Pirelli, Formula One's official tyre supplier, has announced that it will use a Renault R30 chassis this year to test its tyres. The car replaces the three year old Toyota TF109. Pirelli have yet to sign a new test driver, but the company hopes to decide on this later this month.
The 2010 Renault will be adapted to simulate the latest technical and aerodynamic regulations, as Pirelli develops new tyres for the future. With official in-season testing limited to one session at Mugello in May, a test programme with a contemporary car will play a vital part in Pirelli’s tyre development throughout the year.
In order to ensure complete impartiality, the test team will be run by Pirelli with no team member connected to a current Formula One team, in the same carbon black Pirelli livery as was used last year.
Four to five tyre tests are anticipated for this season, just as was the case last year, in Barcelona, Jerez, Spa and Monza. The first test is due to take place in May, with the remaining test dates still to be decided.
All of the current teams will be invited to send one observer to each test, although no data or other information about the test programme will be supplied.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “It was clear from an early point that we needed a more modern solution for our test car, as while the Toyota TF109 has served us extremely well, it is now three years old. Technology as well as the regulations have moved on considerably since then, and the Toyota is no longer able to generate the same sort of forces that we need to simulate in order to meet the current requirements of Formula One. At the top of our agenda is the need to treat the teams entirely equally, which is why the test team will be run independently and all the teams will be able to send an observer to the tests. Our new test car will be running to current fuel regulations, with no refueling, so we will be able to simulate a full race distance and the change in balance with the car and tyres. The final piece of the jigsaw will be to recruit a test driver, and we hope to announce this within a month. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Toyota, who have given us exceptional support as we developed our range of tyres for 2011 and 2012. They have played a significant part in our achievements in Formula One to date, and now we look forward to building on this in the future with a new range of tyres.”