Japanese and USA Grand Prix set to be extended for tyre testing

Japanese and USA Grand Prix set to be extended for tyre testing

The second free practice sessions for Formula 1 at the Japanese and American Grand Prix will be prolonged to accommodate more tyre testing.

This comes as Pirelli is working on modifying the tyres for 2023 with a considerably stronger front in order to reduce the understeer characteristics of the existing design.

Pirelli has worked with certain teams during bespoke tyre testing after F1 races so far this season and has one more scheduled with Red Bull following the Italian GP, it also wants to test prototype versions of the 2023 design at a race event.

Pirelli has agreed to extend second free practice at Suzuka and Austin by an additional 30 minutes to give teams time to test the new rubber, according to Mario Isola, the company’s head of auto racing and Formula 1. The FP2 session in Mexico will be used as a backup alternative if the weather affects one of those sessions.

Isola expressed his optimism that the strategy for prolonged running would succeed in enabling teams to concentrate on tyre testing without forgoing their pre-race preparations.

“FP2 will be 90 minutes, not 60 minutes, so we have a bit more flexibility,” Isola explained.

“In terms of running it will be very similar to a normal FP2 for them… I believe that with the current plan, we have a good solution for the moment.”

“Obviously it is the first time so we need to check if it works or not, but the idea is for the future to keep all these kinds of testing available.”

“So when we have the European season after some races, Tuesday, Wednesday, we can use some available teams for proper tyre testing. “

“Clearly we have to talk also about PU mileage. We cannot increase the power unit mileage compared to their plants and so on.”

Isola acknowledged there were challenges with changing the FP2 timeframe but welcomed the concept anyway.

“It’s complicated, because any time you find the solution you’ll find also problems in the solution.”

“The idea to use FP2 is a good idea: you don’t oblige the teams to move to a different location, you don’t oblige them to stay longer, like Tuesday, Wednesday at the circuit, but then you have to use the same car they are using for the rest of the weekend, with the same engine, so the mileage is an issue.”

“Every time that we have an idea you have to discuss it for weeks to find a final solution that is working.”

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