Hembery: Opening 2016 F1 test as expected for Pirelli

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Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says that the opening Formula 1 test of 2016 in Barcelona went as expected for the series’ tire supplier in terms of the performance of its compounds.

Pirelli has made some minor alterations to its compounds heading into 2016, as well as providing a new ‘ultra-soft’ tire that will be used at races with low degradation such as Monaco and Canada.

All five of Pirelli’s dry compounds were used at stages over the four days of running in Barcelona, and although Hembery refused to read too much into it, he was happy with the data that did come out.

“There are not too many conclusions you can read into the first test of the season, as teams are all trying different things with different specifications of car, making it quite hard to interpret from the outside the characteristics of each tire,” Hembery said.

“However, from the inside, all the data we have seen so far indicates that the overall tire performance is about where we expected it to be, during both longer and shorter runs.

“Our biggest news was the debut of P Zero Purple ultra-soft tire, which set the fastest time of the test and provided the extra performance we had aimed for, even though Barcelona is not the type of circuit it is particularly suited to.”

However, the new compounds were not to everyone’s liking, with three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton criticizing the tires Pirelli had designed.

“It’s not better, that’s for sure,” Hamilton said when asked how they compared to last year’s.

“It’s definitely not a better tire. It just feels like a harder tire, it’s not giving me any more grip. I think I prefer last year’s.”