FIA to ensure teams gain no advantage from wet tyre test

The FIA will monitor the upcoming Pirelli wet tyre test at Paul Ricard in order to ensure that the teams taking part gain no advantage over their absent rivals.

FIA to ensure teams gain no advantage from wet tyre test
Wet Pirelli tyres
A wet and rainy pit lane
Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari
Wet Pirelli tyres
A wet and rainy paddock
Wet Pirelli tyres
Wet race
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF15-T
FIA logo
Race 1 Winner Stoffel Vandoorne, ART Grand Prix

Only McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari will take part in the test on January 25-26.

Other teams have been reassured that they will have to focus on the wet tyre testing on the sprinkler-soaked track, and not perform any extra running.

In a note sent to the teams recently, Pirelli said that run plans would be "entirely defined by Pirelli and agreed with FIA," and that "FIA observers [will be] present in garage.

"This is in order to monitor that only the tests dictated by Pirelli are performed. FIA observers will also have driver radio and full access to the team."

Crucially, Pirelli also says that cars will have to be to "2015 specification," adding that "no test parts allowed, no car/set-up testing is possible."

That will presumably include preventing the teams from trying an upgraded engine spec.

Intriguingly, the only manufacturer not represented at the test is Mercedes.

Pirelli has also made it clear that the results of the test will be supplied to all teams in the 2016 entry list: "Comprehensive shared end-of-test reports which contain the information requested by the teams will be anonymised.

"The reports would be sent to all the teams, not just the team that is testing. This will also include lap times and sector times."

It added that "no telemetry channels will be shared between teams but some information coming from the analysis of the telemetry (comparisons of prototype vs base) will be included in the Pirelli report."

As is usual with tyres testing, it will be a "blind test for the teams without details on the prototype they test. Only the necessary information to engineer the car is provided."

The tyre company has a very specific aim for the session, saying that the objective of the test is "to develop a new XWET product with an increased grip in drying conditions and without losing aquaplaning properties or performance in full wet.

"We will try to enlarge the 'performance window' of the XWETS and to improve the handling, reducing the snap oversteer."

Pirelli's own preference was that only three teams were involved in the test, stating that "the most important, but the also the most difficult, parameter to control is the level of water on track. For the above mentioned reason, we cannot have more than three cars on track at the same time."

Pirelli had left the door open for more teams to take part – with the possibility of splitting them so that they ran on only one day apiece – but in the end only three will be involved.

Pirelli also said that "the preference is for race drivers, and failing that test drivers."

McLaren has confirmed to Motorsport.com that Stoffel Vandoorne will drive for the Woking team, but there has been no official news from Red Bull or Ferrari as yet.

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Author Adam Cooper
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