Formula 1 teams will get an early chance to try out Pirelli's 2013-spec tires with a trial of its new rubber during the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.
Pirelli is planning a big overhaul of its products for next season, with a new stiffer construction set to offer teams a more predictable platform than they had this year. The new characteristics could have a big impact on car design for next year, which is why Pirelli is going to give teams two sets of tires for each car in Friday practice at Interlagos.
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn believes the Brazil test will be vital for preparations for 2013, judging by how important the understanding of tires was for this year's F1 championship.
"The tires appear as though they are going to be quite a lot different," he explained. "They [Pirelli] are calling them more a radial than the current tire, but we don't know enough detail about the construction yet.
"The numbers they are giving us show that there is a softer construction, although the compounds I gather will be quite similar...so we are expecting quite a different tire for next year. That is why the test in Brazil on Friday is so important."
Although the actual shape of the tires will be identical to this year, the stiffer construction means that it will behave very differently under load, so it is vital teams get an early indicator of what impact that will have on car performance and aerodynamics.
"The shapes are not dramatically different but the way the tire will move or distort under load will be different," added Brawn. " So the loaded shape will be different, and we have to get into that and understand what is happening. There will also be new wind tunnel tires to represent the new tires."
The extra sets of tires that teams will get on Friday means that any teams left in a championship battle may find that they have to choose between focusing on work for the race weekend itself or getting in early preparation for 2013.
When asked if the test would compromise those in the title battle, Brawn said: "It is their choice! That is one of the few perks of not being in it!"