The Formula One teams have benefitted from extra running with Pirelli’s 2012 tyres at the first in-season test to take place since 2008. The three-day session took place at Mugello in Italy – where Pirelli’s prototype Formula One tyres ran for the first time in August 2010.
The teams were allowed to use whichever tyres from their testing allocation of 100 sets per car per year remained to them, trying out all the slick compounds, including some runs on the supersoft during the final day. The allocation of 100 tyres also includes the young driver test at the end of the year.
Heavy rain on the opening day also meant that the drivers got the chance to test the Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet, but the bad conditions limited the amount of overall running on day one. The weather was much better on Wednesday and Thursday, allowing teams to complete their test programmes, which were aimed at evaluating aerodynamic and other upgrades, as well as increasing their understanding of the 2012 Pirelli tyre range.
Many of the third drivers also got to sample the current Pirelli tyres for the first time at Mugello: a circuit that tests every parameter of a tyre’s performance, thanks to the wide variety of speeds and corners contained within the lap. Mugello has quite an abrasive surface, with long medium to high-speed corners as well as a tight hairpin bend and several quick changes of direction.
The fastest lap of the test was set by Lotus Romain Grosjean on Thursday, using the P Zero Silver hard tyre to post a time of 1m21.035s. By way of comparison, the lap record for Mugello, which dates from 2004, is 1m18.704s – set using different regulations and different tyres.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “With so few testing opportunities available over the course of the year, this was a valuable chance for the teams to expand their knowledge of the characteristics of our tyre range, as well as try out different upgrades before the European season begins next weekend. This is traditionally a time when teams introduce new parts, and with the competition now being closer than it has ever been before, understanding how the tyres interact with the latest car developments will be key to establishing an advantage. The opening day at Mugello was something of a wash-out, but the teams were able to complete some longer runs over the last two days with our medium and hard tyres in particular, enabling them to collect plenty of useful data. This will be extremely valuable when it comes to planning race strategy in future.”
The teams completed 405 laps on day one, 1005 laps on day two and 1134 laps on day three. This is approximately equivalent to 43 grands prix.
Ambient temperatures ranged from 13 to 24 degrees centigrade over the three days test, while track temperatures ranged from 15 to 37 degrees centigrade.
Total number of sets brought to Mugello: 366 sets
Of which Supersoft tyres: 25 sets
Of which Soft tyres: 50 sets
Of which Medium tyres: 107 sets
Of which Hard tyres: 118 sets
Of which Intermediate tyres: 35 sets
Of which Wet tyres: 31 sets
Total amount of sets used: 207
Of which Supersoft tyres: 3 sets
Of which Soft tyres: 20 sets
Of which Medium tyres: 69 sets
Of which Hard tyres: 92 sets
Of which Intermediate tyres: 15 sets
Of which Wet tyres: 8 sets
16 laps on the Hard compound
14 laps of the Medium compound
13 laps on the Soft compound
6 laps on the Supersoft compound
1. Alonso: 1’22’’444 on Hard New
2. Webber: 1’23’’648 on Medium Used
3. Vergne: 1’23’’891 on Medium New
1. Grosjean: 1’21’’603 on Hard New
2. Kobayashi: 1’21’’603 on Soft New
3. Vettel: 1’21’’825 on Hard New
1. Grosjean: 1’21’’035 on Hard New
2. Vettel: 1’21’’267 on Medium New
3. Alonso: 1’21’’363 on Hard Used
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