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Pirelli: 'too early' to talk about extending F1 deal

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Tyre supplier Pirelli says it's too early to start talking about extending its exclusive contract with Formula One.

It was only last year that the Italian manufacturer signed a new deal taking their existing arrangement through to 2019.

With Liberty having taken over the sport, there have been reports that talks about a new deal are already underway. But Pirelli's head of motorsports Paul Hembery has moved to quash any such rumours this week.

"We're not even at the first race of this season, so it's too early to discuss the issue even at the level of our company," he said.

"Firstly we'd need to understand the direction of the sport, how the rules will change, what the geography of the championship looks like and so on. And the teams' contracts don't expire until 2020," Hembery added.

"I'm sure that the time to discuss all of these issues will come at the beginning of 2018."

Hembery was talking with the media at the Circuit of Barcelona-Catalunya during the first four-day pre-season test of 2017.

Pirelli had voiced concerns about developing new tyres for 2017 because of the lack of track testing time available. But teams have been generally happy with the new compounds Pirelli has developed for the new regulations.

Wet weather testing was less satisfactory, not least because of a lack of a sprinkler system in Barcelona. Pirelli says that it plans more work on those tyres and to keep improving their performance during the season.

"In Barcelona you have to use these trucks [to put water on the track] which as you know is not the most advanced technology.

"We can still see there are problems with the tyre warming so we're going to continue to search for solutions," Hembery agreed.

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