Hamilton to test Pirelli F1 tyres in France as Mercedes looks to tighten grip on championship
Posted By: Editor   |  05 Sep 2017   |  11:55 am GMT  |  41 comments

Formula 1 drivers’ championship leader Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas will test Pirelli’s tyres at Circuit Paul Ricard in France on Thursday.

Having taken victory in the Italian Grand Prix, the first back-to-back winner of the season will focus his attention on testing Pirelli tyres in dry conditions.It’s something Mercedes didn’t do enough of with their race drivers last season compared to Ferrari and it cost them at the start of this season.

Mercedes will not be able to test any new parts or upgrades as the FIA specifies that “no test parts will be permitted and any modification or change to a test car will be shared with all the teams.”

Last year, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel personally conducted 2228km of tyre testing to gain a foothold in the 2017 championship while Pascal Wehlein did the donkey work for Mercedes; Hamilton ran only 50km on the new-for-2017 tyres in a ‘mule’ prototype car.

Hamilton told Autosport at the beginning of the season that testing a 2016 mule car on 2017 tyres “would have been a waste of my time.”

“I’m glad I didn’t do it. It made no difference.

“The fact is the [mule] car had so much less downforce and it was lighter than the car we have today, so it wouldn’t have put the tyres in the same window.

“The stuff I would have learned then, I would have to undo it and learn again.”

This season, however, Hamilton limped to fourth in the Russian GP, seventh in Monaco and fourth in Hungary. Tyre problems at the Hungaroring were a particular concern for the Briton and this upcoming test could provide solutions for Mercedes’ intermittent tyre woes going forward.

“I’ve got the test later on this week which is very rare for me, I’m not a tester,” said Hamilton.

“I’m looking forward to it. I offered to do it. So looking forward to that. Kind of.”

Mercedes heads to the Singapore GP soon (September 15-17) and the team is expected to find the race more difficult than the low-downforce, power-intensive British and Italian GPs where it took one-twos through Hamilton and Bottas; Ferrari is set to gain on the twisty street circuit.

All 10 teams will have taken part in tyre tests this season with two more tests remaining, unlike in 2016 when only Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull participated.

Sauber will participate in two days of the Mexico City test on October 31 to November 1, while Force India will also run one day of that test.

The final test of the season takes place at Interlagos, Brazil, with McLaren conducting two days of testing on November 14-15.

Have your say on Mercedes’ upcoming tyre test at Circuit Paul Ricard in the comment section below

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JA, I find it disingenuous associating lewis’ lack of tire testing as the sole reason for his poor qualifying in Russia, hungary and monaco. Bottas didn’t tire test at all last year and he did fine relative to lewis. Even with over 2k of tire testing, sebastian wasn’t able to exploit that information in a wet monza (qually) or overtake lewis in spa with 2 compound softer slicks. Strange commentary…

When was the last time, Fernando do any testing…maybe it’d help with his constant whining and eventual self imposed retirements.


It couldn’t have come at the most opportune time. Battle lines are drawn… Singapore here we go! #Game on


I like how the first paragraph of this article makes it clear to vettel fans that vettel tested the current tyres extensively last season, thankfully none of the vettel echo chamber vitriol has found its way here


I wonder if this testing is to see if they should go with a 2 stop strategy on ultra softs for Singapore. I know it’s a possible three stop race but maybe just maybe, this strategy could come into play for them. I do remember last year Ferrari did three stops and saved their Ultra’s for stops 2 & 3 if I am not mistaken. Lewis is good at tire management so just a thought. I could be way off base here.


Desperate times if Lewis is going to break off from his fabulous lifestyle to get his hands dirty testing tyres.


JA, are you disputing Hamilton himself, that it did indeed negatively impact Hamilton’s results in the beginning of the season that he had not contributed much in the teams pre-season tire testing? The Hamilton quotes you pull out appear to indicate so: aka

“… It would have been a waste of my time.”

. How come and on what base do you reach such conclusion now? Its not like no other drivers/teams are not challenged to get their tires ‘in the zone’ or getting the tire strategy optimally executed.


I would say “determination time”, he seems to have taken a lesson from last year’s debacle, which shows him in another, more positive light.


Under the adage nothing happens in F1 without reason, I have to believe this is going to help them in Singapore. I suspect that GP is the last really bad circuit for Mercedes, all the others are tracks where they have been strong over the last few years. In fact apart from the Lewis mishap at Malaysia, I do not think any other team has won a race at the remaining circuits after Singapore in the hybrid era.


Of course in the hybrid era no other team had won in Australia, Bahrain, or Monaco either before this year.

Mercedes only won Malaysia in 2014, while they won in Singapore in ’14 & ’16. Everywhere else you’re right, they’ve won all since 2014.


their 2017 car has an unusually long wheel base.


