A landmark meeting starring the biggest names in formula one took place in Milan on Tuesday. Pirelli had sent out the invitation to the sport's leading authorities and figures and also disgruntled F1 drivers, who want key changes to the tyre characteristics for 2017.
F1's official tyre supplier, in turn, is pushing for the drivers' support in ramping up track testing this year, arguing that better tyres will require extensive running on the limit. "That's what they have asked for," Bernie Ecclestone confirmed to the BBC a few days ago, "a top team with top drivers, not a team that can't push to the limit and certainly not a driver who can't."
Sky Italia reports that at the Milan meeting, the main news to emerge afterwards is that the sport's stakeholders did indeed agree to Pirelli's request for more testing. It is a clear step forward for F1 as it eyes major regulations changes for 2017, even if the plan for radically-faster cars hit a roadblock at an earlier Heathrow meeting.
Amid a now-looming end of February deadline for the 2017 rules, and the lack of clear progress in London, F1 took the opportunity to ramp up the importance of Tuesday's Milan meeting. Bernie Ecclestone, Jean Todt, Sergio Marchionne and many other leading F1 chiefs were there, Sky Italia reported, along with driver representatives including Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
Also there were Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Felipe Massa and Daniil Kvyat, Sky Italia added. "The important news," the Italian report revealed, "is that Ecclestone supported Pirelli's request to schedule testing, and within a month there must be an agreement on the new (2017) rules." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing