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The new Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft compound seen in competition for the first time today will be combined with a new profile for 2012 to form the basis of next year’s medium tyres, now that the current season is over. All of the slick tyres apart from the supersoft compound will be brand new next year, making their debut at the first official test of 2012 next February in Spain.

With the anticipated threat of rain eventually holding off, Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber claimed his first win of a remarkable debut season for Pirelli at the final grand prix, using the new P Zero Yellow soft tyres and the P Zero White medium tyres.

Webber took the lead on lap 29, after his team mate Sebastian Vettel lost time with a gearbox problem, having led from pole. Webber adopted a three-stop strategy, using three sets of soft tyres and one set of medium tyres to win the race by 16.9 seconds from his team mate. It was Webber’s seventh career victory, securing him third place in the final championship standings.

A few isolated raindrops fell on the Interlagos paddock about an hour before the race started, but the grand prix got underway in dry conditions and temperatures of around 24 degrees. All 24 cars started on the P Zero Yellow soft tyres, giving them greater flexibility in their strategies in case of rain – which never materialised.

McLaren’s Jenson Button was the first driver to switch to the medium tyre on lap 31, using a different strategy to his team mate Lewis Hamilton. The top four runners all adopted a three-stop strategy, with Ferrari driver Felipe Massa the highest-placed two-stopper in fifth, having run two stints on the soft tyre and one final stint on the medium.

Button was the only driver to use the P Zero White medium for two stints, making his last stop on lap 52. The Englishman was able to push hard during his final stint, as he chased a top-three finish, which he claimed with nine laps to go: his eighth podium in nine races that cemented his runner-up place in the drivers’ championship.

The fastest lap of the race was also set on the P Zero White medium tyre, by Mark Webber on the very final lap. It was Webber’s eighth fastest lap this year on Pirelli tyres.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “This didn’t turn out to be the race that most people expected, with the predicted rain holding off. At the last race of the season there were a few mechanical issues for some cars, but our tyres were completely reliable – as they have been all year, with no structural failures – and we achieved our objective of having a performance gap of less than a second between the compounds, which should be the case next year as well. It’s been a season that has, if anything, exceeded our expectations – where we’ve seen the most overtaking in the history of the Formula One World Championship – and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our team in Milan, Didcot and Izmit for their extraordinary work this season. They should all be proud of their achievements. I’d also like to thank all the teams and drivers for their unstinting support, advice and partnership.”

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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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