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Crucial week for F1 rule change disliked by Verstappen

After the race weekend at Silverstone, an important three-day test is scheduled. Are we going to see a major tyre change next year?

The latest Pirelli tyre test at Silverstone this week will be a crucial one before Formula 1 makes a decision on whether to ban tyre blankets from next season. The plans have been met with some resistance from drivers, including Lewis Hamilton who branded it "dangerous" and most recently George Russell said there could be more crashes from the move . Several other drivers including Max Verstappen also spoke out against the rule change, saying that he did not find them "enjoyable" when testing them in at the US Grand Prix last year.

Isola: This will not be the final test

The construction has changed since the drivers ran the first prototype in Austin, as Pirelli has taken onboard feedback and aimed to develop tyres which take around three corners to reach a safe temperature. The test at Silverstone this week will be crucial in determining whether they go forward with the rule change, with findings set to be presented to the teams, FIA, and F1. Pirelli Motorsport Director, Mario Isola, explained: "We have [the test] Tuesday/Wednesday. It’s not the final test because we have other tests planned for the rest of the season – but after this test the F1 Commission is going to decide if, for 2024, we ban the blankets or not. "We are doing a report: an executive summary for team principals so they don't have to read 40 or 50 pages with a summary of the test. Obviously we will also supply all the data to the tyre expert of the team. "Then I hope they are going to decide based on the data. If we want to continue for another year with blankets, we will do that."

Is F1 ready for it?

Pirelli has yet to test the tyres in all conditions given the limited opportunities, explaining that they are still in the "early stages" of development. "It depends on what you mean with ‘ready’. The new tyres, or the tyres that work without blankets are different than the current tyres," said Isola. "You cannot expect that you have a warm-up phase that is exactly the same as the warm-up phase of the current tyres that are heated at 70°C. We didn't have the possibility to test the tyres in all of the conditions – because we don’t have cold conditions at the moment. "When we tested in cold conditions – I remember at one test with Mercedes, for example, in Paul Ricard – it was at the beginning of the season with the compounds that are not the final version of the compounds. So we were in the early stages of the development." Isola stressed that racing without tyre blankets will be different for the drivers, with Pirelli working to understand what impact it will have on race strategies such as the undercut. "We have to accept that, when tyres are running without blankets, they are different. We need to understand which is the impact on race strategies – because obviously we don’t want the show to be damaged by the new situation. "But the direction that we agreed with all the F1 stakeholders is to reduce the impact on the environment and make the sport more sustainable, and this is what we are doing."

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