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Teams get optimistic first impression of new Pirelli compounds



The Formula One teams had their first impression of Pirelli’s latest grand prix tyres this week, at the opening official Formula One test of the year at Jerez in Spain. The tight and twisty 4.428-kilometre Spanish track tested most aspects of Pirelli’s new range of 2013 tyres.

This allowed the teams to learn about the basic characteristics of the latest-generation P Zero products over four days and form a positive first impression. The teams now move to Barcelona for the next official Formula One test from February 19-22.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “The four days spent at Jerez, with most teams running their new cars, gave us all a good general impression of the characteristics of our 2013 tyres on track, with completely new compounds and construction. It seems that we are very much on the right road and the changes we wanted to see are all there: the tyres are faster than their equivalents last year, and they have a wider window of peak performance.

Conditions at Jerez were not ideal this year however, as it was an extremely abrasive track – the most abrasive of all the circuits we visit all year – and consequently it was hard to draw any proper conclusions, given that the surface had actually become even more abrasive than last season. We came away with plenty of data for the hard and medium tyres, very little for the soft tyre and none for the supersoft. Now we look forward to the next two test sessions at Barcelona, which will provide another very valuable opportunity for the teams to extend their knowledge of this year’s tyres.”

Jerez test facts: The teams are allocated 100 sets of tyres per car per year for testing purposes. The teams concentrated on working their way through the different compounds, in order to get an initial read about how the latest generation of deliberately fast-wearing tyres from Pirelli interacted with their new cars, both when new and used. Pirelli brought a total of 35 sets per car to this test (20 chosen by Pirelli, 15 by each team).

Ambient and track temperatures were cool, in the region of 15 degrees centigrade average most days, which led to a risk of graining. This occurs when a tyre slides if it is not up to temperature, and the friction against the track surface creates a wave-like pattern of wear, known as graining. This was mostly noted in the very cool conditions of the morning – sometimes with temperatures of less than five degrees centigrade – and accentuated by the abrasive surface.

With the conditions and track layout at Jerez not really typical of anywhere else this year, the time difference between the compounds is not expected to be completely representative of the rest of the season.

More Testing Facts:
– Most laps of Jerez: Gutierrez – 252 laps; Di Resta – 240 laps; Massa – 227 laps.
– Some teams were able to run up to 700 kilometres per day: the equivalent of more than two grand prix distances.
– None of the intermediate or wet tyres were used to set a lap time, as conditions remained completely dry throughout all four days.
– As well as evaluating cars and tyres, teams also carried out pit stop practice.
– The orange marking for the hard tyre was seen for the first time, replacing last year’s silver.
– The technical layout of Jerez with its slow corners placed heavy demands in terms of traction: particularly on the rear tyres.
– The high macro-roughness of the track at Jerez is caused by a lack of bitumen in the asphalt, leading to a relatively open surface, which creates the abrasion.

Tyres at Jerez
Total number of sets brought to Jerez
385 sets which equals 1540 tyres
– of which supersoft tyres: 7 sets
– of which soft tyres: 49 sets
– of which medium tyres: 157 sets
– of which hard tyres: 95 sets
– of which intermediate tyres: 42 sets
– of which wet tyres: 35 sets

Total amount of sets used: 251
– of which supersoft tyres: 3 sets
– of which soft tyres: 33 sets
– of which medium tyres: 137 sets
– of which hard tyres: 74 sets
– of which intermediate tyres: 3 sets
– of which wet tyres: 1 set

Longest runs
– 20 laps on the hard compound
– 24 laps of the medium compound
– 12 laps on the soft compound
– 8 laps on the supersoft compound
– 3 laps on the intermediate compound
– 1 lap on the wet compound
– Highest / lowest ambient temperature over four days: 3 °C (day 3) / 22 °C (day 1)
– Highest / lowest track temperature over four days: 5 °C (day 3) / 28 °C (day 1)

Testing Times
Day 1
1. Jenson Button, McLaren 1.18.861 Hard New
2. Mark Webber, Red Bull 1.19.709 Medium New
3. Romain Grosjean, Lotus 1.19.796 Hard New

Day 2
1. Romain Grosjean, Lotus 1.18.218 Soft New
2. Paul Di Resta, Force India 1.19.003 Soft New
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso 1.19.134 Medium New

Day 3
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari 1.17.879 Soft New
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes 1.18.766 Medium New
3. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull 1.19.052 Medium New

Day 4
1. Kimi Räikkönen, Lotus 1.18.148 Soft New
2. Jules Bianchi, Force India 1.18.175 Soft New
3. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull 1.18.565 Hard New

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