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Pirelli’s first race of its three-year agreement to supply Formula One has provided close competition, two to three pit stops per car, and a total race time that was three minutes quicker than last year underlining the performance of the PZero tyres. This year’s PZero tyres have been designed to combine technology with entertainment, contributing some breath-taking duels from the start to the finish of the Australian race and plenty of overtaking. Prior to the race Pirelli predicted two to three pit stops for most runners, and this proved to be exactly the case. It was the very first race finish in Australia for Red Bull’s reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who started from pole position after driving the fastest-ever lap of Melbourne in qualifying and concluded: “We have to make some compliments to Pirelli.” Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said: “What a fantastic race! Australia had everything: the quickest lap of Melbourne ever seen in qualifying, plenty of on-track battles, close competition, and some thrilling overtaking manoeuvres. At the end of it we have three drivers from different teams standing on the podium, all of whom performed outstandingly. I think that the same can be said of our tyres too: we had no issues whatsoever and the degradation was less than expected meaning that most drivers – including the top three – chose a two-stop strategy, as we had predicted. We also saw a wide spread of strategies ranging from one stops to three, giving the teams the opportunity to think creatively about their race management. I’d like to thank all the teams and drivers for their support as we built up to our race debut and we hope that the action today has rewarded their faith in us. I’d also like to thank all our people at Pirelli: this exciting start has only been made possible by their unstinting hard work since our agreement was confirmed just nine months ago in June. We’re not about to rest on our laurels though: we’re already thinking ahead now to the next race in Malaysia, which will provide us with a new and different challenge.”
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.”