Formula One's official tyre supplier Pirelli has moved to deny allegations that it has appointed Pastor Maldonado as a test driver.
Several reports claimed last week that Pirelli was keen to offer development roles to the former grand prix winner, as well as to ex-Caterham and Sauber man Giedo van der Garde, in order to prepare for the 2017 regulation changes that will see the introduction of wider cars and tyres.
“News stories that claim we have appointed a test driver are not true as (until late July or maybe August, when current cars will be used with the first 2017 larger size tyre prototypes) we will be using modified older cars from teams, who will mostly nominate their own drivers to carry out the testing,” Pirelli said in a statement ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.
Having recently been granted extensive track time for this year, the tyre supplier started testing its 2017 compounds in earnest last week, with Ferrari development driver Jean-Eric Vergne piloting a 2014-spec F14 T at Fiorano.
It is understood the Italian company then plans on having its own test car after tweaking a 2015 machine in order to increase downforce levels in preparation for the new technical rules. According to Autosport, that’s when Pirelli looks to hire a test driver in a bid to get consistent feedback.