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Pirelli, the official tyre supplier to Formula One for the next three years, will get the 2011 season underway in the United Arab Emirates with an unprecedented test. Never before in single-seater history has a test been organised at night and on an artificially wet track to recreate the conditions experienced in a typical rainy grand prix.

The Abu Dhabi test will take place a few weeks before the Valencia test, the first official group session of the 2011 season. The Yas Marina Circuit is one of the most fascinating venues on the Formula One calendar, a perfect setting for this extraordinary event that will call a halt to the development phase for Pirelli’s Formula One tyres. For the first time in the history of Formula One, the 5.55-kilometre Yas Marina track will be coated in water to create a unique 12-hour night test.

Abu Dhabi testing wets and intermediates
This is the last round of private tests for Pirelli, with the wet and intermediate tyres solely in use. Today’s session will start at 1800hrs and continue until midnight, with same schedule for tomorrow. Within the range of 2011 compounds, these rain tyres have been specifically designed for wet or damp conditions. In line with current FIA regulations, Pirelli dry tyres comprise four different compounds that have already been successfully tested.

Test driver Pedro de la Rosa will be at the wheel of a Toyota TF109, chosen by Pirelli to try out the entire new range of Formula One tyres. The TF109 was the last car to be developed by the Japanese manufacturer before it withdrew from the championship at the end of 2009, winning five podiums over its last season of competition. The test car will cover more than 1,000 km in extreme driving conditions with the rubber having to deal with severe stresses on a tricky wet and hot tarmac.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Formula One Team Director said: “This is a unique opportunity to witness a Formula One test car on track at night in the wet and on hot tarmac, in an entirely floodlit setting. We decided to do it this way because we want to challenge our rain tyres with the most difficult and demanding of all situations. And who knows, perhaps it could be a good idea for a future grand prix? These tests will provide us with useful information to finalise our tyre development process for Formula One. It is seven months since we started developing our tyres and five since we started with the actual testing. We are very satisfied with the results so far and we have also collected very positive feedback from the teams. Soon it will be time to get started in Spain where the first official test of the season will take place. We will use this opportunity to gather more feedback from teams and drivers and be ready for the Bahrain Grand Prix in March.”

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F1: Pirelli concludes the first Official Tyre Test

Each team today completed an average of 80 laps and 5500 kilometres on the Yas Marina circuit (Abu Dhabi), adding to the total of 5000 kilometres run yesterday, to conclude the first official tyre test for Pirelli: the exclusive Formula One tyre supplier from next year.

A total of 15 drivers were on track today: one per team apart from Force India, McLaren and Sauber, which used two drivers. As was the case yesterday the test started at 0900 and finished at 1700.
Each car had four sets of tyres at its disposal, two medium-compound sets and two softcompound sets.

The teams were backed up throughout the tests by Pirelli’s engineers and technicians. The Italian company put a dedicated engineer at the disposal of each team, in order to collect data and opinions that will be discussed with the teams and drivers. At the end of the day there was a final briefing between the teams and Pirelli to share information and focus more closely on some of the data that had been obtained. Pedro de la Rosa – one of Pirelli’s drivers in private testing along with Nick Heidfeld and Romain Grosjean – was also present to support Pirelli’s F1 squad. De la Rosa visited all the teams today to get the first impressions from the drivers and their individual opinions.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director, commented: “It was hard work, but a very positive and educational experience for us. We know that this was only our first test, but we think that we’ve passed it with full marks. The comments from the drivers are very encouraging: they especially enjoyed the performance of our front tyre, which is an area that we have worked on considerably. This was one of our objectives, and I’m delighted that we have hit our target. Throughout these two days we’ve tried out the medium and soft compound tyres and we’ve had good results from both of them, particularly in terms of wear rate. During the two days of testing here in Abu Dhabi we’ve racked up nearly 11,000 kilometres with all the teams: that’s more than we have accumulated in three months of private testing.

Pirelli’s testing programme will now continue at the start of December. The next private tests are scheduled to take place in Bahrain from 12-16 December, where Pirelli’s engineers will once more try out the various compounds in hot conditions. There will be another private test session in Europe during January, before all the teams reconvene at the beginning of February for the first official test.

Categories: Formula 1 Pirelli

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