the same as at present. Although there will be an increase in drag given the design of the cars, that is expected to be countered by the evolution of the power unit.

Pirelli also has to take into account the increase of the static weight of the cars for 2017, which will be an additional 20kg.

To that end, Pirelli is building into its tyres what it describes as "a margin", bearing in mind it only has simulations at present, to ensure when the tyres hit the track they will be able to cope with the demands placed upon them.

Over the course of the tests it will then be a case of finetuning until it arrives at what it hopes will be the finished product in Abu Dhabi.

WILL TYRE LIFE BE ANY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WE'VE SEEN SO FAR?

Yes. The request from the teams has been for completely different degradation behaviour, and with no overheating, so allowing a driver to push.

It is a completely different philosophy for Pirelli which, upon its entry into F1 in 2011, was asked to make degrading tyres that would result in two to three pitstops per race.

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