Pirelli's Formula One testing program moves to Barcelona
The two-day test marked de la Rosa's second appearance as a Pirelli test driver, following his debut in the role at Valencia just over two weeks ago.
The 39-year-old tried out Pirelli's intermediate and wet tires in Valencia, but for the Barcelona test he concentrated on the Italian firm's medium and hard compound slick tires for the first time, refining the package that has already been formulated from previous tests.
De la Rosa's work included validating the conclusions drawn from past tests in Mugello and Jerez as well as looking at different ways to make the medium and hard tires even more effective. By the end of the two days, Pirelli was close to defining the rubber that will be taken to Abu Dhabi for the Formula One teams to try out next month.
In total de la Rosa completed two days and 262 laps of running, the equivalent to around 1218 kilometers. Pirelli carried out a number of endurance runs in Barcelona, running for around 35 laps at a time, in order to verify the new tire’s consistent performance and reliability in the long term.
Conditions were unusually cold for Barcelona at this time of the year, with temperatures of 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning. The weather warmed up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the afternoon, allowing Pirelli's engineers to see how the tires operated within a wide window of track conditions.
Pedro de la Rosa commented: "It's been an excellent couple of days; I've been very impressed because I have to say that the tires were at an even higher level than I imagined. If you look at what Pirelli has done, it's hard to believe that all this work has been carried out in such a short space of time. These Pirelli tires have their own quite different characteristics to the current supplier that the drivers will appreciate next year and I'm confident that they will form a very competitive package. Pirelli's arrival is great news for Formula One."
The 4.65-kilometre Circuit de Catalunya, the traditional home of the Spanish Grand Prix, contains long straights and varying corners, making it the ideal place to test a wide range of parameters over a distance. At the same time, Pirelli continued the development of its GP2 tires, with Englishman Ben Hanley once again taking the wheel of the all-new GP2 single-seater.
Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery, who oversaw both days of running in Spain, added: "Once again, Pedro has shown what a valuable asset he is to us through his hard work and detailed feedback. He's carrying out a crucial role and the information that he has provided to us has helped us to further define the tires that we will take to Abu Dhabi."
Pirelli's next Formula One tests will take place at France's Le Castellet circuit in early November, where de la Rosa will concentrate on further development of Pirelli's soft and super-soft tires: two of the four compounds (along with the hard and the medium) that will be offered to all of the Formula One teams next year.