Pirelli issues quit threat over lack of testing

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Pirelli is not willing to continue in the sport beyond 2016 without a guarantee that it will be allowed to conduct more in-season testing next year.

Two tyre failures at the Belgian Grand Prix put Pirelli in the spotlight at Monza, but the Italian tyre company has come out fighting and has used the public glare to make demands for the future. Pirelli is currently going head-to-head with Michelin to become the sole tyre supplier in F1 between 2017 and 2019 and has now made it a firm condition of its offer that it needs more testing starting next year. Currently only two four-day tests are planned for 2016 ahead of the start of the season, but Pirelli wants six three-day tests during the season in order to focus on 2017.

"Without a testing programme we won't be able to stay in the sport," Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery said at Monza. "It is a condition. We cannot continue in a scenario where we can't do our work."

Formula One is hoping to introduce wider rear tyres in 2017 to accompany faster, more aggressive cars. But Hembery said that could only be achieved with a series of tests using representative machinery and the top drivers in the sport.

"We would need, I would suggest, six sessions of three days each for next year and then into 2017, then you have pre-season testing.

"You all know we have been talking about this for many years, and it always ends up going one step forward and a few steps. We can't do that anymore, we can't not have the ability to have solutions in hand. Sometimes you might not need to change anything in the season but you think, 'what about if we changed that or changed this' and trying things that may become relevant in the future.

"If we had in-season testing now, we would already have the new super-soft and hard compound done months ago, and still we are arguing about whether we might be able to test it in Abu Dhabi and where we test the hard. That's just crazy.

"These are the things we could have done after Monaco when we already thought that we needed to make a change for next year, we could have already been out there doing it and have it solved. It is very, very important.

"It's also very important that we have the main drivers involved in those testing programmes, we need their input and they are the ones that push to the limit and go that little bit extra more than the other drivers. We want them to be involved in the decision making."

Asked when Pirelli would need confirmation of extra testing in order to commit to a 2017 programme, Hembery replied: "It's going to have to be pretty quick, isn't it?"