The FIA will allow the use of modified 2021 cars to test Pirelli’s 18-inch tyres, which means McLaren can take part.
As part of the new regulations set to arrive for 2022, Formula 1 cars will be switching from the current 13-inch tyres to an 18-inch replacement.
So to help Pirelli with the construction of this new generation of tyres, they have been given 25 days of testing to share across the teams who would use an adapted mule car in order to complete tests on the proposed 18-inch compounds.
Initially, teams would not have been able to use their 2021 challengers for the tests, which instantly created a problem for McLaren as they switched to Mercedes power over the winter, meaning they now do not have access to a Renault engine for their old challengers.
But Motorsport.com are reporting the FIA have approved the use of 2021 cars in the tests once the season is under way, allowing McLaren to take part.
The report states there are currently no plans for testing to take place before the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28, which means the other teams may well choose to go down that route also and use their 2021 cars with adaptations.
McLaren are getting to grips with the Mercedes power unit after rekindling that relationship, one which was last seen in Formula 1 back in 2014.
While McLaren certainly expect benefits from returning to their former supplier, timing admittedly was not the best since chassis development has been frozen for 2021, forcing McLaren to already use up their development tokens.
Also added to the mix is the fact pre-season testing has been slashed all the way down to three days ahead of the 2021 campaign, as opposed to the usual two weeks.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) January 23, 2021
“It’s probably the least ideal situation to change power units,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, quoted by GPFans.
“For one, the reduction in testing is not ideal and then the token system, while we think we’ll be taking a step forward with the Mercedes power unit, that comes in the form of losing our tokens to develop other areas of the car.
“So it would have been better if there wasn’t the token system and it was our usual two weeks of testing.
“That being said, the work that’s being done with Mercedes, they have been excellent. Our team is very happy with the collaboration, communication and Mercedes’ clear customer-centric approach.”