Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says he backs a push by drivers to overhaul the sport's tyres in a bid to bring back flat-out racing.

By: Jonathan Noble, Formula 1 Editor

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says he backs a push by drivers to overhaul the sport's tyres in a bid to bring back flat-out racing.

F1's leading drivers and team representatives are due to meet with Pirelli bosses at a meeting in Milan early next month to discuss tyre plans for 2017.

Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) chairman Alex Wurz has already made it clear that drivers want Pirelli to move away from the current high-degradation rubber and instead deliver products that allow them to push hard for entire races.

Speaking to the BBC, Ecclestone said he backed the drivers' view "a million percent", as he urged as many senior representatives as possible to attend the Pirelli get-together and do more to assist the company with its products.

"I have already told Pirelli that," he said about the desire for more durable rubber.

"The bottom line is Pirelli supply the tyres in F1, they are the tyres we should use and the teams and drivers should work with Pirelli to perfect the tyres."

Looking ahead to the meeting, he said: "Whatever drivers want to turn up can turn up. Whatever teams want to turn up can turn up. It will be the president of Pirelli who is there, not a messenger."

Pirelli listening

Pirelli has already made it clear in the wake of the GPDA stance, that it is open to doing whatever the sport wants it to do.

Racing manager Mario Isola said earlier this week after the Paul Ricard wet tyre test: "As we've always said, we want to follow what F1 asks us. This is another aspect of the target of development we have for the future.

"It's a choice. If we have to produce long-lasting tyres, we need to focus on that. If we have to produce tyres with degradation, we have to focus on that.

"We have more than 180 championships where we have different targets."

Testing plans

Ecclestone said he sympathised with Pirelli over the frustrations it has had about a lack of testing in F1, as he called on top teams and drivers to help the company out.

"I want someone who can drive on the limit who can come back with an answer," he said.

"Pirelli agree with me 100 percent. That's what they have asked for - a top team with top drivers, not a team that can't push to the limit and certainly not a driver who can't."

Pirelli has only this year been able to conduct a bespoke wet weather tyre test, but still has no answer yet about how it will be allowed to prepare its 2017 rubber.

Deal debate

Although Ecclestone confirmed a new deal with Pirelli at last year's Russian Grand Prix to continue its supply in F1, the contract has not yet been officially confirmed by the FIA.

Talking about the situation, Ecclestone said: "It has been agreed. I don't know whether I have signed, or [if] it's signed.

"The funny thing with the president of Pirelli and myself, we shake hands on something and that is like a signature as far as I am concerned and as far as he is."

Ecclestone also said that, despite some teams wanting to switch to Michelin, he was set on sticking with Pirelli.

"They wanted to run F1," he said of Michelin. "They wanted to say exactly how everything should be run."

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