Vandoorne and McLaren end Pirelli Tyre Test on top


The end-of-season Pirelli tyre test saw Stoffel Vandoorne and the McLaren-Honda team lead the way, although many teams will be none-the-wiser about what compounds of tyre they were using for parts of the day at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Vandoorne completed 99 laps in the last outing of the MP4-30, with his best time of 1m44.103s seeing the Belgian, who won this season’s GP2 Series title, end 0.353s clear than Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Teams were not allowed to try out new parts during the twelve-hour test, with the testing being run by Pirelli in order to test new constructions of compounds ahead of the 2016 season, as well as the new Ultrasoft tyre, which is being introduced next season.

Prototype tyres were unmarked, meaning teams did not know what compound they were using when they were testing prototypes, meaning no teams would be able to get any real knowledge of the tyres.

“We had one shot when it came to testing tyres for next season, and we can be satisfied by what we’ve achieved in this test, even if we have to fully analyse the data,” reflected Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery.

“We’ve tested different versions of the new Ultrasoft compound for 2016, which was one of the targets for this session. The Ultrasoft’s target for 2016 is to introduce a compound softer than the Supersoft and mainly designed as aggressive choice for street circuits: with better performance than the latest version of the Supersoft tyre and faster degradation, in order to allow the Teams to take a more aggressive approach to race strategy.

“Whether this will produce more pit stops, or any difference in strategies, it’s too early to say for now. We will fully analyse our data and team telemetry once we get back to base. But it seems we are heading in the right direction: the Ultrasoft is expected to offer more possibilities for certain races.

”We also tested some different constructions for both front and rear tyres.”

Sixteen drivers took to the track on Tuesday, with nine 2015 Formula 1 drivers being joined by the likes of Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer, Mercedes AMG PETRONAS reserve Pascal Wehrlein, Adderly Fong (at Sauber), Alfonso Celis Jr (at Force India) plus Rio Haryanto and Jordan King (both at Manor).

Marcus Ericsson ended the day third quickest for Sauber ahead of Palmer, with Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top five for Ferrari, while Wehrlein completed the most laps (107 in total), the German finishing sixth fastest.