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2017 tyre testing too big a distraction for McLaren

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McLaren decided not to take part in Pirelli's 2017 tyre testing programme as it believed designing mule a car would have been too much of a distraction.

Testing of 2017 prototype tyres got underway this week when Ferrari and Red Bull ran mule cars fitted with the new, wider rubber. In order to be ready for the challenge of 2017, Pirelli will complete 24 testing days with Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes before the end of the year, including a final validation test at Abu Dhabi with all three teams present.

The three teams have all developed mule cars to accommodate the wider rubber and simulate the increased downforce loads in 2017, but McLaren opted to reject the invitation to do the same.

"In the end you have to balance the costs and the distraction for your resources," McLaren racing director Eric Boullier explained. "Where we are now obviously, we believe it was better not to get distracted by doing a new car and [Pirelli] testing.

"There is some learning to do the testing, but most of the data is shared to the non-testing teams and I think that, today, we are not where we want to be so we'd be better focused on making our car faster."

Williams' technical director Pat Symonds believes the teams testing will be at an inherent advantage next year after his team considered taking part in the tests but ultimately withdrew for cost reasons. However, when Boullier was asked if he thought McLaren would be at a disadvantage by not testing, he simply replied: "No."

Boullier said McLaren has now shifted its focus to 2017 with all future developments for the 2016 car aimed at providing some carry over to next year.

"There will obviously be some car developments after the shutdown - every development that we are doing is obviously applicable to next year's car so now we have focused on this and next year's car."