Stefan Johansson has labelled Sebastian Vettel's extensive Pirelli testing a "very smart" move.
Pirelli are introducing wider tyres for the 2017 season which,along with new aerodynamic rules, will see lap times drop dramatically.
The former Formula One driver believes that Vettel will gain more understanding of the tyres and use it to his advantage when they come into play next season.
"The fact that Pirelli has Vettel doing testing, making every single run he can make will pay off," Johansson said. "I’ve done lots of tyre testing in the past and it’s absolutely the best way to move things forward for driver or a team performance.
"Pirelli will love the input that Vettel gives them because engineers want as much input as you can possibly provide," he added. And without a shadow of doubt, those tires will be based largely on his input. As I’ve said over and over, on race day the tires are more important than any other feature of a car.
“If Vettel gets a tyre that suits his driving style, that he’s 100 percent comfortable with, he won’t have to spend as much time getting his car to react the way he wants. He’ll be able to attack right away.
“It’s an incredibly smart move on his part and incredibly stupid on the other drivers’ parts not to dedicate the time to testing if it’s available to them.”
Johansson compared the tactic to another successful German who Vettel idolised.
“That’s exactly what Michael Schumacher did. Every chance he had to test, he took it... and some," he said
“I remember the Ferrari people used to tell me that if the team had a few days off Michael used to literally call them and tell them that he wanted to test something or that he had an idea for trying something new, asking if they could have his car ready for a test in a couple days."
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