Good to see Lewis put in the hard yards at the test track with attention turning to 2018 as the team seek not to get caught out by the tyres like they did at the start of 2017.

Having said that, the Mercedes team owe Allison for solving their tyre woes because Allison is famous for building cars that work their tyres well.

Regards Singapore, perhaps the team will do better than expected because Hungary wasn’t supposed to suit the car and yet Lewis had some good race pace unlike Russia

Overall, if Lewis can become the strongest driver in the second half of the season, he will be tough to beat because the few drivers that have been the strongest in the first and second part of the season, also happened to have dominant cars in addition to teammates who weren’t very strong e.g. Vettel in 2011 and Schumi in 2004/2002 etc


Although being somewhat indifferent with regards Lewis I am encouraged to see him taking things more seriously this year.
Nico beating him last year by being on track,any track,any car any time may have been a blessing and a wake up call.
I don’t care how good you are, practice practice practice………


F1 can maker. Lewis did more miles than anyone in pre season testing last year, didn’t help him make the car more reliable…


It wasn’t the car that lost him the championship. It was himself and the mental implosion from Singapore onward.

The car is outside his control but his mind is fully within his control.

Yours sincerely Mike Drop.

The Snapchat weekend in Japan (Whispered).


Are you suggesting that Hamilton isn’t a very good tester then?


I can the howls of complaint from red faced fans from here. I do hope Lewis can now win in Singapore!


I do hope Lewis can now win in Singapore!

So do I – can you imagine the upset if he does?


@ C63….It’s in the bag, so no faux shock / horror surprise then? The oil burners are on the march.


Mercedes are simply ‘blowin smoke…….


so no faux shock / horror surprise…

If Hamilton wins in Singapore I promise no shock or faux anything. On the contrary, I will be irritatingly over the top with my celebrations 😄

Tornillo Amarillo

Testing 2017 or 2018 tyres now?


Given that Force India’s test is after the race in Dubai, you would hope it’s for 2018!


LEW-is-Hamilton burning the midnight oil xD

What a ridiculous championship where engine builder have two different rules changed in the middle of the season… meh!


Doesn’t any rule change apply equally to all PU manufacturers And if we are talking the Oil burn limit. All teams where aware of it Mercedes simply introduced a new ICE before the new limit came into force. Perfectly within the rules.


Sneaky devils




Meh meh meh meh 😋
Are you turning into a moaning Minnie?
Jeez if Ferrari were up on Top you’d be having kittens by now.
Mercedes all the way 👍👍👍👍
Nice to see Lewis Hamilton doing the testing. It’s the way forward.


Still with the LEW while covering yourself with the tiny “is”. Get over yourself Debra.
I’m glad Lewis is tyre testing. Cover all
Bases and hit a home run Mercedes 👍 😎


Can you explain where the rules are different for each manufacturer?


Cue, deluge of moans from the usual suspects, about Hamilton and Mercedes gaining a massive and unfair advantage at a critical point in the season.


@ rodger R …So it’s all down to ‘altruism’ then?


Do you know I had the exact same thought 🙃


@ C63…thank you. Not often do we agree. Another milestone hahaha You do know that your man said when asked about attending the test ‘I’m not usually a tester’ ?


Sorry, you’ll have to speak up…you guys are so far ahead, i can barely hear you!!


I’m pretty sure we will be able to hear you though – when the deluge starts!


What was that?


I expect that there’s no need for ‘plain black helmets’ at this test then.?


When I was in France at Le Mans this summer (sob, sunshine and heat is now a fading memory…..) I was disappointed to read in L’Equipe that next years French GP at Ricard will be run on the full length circuit, but with a stupid, fiddly slow chicane in the middle of the Mistral straight! Imola, Monza, Barcelona, Le Mans, Paul Ricard…………….not so much ruined, but certainly spoiled of their high speed appeal.

I’m not against chicanes per se, as at Suzuka and Estoril a slow ess bend allows outbraking opportunities, but the appeal of Ricard was always the mile long flat out blast on the straight named after the warm, dry wind that blows past Jean Alesi’s Rhone Valley vineyard. Bloody elf n safety………….


That chicane has been in place since 1986.


I miss the days when teams would have a car pounding around a test track on a Saturday afternoon after qualifying hoping to find some sort of advantage for Sunday’s race (often in a far distant country). The closest equivalent we have now is Antonio Giovinazzi doing FP1 for Sauber at the Hungaroring then heading back to Maranello to work on the simulator in order to assist Vettel & Raikkonen’s setup for qualifying the following day.


Was the lack of testing relevant? I doubt it, Bottas didn’t do any testing and was fine at all those races. It was just one of those things.

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