Pirelli heads to Abu Dhabi for its final private test the first-ever on a wet track at night. Newly developed PZero Formula One tyres equip Pedro de la Rosa’s Toyota test car.
Pirelli test drivers have covered more than 13,000 kilometres over the past five months, running at some of the most demanding European and Middle Eastern tracks. This has been a perfect testing ground to adjust the newly developed Formula One tyres, featuring four dry and two rain versions.
Save the date for the up-coming Formula One official test in Valencia, starting on February 1.
Abu Dhabi, January 17 2011 – 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.”
The two-day Abu Dhabi test is the last in a series of nine private tests that the Italian firm has carried out from August 19, when Pirelli’s test programme got underway. Since then, Nick Heidfeld, Roman Grosjean and Pedro de la Rosa, all at the wheel of a Toyota TF109, have covered more than 13,000 km in a variety of weather conditions at some important European and Middle East circuits. Pirelli has used Mugello, Monza, Barcelona, Valencia, Jerez, Le Castellet and Bahrain to test its entire range of tyres developed for the 2011 season.
Supersoft and soft compound tyres were the last to be finalised and were successfully tested in Abu Dhabi last weekend, with Pedro de la Rosa driving for around 200 laps, the equivalent of some 1,000 km.
Coming up next is the official test in Valencia from February 1-4. The 12 Formula One teams will then move to Jerez, from February 10-13, and end the testing in Barcelona, from February 18-21. The 2011 Formula One season will begin at the Bahrain Gran Prix on March 13.
Pirelli’s commitment to Formula One
Pirelli’s Formula One tyres have been developed as a stable and consistent product, able to ensure closely-fought and spectacular race weekends. They have already passed their first test with full marks, receiving excellent feedback during last year’s official tests in Abu Dhabi in mid-November. Fifteen drivers, including Vettel, Alonso, Massa, Schumacher and Barrichello, tested Pirelli’s newly developed tyres, with each team covering roughly 11,000 km, equivalent to 150 laps. Some very interesting data was gained during testing and was then used to improve the rubber and adjust it accordingly. Further developments were brought forward both at Pirelli’s laboratories and on track, in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, from January 15 onwards.
In line with FIA regulations, Pirelli will provide Formula One teams with four compounds of slick tyres for use on dry tracks. Compound range goes from supersoft, soft, medium to hard, with the best solution to be raced chosen according to the track’s features and the team’s strategy. If the softer compound is well suited for tight and twisty circuits, the harder one is a good option for tracks where longer durability is needed. Otherwise, it will be the turn of the soft or of the medium compound, with the first being faster and the second one more resistant.
In addition to dry tyres, Pirelli will supply one type of wet tyre for use on a full wet track, along with one intermediate tyre for use in damp or even variable and unpredictable weather conditions. Thanks to their grooved tread pattern, these rain tyres can easily deal with rain from light to heavy, ensuring both stability and grip.
Pirelli will supply a total of 50,000 tyres to Formula One for this season. These competition tyres will be produced in Turkey at the ‘sport zone’ of Pirelli’s Izmit factory, one of the most modern of its kind thanks to its cutting-edge technology and advanced machinery.
Pirelli’s Formula One Team
In Abu Dhabi, Pirelli’s Formula One Team will be made up of 15 highly qualified technicians. From 15 it will go up to 50 during official tests and grands prix, with a Pirelli engineer dedicated to each team along with the remaining staff.
The Pirelli Formula One Team will be based in Milan at the Pirelli Tyre Research and Development Centre, a facility at the heart of the Pirelli Group’s tyre technology capability, which employs 1000 researchers based in five centres all over the world. Above all, it is of crucial importance to new developments in motorsport.
In Pirelli’s on-going motorsport history, its Formula One adventure is the latest chapter. The leading Italian company has been involved in motorsport competitions for more than a century, with the epic Paris to Peking road race its first win in 1907. Pirelli is currently the sole supplier to several international championships, such as the GP2 and GP3 Series and the World Superbike Championship. In addition, Pirelli also supports over 70 national and international championships, including the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, having been the exclusive tyre supplier to the World Rally Championship from 2008 to 2010.
The last time Pirelli claimed victory in Formula One was at the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix with the Benetton team. It then bowed out at the end of that season, with the Australian Grand Prix its final race.
Formula One and Environmental Sustainability
In line with Pirelli Group’s Green Performance strategy – aimed at developing products and solutions that combine maximum performance with respect for the environment – Formula One tyre production, as well as logistics and recycling procedures, are fully compliant with high environmental sustainability standards. Specifically, all Pirelli competition tyres, including PZero tyres to be used in Formula One, are free of aromatic oils. Industrial processes at the Izmit factory are state-of-art in terms of energy and water efficiency, with very low polluting emission levels. Pirelli invests extensively in tyre recycling procedures. This applies also to Formula One covers that will be used to generate new rubber and for energy production purposes. According to Dow Jones Sustainability STOXX and Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the Italian firm leads in Autoparts and Tires for a fourth consecutive year. This underlines Pirelli’s strong commitment to environmental sustainability.
Pirelli and the Arabian Peninsula
Pirelli is a market leader in the Middle East, having enjoyed over the past years a constant growth in the premium segment, where the company holds a preeminent position. Pirelli’s liaison office in Dubai provides local markets with its state-of-the-art PZero tyres that are produced at the company’s European factories. Renowned for their high performance, PZero tyres equip luxury brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin and Bentley. Pirelli also performs a strong role in the truck market, with tyres produced at its Alexandria factory in Egypt. Besides being an important production centre, the Izmit factory in Turkey is also of crucial importance as it acts as a strategic industrial and logistical hub for Arabian markets.
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