DETROIT—The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile has moved quickly to allow Formula One race drivers to participate in what was originally scheduled to be the Young Driver Test at Silverstone—but only "provided it is clear that the purpose of them doing this is to test tires for Pirelli."
The test, schedule for July 17-19, may also be extended by one day. Despite the change of circumstances, Mercedes AMG F1 will not participate, as a result of its FIA International Tribunal penalty.
The FIA World Motor Sport Council will change the sporting regulations to make the test legal, and crucially also change the rule which says tire specifications can only be changed with unanimous agreement from teams.
The complication is that all the teams have development programs lined up for the rookies to conduct—and it remains to be seen whether race drivers will be allowed to try new parts while ostensibly testing tires, and whether or not the teams share the same views on how to conduct the test. It may prove very hard to police.
This is also a rare instance of FIA President Jean Todt getting involved directly in a major issue and actually commenting on it.
Explaining the changes, the FIA said, "The test, scheduled for July 17-19 at Silverstone, will now allow teams to field drivers who have competed in more than two F1 World Championship events. The test may also be extended by one day.
Pirelli Tyre S.p.A. is under the gun to explain a series of spectacular tire failures at last weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Company representatives declined to speculate too much on the causes other than to insist a change made in its bonding process was not responsible.