Pirelli completes testing at Abu Dhabi
Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa spent four days at the wheel of the Toyota TF109 that has been used to test the Italian rubber since August: two days to run through the entire range of P Zero dry tires and two nights during which he tested the wet and intermediate tires.
Pirelli's wet weather test made history, as it was the first time that a Formula One car had been run in wet conditions in the dark. In order to replicate rainy conditions, tankers dampened the 3.1-kilometer north loop of the Yas Marina circuit - the venue for the final Grand Prix of the Formula One calendar - with approximately 140,000 liters of water over two evening sessions that lasted from 1800hrs to midnight. With floodlights covering the length of the track, the Yas Marina circuit boasts the largest bespoke sports lighting facility in the world.
Throughout the two days of dry running in Abu Dhabi that preceded the wet test, Pirelli completed 1400 kilometers of running, going through all four compounds in the dry tire range, from supersoft to hard. In total, Pirelli completed more than 2000 kilometers in Abu Dhabi to add to the 1100 kilometers racked up in Bahrain last week. This brings the total testing kilometers accumulated by Pirelli since the first tires took to the Italian circuit of Mugello in August up to more than 20,000.
De la Rosa, who has been Pirelli's official tester since October, commented: "In my opinion, Pirelli is ready now for Formula One. The dry tire test went very well, and confirmed everything we had learned in Bahrain the week before. But the most original part of the test was when we were running at night on the wet tires, which was as new an experience for me as it was for everyone else. The most important thing was that the water levels were consistent, which allowed us to have some accurate results from the test. At the end of it, we've come up with two tires - wet and intermediate - which I believe are both competitive and stable."
"It's been an extremely positive test session here in Abu Dhabi, thanks to the fantastic facilities we've had available to us and the usual hard work from Pedro and the rest of our team," added Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery.
The next test will take place at the Spanish circuit of Valencia from February 1-3 with all the Formula One teams: the first time that they will have sampled Pirelli rubber since the two-day test last November following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The teams will then have three more official tests - in Jerez, Barcelona and Bahrain - before the 2011 season starts in March.