Pirelli to bring soft and medium compound to Spain
What’s the story?
The unique demands of the Valencia street circuit mean that Pirelli will introduce its brand new medium tyre in Spain this weekend, which was tested during free practice in Canada two weeks ago. The PZero White medium tyre is not quite as durable as the hard tyre seen during the first five grands prix of the season, but it is quicker while still representing a significant step in range over the PZero Yellow soft tyre, which is the option tyre in Valencia.
Pirelli has tested in Valencia twice during the build-up to its first season in Formula One, but only at the permanent circuit on the outskirts of the city rather than on the 5.419-kilometre street circuit inaugurated in 2008, which runs through the ultra-modern City of Arts and Sciences made famous by the architecture of local man Santiago Calatrava.
Valencia will be the third street circuit race in succession this year, following Monaco and Canada, where the outcome of the race was only settled in the very final laps.
The Valencia track has little in common with other street circuits, containing a wide variety of corners and a relatively high proportion of the lap spent on full throttle, together with a smooth surface.
The stop-start nature of the track and frequent changes of direction place heavy demands on the tyres under traction and braking, while there is also very little adhesion to provide lateral support in the corners. The track is only used once a year, which means that the amount of grip evolves considerably over the course of the weekend as more rubber is laid down.
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director says:
Paul Hembery: “We’ve seen some fantastic street races so far this season, with the last grand prix in Canada being one of the highlights of the year, so we hope that Valencia will continue this pattern although it’s notoriously difficult to overtake there. Tyre wear on this circuit is likely to be quite high because of the track layout, the nature of the surface, and also the weather conditions, which should be very warm. For all these reasons, we’ve selected the medium and soft tyres, which should provide the teams with a good level of resistance, plenty of different opportunities for strategy and about a second per lap difference between the compounds. The PZero White tyres have been adjusted slightly from our original specification to make them a bit more durable, along the lines of the tweak we made to the PZero Silver hard tyre in Spain, and this was the compound that the teams tested during Friday’s free practice in Canada, giving us plenty of useful data.”
The men behind the steering wheel say:
Vitantonio Liuzzi (Hispania Racing Team): “Valencia is a really long and technical lap where you need to have good balance in order to perform at your best. From the driver’s point of view, the most difficult thing is braking and turning and finding a way to overtake. It will be a really hard race for the tyres as well, especially the rears, as they are under quite a lot of pressure at slow speeds because of the high traction demands. It will be difficult not to overheat the rears, given the nature of the surface combined with the track temperature. I’m looking forward to this race because it’s another home race and another demanding race. For the tyres, Valencia will be a big challenge in terms of durability: even though they have reacted well up to now in many different conditions.”
* With 25 numbered corners, Valencia has the highest number of corners of any track on the Formula One calendar, as well as the fifth-highest number of gear changes per lap of the year. There are 57 laps in the race this weekend.
* Weather conditions are expected to be dry and warm over the race weekend, with ambient temperatures in the region of 29 degrees centigrade and track temperatures that are among the hottest of the year so far.
* During the three grands prix held so far in Valencia, there has never been a particularly high number of pit stops. Last year there were 29 stops in total: an average of 1.2 per car.
The tyre choices so far:
|PZero Red||PZero Yellow||PZero White||PZero Silver|
Pirelli in Spain:
* Pirelli has an extremely active presence in Spain – the only country to host two grands prix – thanks also to the profile of Pedro de la Rosa, who was Pirelli’s official test driver as the company geared up to its Formula One return.
* Valencia was the scene of the first group test of 2011, when the teams ran their 2011 cars on Pirelli rubber for the first time over three days in early February. On that occasion, they sampled all four slick compounds on the permanent track.
* Spain also hosted the worldwide launch of Pirelli’s ‘Scorpion Verde’ tyre for 4×4 vehicles and SUVs last year, in Barcelona. This is the very first tyre of its kind in the world developed using green technology.
* Spain is also successful territory for the Pirelli-backed Internazionale football team. The Milan-based squad won the Champions League Final in May 2010 against Bayern Munich in Madrid.
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