Barcelona Formula One tests confirm faster lap times than last season

March 2, 2015

Barcelona represented the final opportunity for the teams to assess the interaction between Pirelli's  latest tires and the 2015 cars, which as we have all noted appear to be significantly quicker than last year’s cars.

"We’ve seen a difference of up to two seconds, and that gap could be even bigger on the softer compounds. Because of this, the way that the tires work with the cars has altered, which clearly has an effect on set-up and strategy. Although we had track temperatures that peaked at 31 degrees centigrade, conditions were still generally much cooler than we will typically see at most of the races, so this is another factor that has to be considered, particularly in the case of the hard tire. The teams were able to test the entire range of 2015 P Zero tires in Barcelona, which have a new rear construction this year, including the supersoft, which has a brand new compound as well. The soft compound set the fastest time of the test: two and a half seconds faster than last year’s pole time. Although there were some brief periods of rain, we only saw limited running on the intermediate tire. Compared to last year though, it’s clear that most teams are already well-prepared for the season ahead.” according to Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery.

In addition to the usual 2015 tire range, teams were also able to try out a prototype medium at this Barcelona test, which is being assessed by Pirelli for development purposes but does not have any difference in performance to the standard medium. These tires did not carry any colour markings.

Each team is allocated a total of 110 sets of tires for testing purposes throughout 2015.

Fastest laps and tyre choices per day:

Day 1    Massa (Williams)        103 laps    1m23.500s    Soft
Day 2    Rosberg (Mercedes)    106 laps    1m22.792s    Soft
Day 3    Hamilton (Mercedes)    76 laps    1m23.022s    Soft
Day 4    Bottas (Williams)         89 laps    1m23.063s    Supersoft

After four days of testing a total of 3502 laps were covered (compared to 3134 laps at the last Barcelona test, and 2294 laps at Jerez), with the performance gains in evidence compared to last year’s Spanish Grand Prix pole time of 1m25.232s. Rosberg’s time on Friday was also the fastest time of both Barcelona tests, beating the benchmark established during last week’s test (Grosjean, 1m24.067s, supersoft). However, as the supersoft is not ideally suited to the Circuit de Catalunya, it was not possible to assess a representative performance of the new supersoft tire.

So far, a total of 41,048.3 kilometers have been covered by all the teams in pre-season testing. The next time the teams will be on track will be on Friday March 13 for the first free practice session in Melbourne. The Pirelli compound choices for the first grands prix of the season are scheduled to be announced before Wednesday.