With the Formula 1 technical rules remaining almost unchanged for 2013, the emphasis is going to be on understanding the nuances of the Pirelli tyres this season and world champion Sebastian Vettel has revealed that keeping the latest generation tyres working at an optimum level is proving to be a challenge.
Speaking after the first day of testing at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Vettel said, “It is good to back in Barcelona. It is a good circuit to judge a car on and a good indicator of where you are but we need to be careful of doing that as it’s pretty cold at the moment and it’s quite tough to keep the tyres alive for many laps. So hard to know. But overall, not a bad day again.”
The world champion was top of the timing sheets, in the Red Bull RB9, for a large chunk of time in the morning session, and ended the day with the fourth best time of 1.22.965 which was 0.349 seconds down on Nico Rosberg’s best in the Mercedes. The world champion completed 66 laps on the day.
“It’s very important for us to put good mileage on the car and this morning that wasn’t really possible,” said Vettel afterwards. “We had a small software issue this morning, I think many teams had. That wasn’t ideal but we got it fixed and after that it was another decent day.”
The team’s race engineering co-ordinator Andy Damerum summed up the day for, “It was a slow start, which was a bit frustrating. However, I don’t think we were alone in that. In the afternoon we were again working on some aero test items.”
He added, “The guys at the factory have been flat out since Jerez and as well as the things planned some time ago for this test there have been quite a few developments based on what we learned from Jerez. So there are plenty of things to get through here.”