The latest update on the race to supply Formula One teams with tyres from next season is that Pirelli is trying to get hold of a racing car to use for testing.
Apparently, the Italian tyres manufacturer is believed to be in advanced-stage negotiations that would allow it to use a Toyota car for tyre development.
Pirelli is the front-runner in the race to take over from Bridgetone, who will stop supplying the tyres when their contract runs out at the end of the season, having edged ahead of rivals Michelin.
The whole saga has been dragging on for a couple of months, with the teams waiting to see which company succeeds Bridgestone and negotiations within Formula One’s upper echelons have continued for far longer than expected.
Pirelli’s attempts to acquire the Toyota car will be seen as a sign of its confidence that it can deal with Formula One’s two governing bodies – the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile and Formula One Administration Limited.
The rules on tyre usage in Formula One were changed several years ago so all racing teams began using identical tyres. The aim was to reduce the time and money spent on development by individual teams.
Pirelli has a strong Formula One pedigree as a tyre supplier from the first championship race in 1950 and 44 grand prix-winning cars have been kitted out with Pirelli tyres since then.
However, there have been no Pirelli tyres used in Formula One since the early 1990s.