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2017 rules success rests on more durable tyres

A number of drivers have tried the faster 2017 cars in simulators, and are excited about what they have experienced thanks to the increase in downforce and mechanical grip that is coming.

But Alonso is more cautious about what he has experienced and he suggests F1 could be wasting its time if lap times are hindered because tyres degrade too much.

“Obviously the car is faster,” he said, when asked by about his experience in the simulator.

“It has more grip coming from the aerodynamic improvements, coming from the tyres, but everything is a guess at the moment – especially with the tyres. And more so for our team because we didn’t even try the tyres.

“So I think we need to be very calm about the prospects of next year, and try to arrive at the test, and see how the tyres perform – which is probably the biggest question mark.

“[It’s] because this year, in Q2 or Q3, you put the supersoft tyre on, with five kilos of fuel and you go out there and it is a fantastic feeling in the first sector.

“But then on lap two, you are three seconds slower – and that is what we don’t like in a way.

“For next year, it will not matter, or I don’t care, if we are five seconds quicker in the first lap and then three seconds slower in the second lap because we will be doing the lap times we are doing now.

“So I think we need to wait and see what is the final 2017 feeling.”

McLaren disadvantage

Alonso has also reiterated that he believes McLaren has missed out by electing not to take part in Pirelli’s 2017 tyre test programme.

Currently, only Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari have been running mule cars to help Pirelli with its development of next year’s rubber.

“There is always something to learn, there is always the feeling you have with the tyres,” he said.

“Even if they are old cars, I am sure the teams are learning how the tyre behaves, how the air flows off the tyres.

“These are things that they don’t say because they are taking an advantage, but they are taking an advantage!”

When said the McLaren opted not to take part because it did not want to divert resources, Alonso said: “I think we wanted to take part but how you need to take part for McLaren and Honda was not possible, I think.”