Formula 1 has opted to increase the number of 18-inch Pirelli tyre test days in 2021 from 25 to 30 ahead of their full-time introduction next year.
The tyres, which were originally set to be introduced in 2021 as part of a wide range of technical regulation changes, were pushed back to 2022 along with the other technical adjustments due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic also interrupted Pirelli’s plans to test throughout the season, with the postponement of the fresh technical regulations allowing it another year to construct a testing schedule.
Pirelli’s F1 boss Mario Isola spoke last year about the difficulties of fulfilling a full test schedule in 2021 amid the pandemic, however F1, the FIA and all ten teams agreed on Thursday to extend the number of on-track days to 30.
An 18-inch tyre testing calendar for this year has not yet been presented, but the Italian marque’s original 2020 schedule had already started this time last year with a Ferrari outing at Jerez.
A statement from F1 reads: “In order to permit a more equitable distribution of tyre testing during 2021, and taking into consideration the challenges presented to this programme due to the move to 18” tyres and the COVID-19 Pandemic, the FIA, following the request of Pirelli, proposed to increase the number test days allocated for such purpose from 25 to 30. This proposal was accepted unanimously.”
The 18-inch tyres were introduced to Formula 2 in 2020 despite the pandemic, and will be used once again for this season ahead of F1’s switch in 2022.