Teams could be forced to make tyre choices blind in 2017

Formula 1 teams could face a headache of having to make their tyre choices for the first races of 2017 completely blind, with Pirelli saying that nominations may have to be made before the rubber has been tested.

Teams could be forced to make tyre choices blind in 2017
Pirelli tyres
Pirelli tyres
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director, Mario Isola, Pirelli Racing Manager and Massimiliano Damiani, Pirelli Chief Engineer on the grid
Fans in the grandstand
Pirelli tyres
Pirelli tyres in the pitlane
Sahara Force India F1 Team tyre blankets
Pirelli tyre detail

Under new regulations introduced this year, teams are given pretty wide scope to choose which compounds they want to use at each grand prix.

But with a 14-week advance notice period needed for Pirelli to manufacture and ship tyres for flyaway events, there is the prospect that 2017 choices may need to be sorted before next year's cars have run for the first time.

The situation was similar this season, but with no big change in the tyre compounds, it was not difficult for teams to know what to expect.

For 2017 though, with all-new cars set to deliver laptimes that are five seconds faster, there will be no previous data to fall back on.

Totally different

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery thinks that teams have not yet woken up to the huge complication that could come on the tyre front for 2017.

"Next year we have completely different tyres, and I don't think the teams have quite worked out when they are going to see the tyres and when they need to make their choices for Melbourne," Hembery told Motorsport.com.

"We have got to make them in advance, and we can't do it after testing in February. I am sure they are going to wake up to that soon! So we are going to have some fascinating situations going forward next year."

November deadline

Although Pirelli has succeeded in a deal to get 25 car days of testing this year to prepare for 2017, the final specification of tyres will not be nailed down until after the end of the season.

Hembery has suggested, however, that Pirelli may request an extension for supplying the final design to ensure it gets its products spot on.

"While the teams probably will not see the tyres until February next year our technical deadline is actually November," he said.

"If we do not feel we are where we need to be in November maybe we can extend that, but it is certainly a conversation we can have.

"Teams will not have cars ready until February, so we will probably have to find a way of air freighting for the first race, but even then it going to be very, very tight.

"And it depends when in February the first test is. If it is four weeks [before Melbourne], that will be pushing it for the first race."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
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