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VETTEL WINS HIGH-SPEED SPANISH DUEL AT BARCELONA

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel has won a tense high-speed duel at Barcelona, beating McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in a hectic race to the chequered flag, with the two separated by just a handful of seconds from start to finish. Such was their pace, using a combination of Pirelli’s new PZero Silver hard and PZero Yellow tyres, that with 20 laps still to go they had already lapped everybody up to sixth place with just 1.5 seconds between them. After their final stops, they emerged less than two seconds apart with 16 laps remaining. The McLaren driver, who like Vettel stopped four times, set fastest lap using the new PZero Silver hard tyre to challenge his Red Bull rival all the way to the flag, ending the 307.104-kilometre race only 0.6s behind. The duo battled with less than a car length between them for the last 10 laps, providing one of the most memorable finishes to a grand prix this season as they carved through the traffic together. Webber started the race from pole using the PZero Yellow tyre, but the new harder PZero Silver tyre came into its own at the end of the race. The leading runners all chose to use the new hard tyre at the end of the race, due to the performance gap compared to the rapid soft tyre, as had been planned. This however provided an increased range compared to the previous version of the hard tyre, with the potential for the new tyre to run for up to 25 laps. Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said: “It was certainly a dramatic finish to the race, with the battle between Vettel and Hamilton going down to the final lap once again, using our new PZero Silver tyres. Both of them drove magnificently, treating us all to a fantastic spectacle, and it was thrilling to see such an amazing start to the race from Fernando Alonso and Ferrari as well. Further down the field we also saw several other interesting variants on strategy, notably from Lotus Renault and Sauber. While it was a great race, we’re still not happy with the idea of having four pit stops as three is our target. This was caused by the performance differential between the hard and the soft tyres, which prompted the teams to opt for a sprint strategy, as can be seen from the sheer pace of this grand prix – although it’s interesting to note that the fastest lap was actually set on the new hard tyre. We’ll be looking at that again in future but for now we’re excited to be moving onto a completely different challenge: the street circuits of Monaco and Canada with the introduction of our new PZero Red supersoft tyre.”

Categories: Formula 1


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SUNSHINE AND RAIN: PIRELLI ENDS ITS TEST CAMPAIGN FOR 2011 F1 SEASON

Pirelli started its build-up to Formula One this year with a preliminary test at the Italian circuit of Mugello on 19 August 2010, held in ambient temperatures that peaked at 27 degrees centigrade (with 35 degrees track temperature). The 2011 testing campaign ended seven months later at a rain-lashed Barcelona circuit in Spain, with just 13 degrees on Saturday.

The testing adventure also took Pirelli to Monza, Valencia, Jerez, Le Castellet, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, covering nearly 100,000 kilometres – the equivalent of more than 300 grand prix – in five countries.

The final test in Barcelona, arranged at short notice after the Bahrain Grand Prix did not take place as the season-opener, covered five days, with each of the teams running for four days each. Weather conditions were dry over the opening four days in northern Spain, with ambient temperatures peaking at 27 degrees centigrade on Thursday, but on Saturday the four teams that were still testing – Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams – experienced heavy rain for the first time, with 10 millimetres of water soaking the track in the morning. In fact, conditions were too wet for any constructive running to take place on the final day, with the four teams completing only a total of 101 laps. With deep standing water on the straights, conditions were extremely difficult for the five drivers who took to the track.

During the five days of the Barcelona test, the teams completed a total of 3555 laps, equaling approximately 16,548 kilometres. The team covering the most distance was Sauber, which racked up 390 laps or 1815 kilometres in four days. The fastest time of the test was posted by Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), who set a time of 1m21.268s on Friday, comfortably eclipsing the benchmark of 1m22.625s established by Felipe Massa (Ferrari) at the previous Barcelona test last month. The team with the most wet-weather experience is also Mercedes, which completed 40 laps today in soaking conditions.

Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said: “It’s certainly been a very interesting five days, where we’ve experienced a huge variety of weather conditions. We had a brief window of optimal conditions in the afternoon during the week, where temperatures were finally high enough for our hard and soft compound rubber to come into its ideal operating range. This enabled a number of the teams to carry out race simulations, which revealed some interesting data. Then on Saturday, we had a deluge – but the conditions were really too wet then for the four teams present to learn anything significant. What we have seen over the course of the test, particularly during the race simulations, is a wide variety of strategies, which promises an exciting season ahead. During the previous test in Barcelona, we calculated from the race simulations that there were 54 potential overtaking opportunities – and that was without all the cars present. Australia is sure to be very different to Barcelona, but now we’re just looking forward to getting started.” The Australian Grand Prix, which marks Pirelli’s return to Formula One for the first time in 20 years, takes place on March 27 at Albert Park in Melbourne.

A copyright-free video news release featuring an interview with Paul Hembery, as well as photographs and press releases from the Barcelona test, are available for media use from: : www.pirelli.com/pressarea

Categories: Formula 1


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PIRELLI’S EUROPEAN TESTING DRAWS TO A CLOSE IN BARCELONA

Pirelli will continue its preparations the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship season during a four-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain this week.
All 12 teams contesting this year’s championship will take part in the test, which marks the final opportunity for on-track running in Europe ahead of the first Grand Prix of the season next month.
Pirelli will bring a modified version of the supersoft and soft compound PZero tyre, as well as the medium and hard compounds. The modifications have been incorporated following feedback from the teams and from the extensive data accrued by Pirelli’s engineers. This will be the final opportunity that the teams have to sample all four dry tyres from the Pirelli range – supersoft, soft, medium and hard – as for the race only the compounds that have been selected as the prime and the option will be provided.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director, said: “Barcelona is a track that both ourselves and all the teams are very familiar with, so I’m sure we will come back with plenty of information. Once more, the track characteristics are quite different to the two circuits that we have tested at before, which enables the teams to experience the behaviour of our tyres under a wide range of circumstances: something that will be crucial to formulating race strategies as the year goes on.”

Categories: Formula 1


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