Pirelli pleased with Formula One test at Valencia
Pirelli brought all four slick tires to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia – supersoft, soft, medium and hard – but with cold conditions under 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning, warming up to around 64 degrees in the afternoon, most of the teams elected just to use the three softer compounds.
Both the intermediate and wet tires were also brought to Valencia, with weather forecasts earlier in the week predicting rain. However, conditions remained dry during all three days of the test, meaning that the wet weather tires were hardly used.
With a number of new cars being launched in Valencia, the teams concentrated on initial shakedown runs to get used to all this year's innovations such as the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), moveable rear wings and of course Pirelli's new P Zero tires.
For the first time, the 12 teams also had the chance to work with the Pirelli tire engineers assigned to them for the rest of the season and try out a wider range of the Italian tires. Many of the teams also ran new drivers for the first time, making the three days of the Valencia test a steep learning curve for all concerned.
Although the cold conditions and tight layout of Valencia's permanent circuit – which is mostly used for motorbike racing – will not be representative of the rest of the season, drivers had a valuable opportunity to gather their initial impressions of the Pirelli rubber. They all agreed that knowing how to manage the tires would be a key to success in the 2011 season.
"First and foremost, we've enjoyed perfect reliability over the three days, which has enabled the teams to get on with their test programs at a crucial time of year as they launch their new cars,” said Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery. “Naturally, they've all been running a very wide range of different configurations and set-ups here, so there's no point looking too closely at the times. What's more important is that the feedback we've received from the drivers and teams so far has been very positive, and it's been a great pleasure to work with them all. It's early, but we believe that the teams have started to see now that our tires are quite different to what they had before. In line with our brief, it's no longer going to be possible to run virtually an entire race on one set of tires, so I think everyone will appreciate how our P Zeros can help to provide even more exciting races in the future."
The next Formula One group test takes place next week in Jerez from February 10-13, to which Pirelli will once more bring the entire range of new P Zero tires.