The 2011 season kicks off at the Abu Dhabi circuit, with Pirelli supplying tires in a three-year agreement from 2011-2013

On Friday and Saturday, the 12 teams will try out next year’s Pirelli tires for the first time

Slick tires in medium and soft compounds will be used, distinguished by a colored stripe on the sidewall. Each team will have eight sets of tires available to them for the two days of testing

The test in the United Arab Emirates marks Pirelli’s return to F1 after a 19-year absence. The Italian tire company has brought 384 tires and 30 people to Abu Dhabi for its debut

Pirelli’s Formula One team has now concluded the first phase of testing, following eight private tests and 7000 kilometers on challenging circuits all over Europe

“We come to these tests with plenty of confidence and satisfaction with our work carried out so far,” said Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director. “The tests in Europe have given us all the data we needed at this current phase of development. Tomorrow, the second phase gets underway…”

The 5.5 kilometers of the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi will play host to Pirelli’s debut as Formula One’s official tire supplier tomorrow, as the Italian company returns to the pinnacle of motorsport following a 19-year absence. The 12 teams, which have just concluded the 2010 Formula One World Championship at the Yas Marina circuit, will test Pirelli’s tires for the first time – giving the green light to the new season and the three-year tire supply deal with the legendary Italian firm. Two days of testing will take place Friday and Saturday from 0900-1700.

Sunshine, light wind and ambient temperatures around 93 degrees Fahrenheit – which translate to a track temperature of about 118 degrees Fahrenheit – will be the order of the day throughout this weekend’s action.

The first taste of the new tires that all the teams will have comes after a program of eight private tests that Pirelli has carried out, starting from August 19th when the tires took to the track for the first time. Since then, the Toyota TF109 chosen as a development car has racked up around 7000 kilometers with Nick Heidfeld, Romain Grosjean and Pedro De La Rosa at the wheel, in all sorts of weather conditions on a variety of European circuits.

Pirelli’s engineers, led by motorsport director Paul Hembery, have been to Mugello, Monza, Barcelona, Valencia, Jerez and Le Castellet to try out all the different types of tire that will be supplied to the teams next year according to FIA regulations: four slick tires (ranging from super-soft to hard) one intermediate tire, and one rain tire.

“We come to these tests with plenty of confidence and satisfaction with our work carried out so far,” said Hembery. “The tests in Europe have given us all the data we needed at this current phase of development. From tomorrow, the drivers and engineers from every team will give us their opinions and feedback, which are of vital importance for the second phase of testing: a challenge that we are already well-prepared for.”The Abu Dhabi tests are conducted by the teams, who have determined the program and parameters that they would like to cover during the next two days. Both the medium compound slick and the soft compound slick will be used, distinguishable by a colored stripe on the sidewall. Each team will run just one car. Every team will have eight sets of tires available, four for day one and four for day two, which adds up to a total supply of 384 Pirelli tires.

During the test, the teams will be fully supported by Pirelli’s engineers and technicians. In particular, each team will have an assigned engineer throughout the test as well as being able to rely on the back-up of the entire group, which numbers 30 people in Abu Dhabi.

Today, Pirelli’s engineers and technicians will meet all the teams for a general briefing, during which details of the forthcoming test program will be discussed. At the end of each day of testing, there will also be an additional debrief between all the teams and Pirelli in order to compare information.

After Abu Dhabi, Pirelli will move on to Bahrain in early December for more private testing, in preparation for the first official tests with all the teams next year, which get underway in January.

The Pirelli F1 team, composed of a variety of international personnel, is based in Milan at the Pirelli Tire Research and Development Center. This facility is at the heart of the Pirelli Group’s tire technology, which employs 1000 researchers based in five centers all over the world. Motorsport is the laboratory in which Pirelli has traditionally created some of the most important innovations in the tire sector, so it is of crucial importance.

Throughout 2011, Pirelli will supply 50,000 tires to the Formula One World Championship. The tires for the world’s premier motorsport division will be produced at Pirelli’s factory in Izmit, Turkey, one of the most modern of its kind, which is dedicated to competition tires. Pirelli’s technicians have developed machinery and production processes that are perfectly adapted to making these cutting-edge tires.

The Formula One tire supply agreement underlines Pirelli’s commitment to motorsport, which the Italian company has been involved in since winning the epic 1907 Paris-Peking road race. Pirelli is currently engaged in some of the most important international motorsport series in the world on two wheels and four, such as GP3, WRC, the Rolex Sports Car Series in North America and the Superbike world championship.

As well as these, Pirelli supports more than 70 more national and international championships. Pirelli’s last Formula One participation was the 1991 Australian Grand Prix, and the last Pirelli victory was in Canada the same year, as a partner of the Benetton team.

Pirelli Tire North America designs, develops, manufactures and markets tires for passenger vehicles in both the original equipment and replacement markets as well as markets and distributes tires for motorcycles and motorsports. Located in Rome, Georgia, Pirelli’s Modular Integrated Robotized System (MIRS) employs state-of-the-art technology to manufacture tires for both export and domestic markets.  For more information please visit www.us.pirelli.com.

Photographs are available to media from: www.pirelli.com/pressarea