The teams used the 2013 prototype tyres mainly in the morning session, which were distinguished by orange writing on the sidewalls. The prototype tyres seen in Brazil have a different structure compared to the 2012 tyres, using the current hard compound, but with a quicker warm-up time as well as deliberately faster degradation.
Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Vitaly Petrov (Caterham) and both HRTs were the only drivers to use the prototype tyres at the start of the afternoon session, which got underway in ambient temperatures of 32 degrees centigrade and 46 degrees of track temperature.
These unusually warm conditions are not expected to last though: tomorrow should be much cooler for qualifying while there is a 100% chance of rain on Sunday: a hallmark of the already demanding Interlagos circuit, which places a lot of stress on the rear tyres in particular due to its traction loads.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “With testing opportunities so limited in Formula One, we wanted to give teams the opportunity to try out our tyres before the first official test in February next year, so that they can start to understand how the new tyres interact with the current cars.”
“The initial feedback we received has been very positive: the tyre that the teams tried today has a different structure with a faster warm-up. This delivers extra performance within a wider working range, due to increased cornering grip, which is exactly what we were aiming for. When we combine the new structure with the new compounds for next year we will see the full performance potential.”
“As for this weekend, the high temperatures that led to quite a significant degree of degradation today, particularly on the rears, is not expected to last, so we are very likely to see the Cinturato Green intermediates and Cinturato Blue full wets during the race. We’re expecting at least a two-stop race, but if there is wet weather or safety cars involved, then all that could change significantly.”
Images © Pirelli/McLaren