Pirelli granted chance to test F1 tyres for 2016 and 2017

Pirelli has finally earned tyre-test concessions ahead of the 2016 Formula 1 season, AUTOSPORT has learned

Pirelli granted chance to test F1 tyres for 2016 and 2017

The Italian manufacturer has long argued for assistance from the teams in terms of development, and it has made progress following Monday's F1 Strategy Group meeting.

The group - comprising F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, FIA president Jean Todt, along with Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull, Williams and Force India - has unanimously agreed to a two-day test following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Also unanimously supported is a two-day 'wet' test in January at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France.

Both tests are crucial for Pirelli as it formulates its plans for dry and wet-weather compounds ahead of next season.

Also on the agenda, but with the details yet to be formalised, is Pirelli's request for a number of days testing during the course of 2016 ahead of major tyre changes for '17.

Tyre width for '17 will be 425mm for the rear and 325mm for the front, an increase of 100mm and 80mm respectively, as part of the quest for cars to be five to six seconds per lap quicker.

Only recently Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery suggested the ideal plan would be a total of 18 days, with six sessions of three days apiece.

The Strategy Group, however, has suggested a compromise of four two-day tests, a reduction of 10 days from Pirelli's suggestion.

Much of the technical detail also still needs to be ratified, in particular regarding how '17 tyres could be fitted on to '16 cars.

Pirelli has yet to be confirmed as supplier for the new three-year deal that runs from 2017-19, but it is having to negotiate now should it be given the nod.

Ecclestone is currently negotiating with Pirelli and rival Michelin regarding the commercial aspects of their bids.

An answer is due by the next World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris on September 30, when the tyre test plans will also be confirmed.

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Author Ian Parkes
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