On the eve of the pre-season test in Barcelona, Pirelli and the F1 teams are hoping that warmer temperatures grace the Circuit de Catalunya over the next few days, allowing them to replicate the conditions that they are likely to encounter over the course of the season.
The last three test session, all of which have taken place in Spain, have provided relatively cool conditions, with overnight rain further reducing the track temperature on a number of occasions. With air temperatures in Melbourne at the end of March likely to be in excess of 25 degrees, Pirelli want the teams to have experience of running their new tyre compounds in this heat.
This final pre-season test was originally scheduled to take place in Bahrain, but after the civil unrest in the gulf state, the teams opted to remain in Barcelona to complete the final four days of pre-season running available to them under the current testing regulations.
Pirelli have will bring 35 sets of tyres per team to Barcelona, including five sets of intermediate tyres and three sets of wets for each of the 12 outfits on the grid. This has been raised from the two and three respectively that were originally earmarked for the test in Bahrain.
For the first three races of the season, Australia, Malaysia and China, the hard tyre from the PZero range will be the prime choice, with the soft tyre as the option.
“Our last test in Barcelona was held in temperatures of just six degrees in the mornings, which didn’t help to rubber the track in or gather the information necessary to base strategies on over the course of the season,” explained Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s Motorsport Director. “We’re hoping for warmer weather this week, although it’s unlikely to be as warm as the temperatures we are expecting for the first race in Australia.
“Having announced our compounds for the start of the year, most of the teams will concentrate on testing the hard and soft PZero tyres. We’re expecting them to focus on long runs and race simulations, which should confirm the results we have previously extrapolated from our testing data: two or sometimes three pit stops at every race.”
The test takes place over a five day period, 8-12th March, although all teams except Hispania have only four days of testing time remaining from their allowance. Some will test over the first four days, whilst others are electing to run in the final four days.