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Pirelli reschedule tire test with McLaren

Red Bull Formula One team members move Pirelli tires near the pits at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka October 10, 2013, ahead of Sunday's Japan
Red Bull Formula One team members move Pirelli tires near the pits at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka October 10, 2013, ahead of Sunday's Japan

By Alan Baldwin

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Pirelli have rescheduled a tire test with McLaren for Italy's Vallelunga circuit next month after Formula One's governing body rejected plans for it to be held in Austin, Texas, ahead of the U.S. Grand Prix.

A Pirelli spokeswoman said the Nov 11-12 test, of next year's tires and using a 2011 McLaren car, was subject to approval by the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

McLaren sporting director Sam Michael told reporters at the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday that a test driver would be in the car with non-race going personnel in attendance at the circuit near Rome.

"We will use our heritage group to run that car, it's an old car that we use for demos and that," he said.

Previous plans were abandoned after rival teams feared it would be unfair for McLaren to test at the Texas circuit before the November 17 race there.

Pirelli, who have carried out tests with other teams including a controversial 'secret' one with Mercedes in Spain in May, need track time to develop their 2014 tires after coming in for considerable criticism about their current product.

The Italian company, who were asked to make less durable tires to encourage overtaking and increase strategy options, changed the tires after a spate of blowouts in the British Grand Prix in June raised safety fears and threw the sport into crisis.

Problems and complaints have continued however.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso said in South Korea last weekend the tires lasted barely a lap in qualifying before losing performance while McLaren's Sergio Perez added his voice to the criticism this week.

The Mexican suffered an explosive blowout in the Korean race after wearing a hole in the surface of the tire when the wheel locked under braking.

"What is totally unacceptable is that we see tires exploding," he said.

"This is the first time we hear that, from a lock-up, the tire can explode," added Perez.

"Then we hear that this is normal. I think this is not normal at all."

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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