The teams head off to Barcelona this week for the second four-day test of the year. The venue is the Circuit de Catalunya: a popular location for testing due to temperatures that are usually mild all year round and a technical layout that challenges every aspect of car and tyre performance. The theory goes that if a car can be quick in Barcelona, it can be quick in most places. This is what all the teams will be trying hard to establish over the next four days.
Paul Hembery (Pirelli Motorsport Director): “All the teams will have their new cars in Barcelona and the entire range of 2013 P Zero tyres will be at their disposal. Barcelona is a circuit that the teams have plenty of data on already, which is useful for comparison purposes. So it should be possible for them to carry out plenty of productive work to help understand how their new cars interact with our latest generation of tyres, which are generally softer and faster than last year with deliberately increased degradation. The limiting factor at the opening test in Jerez earlier this month was the abrasiveness of the track, so hopefully conditions will be more representative this time. There is always the potential for low ambient temperatures though: last year, we actually saw some ice on the track in the morning…”
Each car will have a maximum of 35 sets of Pirelli’s new P Zero supersoft, soft, medium and hard compounds available in Barcelona, including the Cinturato intermediate and wet tyres if needed. In total, each team is allowed 100 sets of tyres per car for testing purposes over the course of a season. Pirelli will pick 20 of the sets that will be tested at Barcelona per car, while the teams are free to pick 15 more that they would like to try. Any sets of tyres not used at the previous test in Jerez may be carried forward to this test.
Barcelona is well known as an extremely challenging circuit for tyres, with the front-left tyre in particular subjected to a lot of work. This is because of the high number of right-hand corners on the 4.655-kilometre track. Turn three puts the most energy through the front-left tyre, equating to a load of 3.9g. The rear tyres also have to withstand plenty of stress in order to provide the combined traction needed coming out of the slower corners.
The third sector of the circuit, with its wide variety of corners, is the most demanding part of the track. A compromise set-up is needed in Barcelona to deal with the many different speeds and corners, but the teams will be altering many more parameters than they would during a race weekend in order to see the effects of set-up changes on the cars and tyres.
Testing facts and figures: