Pirelli’s 2015 tires make their debut
At the final in-season test of the year, held straight after the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Pirelli’s 2015 tires were seen for the first time – although there were no dedicated Pirelli test days, with each team concentrating on its own independent program.
Every team is allocated 135 sets of tires for testing purposes throughout 2014, and for the final test of the year teams had 10 sets of this existing allocation replaced with 10 sets of the new 2015 tires. Pirelli brought the medium, soft and supersoft 2015 tires to Abu Dhabi, in their definitive specification. All the teams took up the option of running on the new tires at some point during the two days, in order to have a first look at the 2015 rubber, which is an evolution of the existing tire rather than a new departure.
As well as testing new tires, many of the teams also tried out out some new drivers and components for 2015. Added to the warm daytime track and air temperatures, as opposed to the falling temperatures seen in qualifying and the race, this meant that the lap times set in testing could not be usefully compared to those in the race. Nonetheless, the drivers who tested the new tires gave positive feedback about their first taste of the 2015 P Zero specification.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “We’ve been very pleased to hear the initial impressions from the drivers of our new tires, which suggest that the improvements we have aimed for are already taking effect. We’ve made a few small alterations: in particular to the belt area of the rear tire that sits in the footprint. This new construction optimizes the temperature distribution through the tire in order to distribute heat more evenly, which should lead to more consistent performance and better traction. We’ve also got a new supersoft compound on the rear, which is designed to improve mechanical resistance. Our objectives with the 2015 tires remain the same as they have always been: to provide between two and three pit stops per race. One of the biggest factors of course will be the way that the cars improve: we’re expecting to see cars that are a second per lap or more faster than the 2014 cars next year, and this obviously will impact on tire behavior.”
Both days of testing were held in warm and dry conditions, with track temperatures that peaked at 44 degrees (33 degrees ambient) on Tuesday and 43 degrees (32 degrees ambient) on Wednesday.
The fastest time set during the two days of the test was a 1m42.624s set by Mercedes driver Pascal Wehrlein on the supersoft tires, in the closing stages of day two. The highest number of laps run on day one was 114 laps from Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes, while the highest number of laps run on day two was 112 from Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber.
The 2015 tires were available in medium, soft and supersoft specification, with all four tires in the 2014 range also available for the teams to test. In total, 454 laps were completed on the new 2015 tires and 903 laps on the current 2014 tires.
The next test will take place at the first official pre-season session of the year, from 1-4 February at Jerez in southern Spain. Following that, there will be just two more sessions in Barcelona from February 19-22 and February 26-March 1 before the season starts.