Pirelli is now edging close to finally sealing its new deal to stay in F1 beyond the end of this season.
The deal with Bernie Ecclestone is already done for 2017 and beyond, but details over the next contract with the FIA have held up the rubber stamp.
The biggest issues are over testing, with the Italian supplier demanding much more running in order to prepare bigger tyres for the much-faster cars of 2017.
When asked how those talks are progressing, Pirelli’s F1 chief Paul Hembery said in China: “I think we are moving forward.
“At the beginning of next week the final decision will be taken, including a contract with the FIA.”
Indeed, obvious progress has been made in the Shanghai paddock, as it emerged that Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren-Honda and Williams have all put up their hands to modify 2015-spec test cars to simulate the speeds of 2017.
Hembery confirmed that “five teams” have decided voluntarily to help with the 2017 tyre development, with the first test outing already tentatively pencilled in for “the end of July, around Hockenheim”.
And crucial wind tunnel tyres in 2017 specification have now been released to the teams, allowing design work to press ahead on the cars for next year.
But that doesn’t mean everyone is happy with Pirelli, with Romain Grosjean even calling the mandatory minimum tyre pressures imposed for Shanghai “ridiculous”.
“It’s like a piece of wood, it’s just not driveable,” said the Haas driver.
And Grosjean was not the only driver complaining, so Hembery said it is possible the mandatory pressures will be tweaked.
“The process is that on Friday night we will get telemetry data from the teams, compare it with the results of computer simulation, and check to see if the prescribed pressure settings are correct,” he said.
© RIF | GMM