Pirelli’s new, wider tires for the 2017 Formula 1 season have met expectations following their first extended test in Barcelona this week.
Pirelli was tasked with producing tires that were more durable and 25 per cent wider for 2017 as part of a shake-up of F1’s technical regulations.
The Italian company completed extensive testing with Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari last year, but did not get a full range of data from all teams until this week’s pre-season running in Barcelona.
“We’re satisfied with the results of these four days. From what we can see up to now, the new product is in line with our expectations,” Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola said.
“For the 2017 season, the sport asked us to develop tires with less degradation, which allow drivers to push to the maximum. That’s what we’ve seen during these four days of testing so far, and what we’ll continue to see in the second four-day session next week.
“During the first session, the lap times have already been lowered considerably. The target was for lap times that were five seconds faster compared to Barcelona in 2015.
“Yesterday, Valtteri Bottas set a best time of 1:19.705 on ultrasoft tires. Considering that the pole time in 2015 at Barcelona was 1:24.681, I would say that this objective has been met.”
On Thursday, the track in Barcelona was made wet so that Pirelli could test its intermediate and extreme wet tires. As conditions remained sunny, the track dried through the day, but Pirelli was able to get plenty of data regarding the crossover phase between compounds.
Pirelli is also set to get more accurate data next week when teams begin to chase optimum lap time, with the focus through the first test being reliability and system checks.
Running in Barcelona resumes on Tuesday (March 7), lasting another four days prior to the start of the season in Australia on March 26.