Fears surrounding the tyre degradation for the 2011 Formula One season were calmed after the performance of the Pirelli tyres in the first two practice sessions in Australia.
Pirelli's three year contract to supply the PZero tyres to F1 had started off badly when winter testing at Jerez and Barcelona had shown fierce tyre degradation that could lead to four or five pit stops but early signs suggest they are holding up much better.
With 1072 laps completed on a range of hard and soft tyres, the new Pirellis are performing well in the higher temperatures.
Despite a few showers at Albert Park the conditions are warmer than at other tests carried out which has allowed the drivers to go on longer runs. Sergio Perez went the furthest clocking up 39 laps.
Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery explained; “we’re pleased with our first outing under competitive grand prix conditions, as our tyres have already shown a good level of performance and durability.”
“While the weather may have felt cold for Australia, these were actually some of the warmest conditions that we have run in recently, and already we can see that our rubber is working better at these temperatures.”
Jenson Button set the fastest time of both sessions on the soft PZero tyres which he ran on for 32 laps and it will be interesting to see what strategy teams go with in qualifying.
Hembery concluded; “we’re in for a very exciting weekend: even with all the information that we have at our disposal, it’s still hard to predict exactly how all the action will unfold.”