Ferrari have announced that Sebastian Vettel will take part in the extra Pirelli 2020 tyre test only days before the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Scuderia will be joined by Mercedes and Red Bull at the Circuit de Catalunya for the test, with the track which hosts the Spanish Grand Prix selected for its more abrasive surface in comparison to Paul Ricard where Pirelli did their last scheduled test.
The additional testing session was authorised by the FIA World Motor Sport Council as Pirelli look to deliver on compounds that degrade less for 2020.
Esteban Ocon will also be in action representing Mercedes, while Red Bull will use their junior driver Jake Dennis.
“The target of the test is to finalise the development for 2020,” Pirelli’s Formula 1 boss Mario Isola told the F1 website.
“We made a proposal to have an extra test to test a new compound with a wider working range, especially on the hard [tyre] levels.
“That is not possible in Paul Ricard – that was the last test in September – and, luckily, three guys were available to run the test, so we will have one day each, [one for] Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. That is a very good opportunity for us to finalise the product for next year.
“Testing is very important for us. We need to validate our tyres on track. We cannot change the product during the year. We have to do the best we can do during the season in order to homologate a good product for the following season and the only opportunity is to have a proper test calendar.”
For Vettel this test will seriously beef up his schedule as the only one of the three drivers to have a place on the 2019 grid.
But, while Ferrari’s sporting director Laurent Mekies admits that logistically the test will be tough for Vettel and this mechanics, it was the team’s “duty” to agree to partake.
“I think it was only our duty to be able to do this test when they actually ask us to go and test this latest evolution,” he explained.
“So, yes, logistically it is complicated but Sebastian will drive there and at the very end of the test he will just fly straight to Japan. But we felt it was, again, a duty towards everything we are asking to Pirelli to support the fact that we all want better tyres and that was the best way to achieve that.”