The three-day test is designed for teams to try out new drivers who have completed no more than two grands prix previously and are in a possession of an International A license. It is also an excellent opportunity for Pirelli to try out some of the 2012 range of tires, with in-season testing currently banned for this year.
The tire design has changed slightly for next year: the latest evolutions of the P Zero tires feature new profiles for the front and rear, and a selection of totally new compounds with only the supersoft compound unaltered. The 2012 tires have a squarer profile, designed to distribute wear more evenly across the footprint, while the softer compounds have been adjusted to reduce the risk of blistering.
This new range of tires is designed to bring the relative performance of the compounds closer together, thereby making strategy even more important next year. The new tires are also designed to increase performance, making the 2012 tires some of the most extreme that Pirelli has ever produced. The combined miles of running that the young drivers will complete from Tuesday to Thursday this week will be extremely useful when it comes to providing Pirelli’s engineers with real data.
According to the current FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) agreement, the teams have 100 sets of tires each to use for testing during the year. Most of these sets have already been used during the four pre-season tests, but on average teams have 10-15 sets left each. On top of that, the teams will receive eight extra sets of tires, made up of the current range of compounds as well as some soft compound development tires.
Based on the data that is gathered, the experimental compounds will then be adjusted in time for the next scheduled Formula One test – the first of the 2012 season – which is due to be carried out at Jerez from February 7-9.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Now that the season is virtually over, we’re already well underway with our preparations for 2012. We ran some experimental tires on Friday in Abu Dhabi, and we’ll also be running some new tires in Brazil. Together with the information we accumulate during the young driver test, we’re gathering plenty of data in preparation for next year, where we will see a reduction in lap times between the compounds to hopefully make racing even closer. Although the young drivers don’t have the same experience as the regular drivers, this three-day test will be a good education for them. It’s also very important in terms of information-gathering, for both ourselves and the teams, as we aim to make the tires an even more prominent feature of the action in 2012.”
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.
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