Malaysian Grand Prix - Friday practice
Conditions for the first two free practice sessions in Malaysia were in complete contrast to Australia last week, with ambient temperatures of 33 degrees centigrade and track temperatures that sometimes exceeded 40 degrees centigrade.
Once more though there was rain, which fell halfway through FP2. This meant that many teams accelerated their programs, moving from the P Zero Orange hard tyre onto the P Zero White medium tyre earlier than expected in FP2. This was the very first outing for the 2013-specification hard tyre, which is colored orange for the first time.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “The teams experienced high ambient temperatures for the first time this year with our tyres, which was extremely useful as these are also the conditions that we would anticipate for the rest of the weekend. That includes the high risk of rain showers, as we saw halfway through FP2. As the circuit dried towards the end of FP2, this allowed the teams to assess the crossover points between the intermediates and the slicks. As we expected, we saw quite a high wear rate today, due to the more extreme nature of our 2013 tyres – which put the accent firmly on performance – as well as the high temperatures and abrasive track surface. Nonetheless, degradation stayed within our anticipated parameters. We have also seen differences in the way that individual teams use the compounds, with the hard compound lasting 15 laps for some teams and 21 laps or more for others. We’ll be looking at all the data tonight to establish a more precise picture for qualifying and the race.”
Fastest tyre of the day
1. Webber 1.36.935 1. Raikkonen 1.36.569
2. Raikkonen 1.37.003 2. Vettel 1.36.588
3. Vettel 1.37.104 3. Massa 1.36.661
May the Force be with you:
Max. g-force braking (longitudinal force): Turn 1 @ -4.8 g
Max. g-force cornering (lateral force): Turn 12 @ 4.6g
Pirelli fact of the day:
• This year’s fastest times in both free practice sessions in Malaysia were more than a second faster than the equivalent times from the same sessions last year.
• The P Zero name seen on the side of Pirelli’s slick Formula One tyres has been around for the last 25 years, as it was first used to describe the road car tyres fitted to the Ferrari F40 in 1987. Pirelli’s performance tyres have always been given a ‘P’ designation, and with no number yet allocated during its development, the new tyre was internally known as P0. The name then stuck, creating the iconic P Zero brand.