Pirelli seeking 2011 model for tyre tests
F1 teams association FOTA is to investigate ways of keeping its members happy while providing the sport's tyre supplier, Pirelli, with a specification of test 'hack' that more closely mirrors the latest breed of grand prix car.
The Italian tyre giant has been using a 2009-spec Toyota for its initial development programme - running Nick Heidfeld, Pedro de la Rosa and Romain Grosjean at various circuits and in various man-made conditions.
With technical changes being implemented for 2011, the firm feels that testing with the new model would be a significant step.
Despite being presented with an offer to update the TF109 to something closer to this year's cars - which will run with adjustable rear wings and KERS, but lose the double diffuser and F-duct, amongst other changes - Pirelli is hoping that another solution can be realised, citing the cost of the wind tunnel-driven redesign.
Instead, Italy's Autosprint magazine reports that Pirelli is hoping FOTA decides on one of two options currently on the table, despite internal fears among the teams that valuable design secrets could be lost.
The teams' association is reportedly pondering between recruiting a team from outside F1 to run a test car designed by a current competitor - though with technology fiercely guarded by the constructors this route has its difficulties.
A second option - to use a different team's car for each Pirelli test - is fraught with similar complications, leaving FOTA with a tough task.
The ongoing test programme may be good news for veteran de la Rosa, who admitted last week that he had few options in place once his current Pirelli deal concludes at the end of the month.
The Spaniard, who has been sharing recent testing duties with Grosjean, has said that he would be willing to take a third driver role anywhere on the grid, but has nothing on the table.