Pirelli is keen to offer Pastor Maldonado and Giedo van der Garde test roles in order to help develop its 2017 Formula One tyres, per multiple reports.
According to Autosport, the pair recently had two days of running at Mugello with a GP2 car, focussing on assessing GP2 construction tyres. Motorsport.com adds that these were tested “with early prototype compounds for 2017”.
Pirelli, which was recently granted extensive track time following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, has announced on Tuesday that it has begun testing 2017 F1 tyres in earnest with Ferrari's Jean-Eric Vergne piloting a 2014-spec F14-T at Fiorano. This initial phase will see several teams carry out some tests for Pirelli using past F1 cars and their own drivers.
The Milan-based company then plans on modifying a 2015 car in order to increase downforce levels in preparation for the new technical regulations. That’s when Pirelli looks to add Maldonado and Van der Garde to its roster.
The Venezuelan had a contract with Lotus/Renault for the 2016 season but ultimately lost his seat after his sponsorship backing dried up. Maldonado has recent experience of the Pirelli tyres, having taken part in 96 race weekends from 2011-2015 and won the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix.
Van der Garde only drove for one year in F1, with the Dutchman racing for the now defunct Caterham team in 2013. He then served as Sauber’s reserve driver before a well-publicised legal row led to his departure at the start of the 2015 campaign. Van der Garde is now competing in both ELMS and WEC with the G-Drive Racing LMP2 outfit.