Pirelli performance lining up with expectations despite “unrepresentative” conditions

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Pirelli Motorsport boss Mario Isola has said that adverse weather conditions have made it hard to draw any real conclusions from the first Formula 1 winter test in 2018, but Pirelli are satisfied with the improvements made to the P-Zero range.

Teams and drivers have been met with wintery weather at the Circuit de Cataluyna with running disrupted on every day bar Thursday. Wednesday saw just eighteen laps completed, with Fernando Alonso and the McLaren F1 Team accountable for eleven of them.

Isola acknowledged the tricky and “unrepresentative” circumstances, but says that times have managed fall in comparison to last year.

“Conditions were cold and unrepresentative throughout the first test, especially on Wednesday, where the running was practically zero following snowy weather,” said Isola.

“Having said that, on the first day the fastest times were already faster than those set on the same compound during the equivalent test last year, while on the second day the fastest time beat the overall fastest time from the same test in 2017.

“This is down to a number of factors, also including the new smoother track surface that was laid recently, as well as the natural performance evolution of the 2018 cars.”

Thursday saw wet running blend into dry running, and Isola says that the conditions allowed Pirelli to look at and understand the “crossover point” for future weekends. He finished with optimism for next week’s weather, hoping that more meaningful running and therefore more understanding and conclusions will be found and drawn.

“Teams tried out a wide range of the new tyres, including the 2018 pink hyper-soft as well as intermediate and wet tyres in both base and soft versions,” Isola added.

“Conditions on Thursday also made it possible to assess the crossover points from wets to intermediates to slicks, which is important information.

“While it is hard to draw any firm conclusions from this particular test, the behaviour of the tyres demonstrates a general increase in performance that is line with our expectations. Next week, we’re expecting warmer weather in Barcelona that should result in increased on-track action and better data to deliver more definitive conclusions.”