Feb.20 (Pirelli) Two weeks after embarking on the first tyre test of the 2012 season, Pirelli heads to Barcelona: the circuit on which the Italian Formula One tyres have run the most, having accumulated several thousand kilometres on the Spanish track to date in private and official testing.
But this is the first time that the definitive 2012 specification tyres, as tested in Jerez a fortnight ago, will run on the Circuit de Catalunya. As well as being familiar territory for Pirelli, the track is very well known to the teams, who will be able to use all the circuit data they have accumulated over the years to judge the progress they are making with their 2012 cars.
In total, Pirelli will bring 367 sets of tyres to Barcelona for the four-day test from 21-24 February – 73 more sets than were taken to Jerez. The teams are allowed to choose which compounds they want to use out of the 100 sets they are allocated per car for testing purposes each year, and, just as was the case in Jerez – the P Zero White medium has proved to be the most popular choice for Barcelona, with 110 sets selected.
The medium compound has been designed by Pirelli to work well in a wide variety of track conditions, guaranteeing a high level of performance together with greater durability. This is one of the reasons why Pirelli has nominated the medium tyre for the first three grands prix of the season, together with the soft tyre (in Australia and China) and the hard tyre (in Malaysia).
The P Zero Yellow soft is the next most popular choice for the forthcoming test, with 82 sets making the trip to Barcelona. In addition, Pirelli will bring 69 sets of P Zero Silver hard, 36 sets each of Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue wet, and 34 sets of P Zero Red supersoft – which is set to make its track debut, after none of the teams chose it for Jerez.
The 4.65-kilometre Circuit de Catalunya, the venue for the second official test of the year that starts tomorrow, contains long straights and varying corners, making it the ideal place to assess a wide range of parameters over a distance. The winter tests in Barcelona last year were affected by cold weather – and this has a significant impact on the behaviour of the tyres.
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said: “Everyone will be hoping for warmer and more consistent conditions in Barcelona this week, which we didn’t get in Jerez. Nonetheless, the message from the first test was very positive, with drivers generally happy with the warm-up, performance and durability of our new tyres, which have been specifically designed to the 2012 regulations. Barcelona is a very different type of circuit to Jerez, which puts quite a lot of stress on tyres in general because of its high top speeds and the front-left in particular, due to the large number of right-hand corners. The emphasis for the teams will once more be on development, as they ramp up the learning curve with their 2012 cars and assess how the chassis interacts with the new tyres.“