Pirelli has confirmed its in-season testing schedule for the coming year as teams give up one day of their own track time in order to work with the Italian tire supplier.
Following the testgate scandal that unfurled last May – where Mercedes was adjudged to have wrongly completed 1000km of testing despite there being a ban on it – it was written into the new regulations that teams could work with Pirelli on an official basis during the year.
Further to that, scheduled in-season testing has returned, with events planned following the races in Bahrain, Spain, Great Britain and Abu Dhabi. Therefore, each team will use one day from each test to work with Pirelli on its tire compounds.
Pirelli’s testing programme is as follows:
April 8 – Caterham
April 9 – Mercedes and Williams
May 13 – Sauber and Toro Rosso
May 14 – McLaren and Force India
July 8 – Ferrari and Lotus
July 9 – Red Bull and Marussia
November 25 – 2015 tire testing
November 26 – 2015 tire testing
With an official testing calendar in place, there should be no repeat of the scandal that emerged at Monaco last year when Mercedes’ actions were revealed. Further to that – and more importantly – Pirelli will be able to get as much information as possible about the 2014 tire compounds, meaning that problems such as the multiple tire blow-outs at the British Grand Prix last June should be avoided this time around.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.