Formula One has agreed to allow Pirelli more track days to test next year’s tyres after the sole supplier threatened to quit at the end of the season if a rule change was not ratified on Monday.
“It has been approved,” said a spokesman for the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) after a Formula One commission meeting.
The motorsport.com website earlier quoted Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery as saying there would be insufficient time to prepare the wider tyres planned for 2017 if the commission failed to agree changes.
Pirelli won a tender for the 2017-19 contract in October but that has yet to be signed off with the International Automobile Federation (FIA) pending agreement on testing schedules.
“When I land (in Europe after the Chinese Grand Prix), if I don’t have an email confirming it’s approved, or something else positive, then you will be calling me for a different story,” said Hembery.
“This is it. We cannot do our job without this. We cannot deliver. We are being asked to make very significant changes, by changing the driveability of the tyres.”
Hembery told Reuters in a text message exchange shortly after landing that he had yet to receive any official notification.
Motorsport.com said FIA race director Charlie Whiting had recently visited senior Pirelli representatives in Milan to push the testing agreement forward.
It added that an agreement had been reached in Shanghai, during the weekend’s third round of the championship, for five teams to join a programme to run from July for a period of 25 car days.
Formula One is preparing for major rule changes next season aimed at making cars faster, harder to drive and with more downforce.
As part of the plans, wider tyres will be subjected to heavier loading and faster cornering speeds.
Teams are currently subject to strict limits on track testing before and during the season but the regulations now allow for 12 days of tyre testing. Pirelli were also seeking clarification on what cars and drivers they can use.