Pirelli Motorsport has confirmed that all the 10 F1 teams will have a mule car in 2020 to test the 18-inches tyres as they hope they bring it down to Abu Dhabi as well.
Pirelli is to get 25 days to test the 18-inches F1 tyres in 2020 to prepare for the 2021 season. Unlike 2019 where only eight teams participated – apart from Renault and Haas – the 2020 season will see all the 10 teams committing to run for 2021.
Essentially, they have no choice but to devote their time as any data on the new tyres will be crucial for 2021 and beyond. Pirelli confirmed the participation of all the teams when asked by FormulaRapida.net during a press meet in Abu Dhabi GP.
Each team will build a mule car to test the Pirelli 18-inch tyres with Renault and McLaren having already undertaken separate tests this year. Mercedes will be third team to run it at Yas Marina circuit on Sunday (December 8) and Monday (December 9).
They will share the track with FIA Formula 2 Championship as they prepare for the 18-inch tyres from 2020 itself. The three-day post-season F2 test at Yas Marina will run the current compound, though, as it wasn’t possible for Pirelli to build so many tyres just yet.
The F2 teams will test the Pirelli tyres on Thursday (December 5), Friday (December 6) and Saturday (December 7), right after F1, who will run on Tuesday (December 4) and Wednesday (December 5). It will be a crucial programme for the latter though.
“We will test the 18-inches after the F2 test,” said Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director. “First we have the F1 test for two days and hen we have three days with F2. The F2 will test the current tyres as it’s more for drivers [to learn] and so on.
“Then we will have two days of test with Mercedes with the mule car towards 2021 with the 18-inches. We will alternate the sessions with F2. And that will be the last test with the new tyres for both F1 and F2. Post that, we will start with the F2 production.
“For 2020, the F2 teams will modify the car in the winter and will run 18-inches all-through from the first shakedown. As for F1, we won’t be testing the 18-inches during the Barcelona winter test but we will test in specific sessions.
“[As known] we have 25 days. We have the plan which we shared with the teams and we came to an agreement. The plan is now defined and the FIA will convey it. All F1 teams are making a mule car. That is very good because we will have a problem otherwise.
“If everybody confirms to bring the mule car in Abu Dhabi in 2020, then we can plan a test with 18-inches. Obviously, it is impossible at that point to make a comparison between 13-inch and 18-inch because you have to modify the F1 car.
“But it’s good for teams to have two days of testing, or next year, three days of testing with the new cars with the 18-inch.” Isola reiterated that the F1 teams hasn’t yet confirmed if they are ready to bring the mule car to Yas Marina to the Pirelli test in 2020.
At the same time, the Italian explained the issues they had with the F2 car while testing the 18-inches and also how they can use the 2020 season with F1 development. “I think we can learn a little bit, for sure it is a lot useful for drivers but also for us.
“That is because the level of stress and the energy is lower, but we have a full season using the 18 inches tyre so we can learn from F2. If this kind of information is easily transferable to F1 is a different story, but we can learn for sure.
“As for the F1 tests, the only concern at the beginning was with steering because with the new Pirelli tyres it was quite hard and F2 cars don’t have power steering. But now they made a small modification with the suspension and it’s a lot better.”
Here’s what Pirelli said for the Abu Dhabi 2020 tyres test
Transcription done by Duncan Leahy