Pirelli’s P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium compounds have performed exactly as expected on one of the most demanding circuits of the year, which puts a huge amount of energy through the tires. Track temperatures in FP2 during the afternoon were practically double those seen for FP1 in the morning, but wear and degradation is in line with expectations, even though several teams have brought aerodynamic upgrades that increase demands on the tires.
Free practice followed a conventional pattern, with drivers using only the hard tire in the morning before moving onto the medium tire from halfway through the second session, as part of the usual race and qualifying simulations on different fuel loads.
This weekend, Pirelli brings more tires to a grand prix than has ever been seen before. As Barcelona is the opening round of GP3 as well as the second round of GP2, the Italian firm has brought a total of 3224 tires to be used in Spain, as well as some spares. This is made up of 1848 for F1 (22 cars), 728 for GP2 (26 cars) and 648 for GP3 (27 cars). This is mainly due to an increase in tire allocations for F1 this year.
By way of comparison, the highest number of tires that Pirelli brought to Spain in 2011 – the company’s first year in Formula One – was 3056, despite the fact that there were two more F1 cars on the grid at the time. With Pirelli’s motorhome also making its first appearance of 2014, a total of 14 Pirelli trucks have made the journey to Barcelona.
Paul Hembery: “The tires have a lot of work to do in Barcelona, particularly the front-left, but despite this wear and degradation is in line with our expectations, which means that we should see most drivers do a maximum of three stops tomorrow. With no pre-season testing in Barcelona this year, the teams used today to adapt their 2014 cars to the high-energy characteristics of the track, and we expect lap times to fall further as more rubber is laid down. There is normally a high degree of track evolution here, helped by the large number of support races, which will have an effect on tire wear over the rest of the weekend. On that subject, the fact we’re bringing the most number of tires that we’ve ever transported to a grand prix – 3224 – underlines our commitment to the sport and providing the best possible spectacle for the fans, by encouraging competitors to run as much as possible.”
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.