Pirelli is to begin testing its new Formula 1 tires ahead of its return to the sport in 2011 at Mugello tomorrow. The Italian manufacturer will replace Bridgestone as Formula 1's sole tire supplier next season, and has engaged Toyota Motorsport to run a 2009-specification Toyota TF109 for its test program.
Although Toyota and Pirelli are at Mugello today, it is understood that this is only an installation day and that the test will be held over two days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Mercedes GP reserve driver Nick Heidfeld is expected to drive.
Toyota is providing the operational platform for the test program, and will do preliminary analysis of the data before passing it onto Pirelli. However, its deal with the Italian tire manufacturer is only to run the car, and tire development will be spearheaded by Pirelli itself.
The TF109 chassis that Pirelli is using is believed never to have raced, but was used during preseason testing in 2009. It will run a late-season aerodynamic package. This deal will continue with further tests at venues such as Paul Ricard.
Pirelli is using a 2009 Toyota after a recommendation from the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), which saw the TF109 as the only car available that was both relevant to current F1 machinery and not affiliated with any current team.