Abu Dhabi – Formula One TireTest
McLaren’s driver Stoffel Vandoorne set fastest time today at the end of the 12-hour tire test organized by Pirelli on the smooth surface of the Yas Marina circuit.
The session took place non-stop throughout the day, with the expected bright sun and warm temperatures starting out at around 24°C ambient (35°C asphalt) and reaching 28° and 40° respectively by lunchtime.
All 2015 Teams took part with the following drivers:
Alfonso Celis Jr
Carlos Sainz Jr
The session started with all the drivers running some laps on base tire to confirm the set-up of the cars and using P Zero Red supersoft and P Zero Yellow soft tires: the nominated choice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend.
Testing with the prototype tires (new ultrasoft compound and new constructions both front and rear) started around one and a half hours into the session. The Teams tested several different potential variations of the new ultrasoft compound, from which one will eventually be selected.
Prototype tires were not marked with any colors or other visible markings, while base tires carried the usual colors on sidewalls.
The test was ‘blind’: neither the drivers nor the Teams knew which kind of tire specification they were testing. During the test, the teams were not allowed to try new parts or change any other components, keeping the focus on the tires. With its smooth surface, consistent temperatures, and wide variety of technical corners, Abu Dhabi was a perfect venue in which to assess most key aspects of tire behavior.
The session started at 9am local time and went on till nearly 9pm with no lunch break. This made it the longest single-day Formula One group test in the sport’s history.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “We had one shot when it came to testing tires for next season, and we can be satisfied by what we’ve achieved in this test, even if we have to fully analyze the data. We’ve tested different versions of the new ultrasoft compound for 2016, which was one of the targets for this session. The ultrasoft’s target for 2016 is to introduce a compound softer than the supersoft and mainly designed as aggressive choice for street circuits: with better performance than the latest version of the supersoft tire and faster degradation, in order to allow the Teams to take a more aggressive approach to race strategy.
Whether this will produce more pit stops, or any difference in strategies, it’s too early to say for now. We will fully analyze our data and team telemetry once we get back to base. But it seems we are heading in the right direction: the ultrasoft is expected to offer more possibilities for certain races.
We also tested some different constructions for both front and rear tires.