- 2011 season
Pirelli to use GP2 car as F1 test-bed
Pirelli has confirmed it will use the 2011 Dallara GP2 car for testing its new Formula One tyre compounds until the test ban is lifted post Abu Dhabi.
There had been speculation that the Italian tyre manufacturer, which was announced as F1's new supplier on Wednesday, might use Toyota's redundant 2010 chassis as its test car but Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery quashed those rumours.
"There has been a bit of press about [us using the Toyota chassis] but it has probably come from them because they are trying to get someone to use the car maybe..." Hembery told AUTOSPORT. "No we are going to start with a GP2 car, the new GP2 car.
"Having discussed with the F1 teams the level of performance of the new GP2 car, it's not so far off as you've probably seen. As a test-bed, particularly for integrity reasons, reliability and stability, it's probably a good starting point.
"The Toyota car often gets mentioned because it is a bespoke car that would have got run this season. The negative is that it hasn't done a full shakedown pre-season in the sense of the other teams, and for us at the moment we have never seen any data as to how reliable it is, costs or anything.
"One extreme comment was that we were going to buy the Toyota F1 team but the reality is we've just had a couple of emails saying they are available if we want to discuss it.
"We need a baseline that we can trust so that we can start building information," he continued. "Maybe we can convince the teams that a three-year-old car, or something like that might be more suitable alternative if they can all agree on which brand it is. BMW, for example, might be another excellent choice."
Pirelli also said it would be keen for Formula One to move towards larger tyre sizes in the future. A possible switch to 18 inch wheels was mooted during the debate over who would replace Bridgestone and managing director Francesco Gori hopes teams might eventually agree to increasing the size.
"We have had quite detailed discussions with teams," Gori told AUTOSPORT. "Of course, not for the 2011 season or 2012, but possibly, possibly starting from 2013, to progressively move to bigger diameters - maybe step by step and not suddenly to 18 inch, because that's going to be impossible to redesign the car.
"But you may have 15 inch wheels or different wheels front and rear. We will offer some alternatives to the teams.
"But I'm sure there is the room to develop better shape tyres in line with current developments. We are leading in the supercar business, and today you don't go below 19 and 20 inches there."
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